Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Frozen ride

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Dave and I had planned to ride at Brown County at 9:00 am on Saturday. I don’t normally get up that early on weekends, but it was the first good opportunity to ride in a while, and we had to go early to ride before the trails thawed.

We invited some of our coworkers to come ride with us, but they seemed to prefer sleeping late in their warm beds to getting up early to ride in the sub-freezing temperatures with us. Go figure! The trash talking was in full effect on Friday, albeit via e-mail.

Dave was running late since his dogs ran away (Dave is never late), but he called me before I left home and we just pushed the ride back. So it was probably approaching 10:00 by the time we started riding after getting there, getting our gear together, and stretching.

The trails were in really great shape — they were frozen, but not very icy, and the ice that was there was more of a crunchy kind of ice, rather than slick ice. I’m not used to riding on frozen trails, but it really didn’t take a whole lot of adjustment.
My fitness level has seriously degraded with the lack of riding lately, but it was still fun. We rode the North Tower Loop first, which was surprisingly hard, given my decreased lung capacity. We stopped a number of times.

On the way to the Aynes Loop, there are some creek crossings, which normally aren’t an issue, but Dave stopped before one of them. I wondered why. He asked if I thought there was ice on the rocks, but I didn’t think there was, so I went ahead and tried to ride across. Of course, the last rock had some ice on it, and my rear wheel slipped off the rock. Fortunately, I just put my foot down and caught myself.

The Aynes Loop was in really good shape, too, although it was getting later and the sun was shining, so parts of it were thawing as we rode. Most of it was fine, there were just a few greasy/slick spots. It was pretty interesting because you could tell that trails only on one side of the hills were thawing due to their more intense sun exposure. The Aynes climb seemed even harder than usual, but it was well worth it. There were some animal prints frozen into the trail surface in places, some dogs or doglike animals, deer, and some others I couldn’t recognize.

I haven’t figured out exactly what layers I need to stay warm. On Saturday morning, it was in the lower 20s when we started riding. I was going to wear a fleece sweatshirt and my jogging suit jacket over my long-sleeved jersey, but that ended up being too much. Even just the fleece thing was too much, I ended up with just the jogging suit jacket. On the other hand, my legs were cold for most of the ride, even though I had my shorts, cycling pants and the jogging pants over those. I could’ve used a better insulation layer in there. My feet were surprisingly comfortable with just my mountain biking shoes and a pair of Merino Wool socks.

I bought a “Micro Clava” at Dick’s, which worked great. It fit under my helmet, kept my neck warm, and allowed me to cover my nose and mouth if I wanted. I ended up not needing to do that, as it wasn’t quite cold enough for that. I did try it, and I might have problems with my glasses fogging up if I cover my nose and mouth. I didn’t leave it that way long enough to find out.

One Response to “Frozen ride”

  1. furiousball Says:

    I’ve got an underarmor ninja mask just like that. Thanks to that, I haven’t needed to saw my nose off with a steak knife due to frostbite…or whatever other reason you can come up with to saw your nose off with a steak knife…maybe radiator sniffing?

    I like cold rides a lot, makes me feel incredibly manly like I just bathed in Aqua Velva and Old Spice or something.

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