After a fabulous week of riding in Boulder, I decided to hit the road to Albuquerque for the weekend. I have some photos, but of course, I forgot my cable to transfer the pictures so you will have to check back on Monday or Tuesday for illustrations. The weather all this week was so perfect for riding and a great way to finish up my training block. The dirt roads progressed from snowy, windy and cold to a true mud-fest minus the 0 degree wind chill. I think it’s fun to get all muddy, so no complaining from me.
I highly appreciated the break in the weather. The vast majority of my rides have been really long climbs for the winter. I decided that riding flat roads for hours on end is probably not going to be that useful to me since none of the races I do are flat. Plus, I hate riding the flats. It’s so dull. Call me a a glutton for punishment, but going uphill (my friend Liz would laugh at me and say mountains are not “hills”) is my favorite thing to do. I can’t tell you how many times this winter I have frozen my limbs off. Climbing up to 8 or 9000 ft in the winter is beautiful and lots of fun, but there is a price to pay- the descent. It’s already somewhere between 15 and 35 on a typical day. Couple that with zero degree wind blowing in your face as you descend on a bike at about 20 to 30 mph with wet hair (from sweating on the way up). If you dress too warm, you are guaranteed to be soaking wet with sweat on the downhill. Don’t dress warm enough, and you’ll still freeze on the downhill. There really is limited space in your pockets to bring extra warm clothes…so you’re stuck. The Catch 22 of frostbite. That would be my biggest complaint about winter riding. In fact, I have gotten home and taken out my braid where literally thin sheets of ice fell out. Sometimes I worry that I am actually going to get “frostbike” and am erratically pulling off the road, ripping off my gloves and trying to put my hands on my back to warm up…or if my feet get cold, it’s bad because there’s nothing I can do. I just finished reading a book on pain medicine, and one story was how putting your hands in ice water is a great way to determine someone’s pain tolerance. I would say the way my hands get coming down is analogous to putting them in a bucket of ice water…nevermind the ice baths I take during race season. 🙂 Next to being freezing, the hunger strikes you like a bunch to the stomach. Your body is rapidly burning calories trying to stay warm. So this is how it happens when I get home…my roommates can attest and probably secretly make fun of that crazy Looney they live with. My bike is left sitting outside as I am trying to open the door with numb hands. I may utter a curse word or two, but no worry, you can’t discern what I’m saying because my face and lips are frozen. Usually the first thing I do is come in from my ride, make a recovery drink, and jump in the shower. In winter, I go straight to the kitchen, make food, and sit in a hunched over with red cheeks and gnarled, frozen hair trying to chew my food. My eyes are slightly glazed over until the nutrients bring me back to life. By then, still in my wet chami, My teeth are chattering from sitting around in wet clothes and I retire to take a long shower.
Now you can see my appreciation for when we get a 66 degree day in Boulder like last Wed. I was grossly overdressed, and ended up removing arm warmers and leg warmers. I could feel the sun warming my skin and cheeks in contrast to the frozen catatonic state I’m usually in. The descent is pleasant and I don’t even need a jacket. I am not screaming from pain at the cold. I laugh gleefully like a child at my good fortune and good time. When I get home, I take off my jersey to reveal a slight golden brown hue from the sun instead of red, raw, goosebumped skin.
Thursday it snowed 4 inches, but I was glad to take a rest day. I was off to ABQ that night anyway and was looking forward to nice weather. Then I checked the forecast. 100% chance of snow on Friday. I was majorly bummed. Friday rolled around. not a cloud or snowflake in sight. I actually got to go real MOUNTAIN BIKING and was reminded of how much I love that sport. I was also riding in shorts in a jersey. We’ll see how long my luck holds out! 🙂 It snowed here this morning, but it’s all melted off and the sun is shining.
March is rapidly approaching meaning springtime and breaking the ground of a new racing season. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
I also finally got some guts and cut about 12 inches off my hair. I have never had short hair before and when I found out you could donate it for Locks of Love, I wanted to be able to face my fear and do it. Nevermind that it took me about 6 months to muster up the courage, but at least some kids with cancer with have a little bit nicer of a wig!