a nICE ride!

I guess the BugMan ride isn’t so popular – I was the only one this Sunday. Of course, temps in the teens at start time couldn’t have had anything to do with it! I refuse to resort to the trainer for my winter riding. I just won’t do it. For me, it is the official end-of-riding-my-bike-for-fun point – it’s just for training, like a job, something I have to do. Forget it! Two winters ago, after I had started doing some serious riding, I figured out that simple fact on just my second trainer ride – I haven’t been on it inside since. Now, I only use my trainer for warmup before a time trial. I’m glad I didn’t buy an expensive one.

Of course, I didn’t expect many people to show on Sunday, but I was a little surprised that nobody did. I figured at least HardMan Justin would be there. Yes, conditions were cold, but we’ve ridden in colder temps before. Oh well, it ensured I could get my own workout. It took ~20 minutes to get warmed up – really just my hands. After that I was fine and even removed my face mask and glove liners when the temps got into the 20’s. I went ahead and did the original 57-mile loop but just tootled along. The roads were pretty clean, but I wondered what they would be like when I got into the hills and woods out west. I imagined there might be lots of ice that would make climbing difficult and descending downright dangerous. But actually it wasn’t much problem at all – there were clean lines in both directions, although a few times I had to ride on the opposite side of the road to find them.

There was actually more ice on the ridge-tops than on the hills, but I quickly found my groove on passing over them safely – slow down, stand up, shift the weight back and off the handlebars, steer straight, and coast over. On Ridge Rd I got a little sloppy on a patch of ice and fell. Dang! I banged my elbow and hip but really didn’t hurt myself or my bike. I popped back up, put the bar plug back in, and got back on the bike quick like so I could leave the scene of my embarrassment. Within just a few minutes I came up on one of only two other cyclists I saw that day – both on mountain bikes. I announced “on your left” – he turned around all surprised like and said, “woah, on the road bike, huh?” I said “yea” all nonchalant-like, and he says, “Well watch out for the ice!” I’m like, yea… thanks for the advice!

It was so beautiful outside, despite the cold. The snow and ice covering all the trees sparkled brilliantly in the full sun. There is something about sunny skies that makes even the coldest day seem like a nice day. Everyone was hibernating, I guess – there was just nobody out and no traffic. The result was a peaceful serenity that is only rarely encountered – riding solo was not only appropriate, it almost seemed necessary. I ended up with 3­½ hours of ride time – nearly double my trainer total over the past three winters now.

About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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