OK, New Years day. I enjoyed plenty of good food and good wine the night before. Slept in till after 8, and felt good. After lamenting for weeks though about eating too much and not exercising enough, it was time to get the butt on the bike.
As I looked outside, the sun was coming up, the roads were dry, it looked like a great day to ride. Oh, except for the fact it was 28 degrees!!
Yep, 4 degrees below freezing! Luckily, I was expecting this and had already planned what to wear. Unluckily, I had forgotten to go out to the shed to get the clothes so they’d be warm! I made a quick dash out before the Starbucks run to fix this problem. (Good thing too, I would’ve started frozen!)
I decided to wait until 10 to let the sun come up a little farther and hit the roads and trails. I was a bit concerned about ice and frost, but it was time to get my butt in gear! So with some good insulated hiking pants and my best layering system on top I hit the road.
My plan was to do half the Lake Washington Loop, crossing at I-90 and coming back on the east side.
Within minutes I discovered I had neglected one area. For Christmas I had gotten some nice cold weather gloves. I was excited to use them! However, they were not designed for 28 degrees + shade + long downhill + 30 mph!! By the time I hit bottom I had HIT bottom! The last time my hands were that cold and numb were when I forgot the heavy gloves when hiking in the snow!
But then it hit me, all I did then was put my hands (with the gloves) in the pockets of the same pants I was wearing on the ride. For the next 3 miles I did just that, alternating one hand in the pocket. Soon, I had feeling in both again AND I was in the sun, so I was good to go. (Gotta admit, I considered calling it quits!) They were perfect for the rest of the cold ride though!
I was right to worry about ice and frost. On the Burke Gilman, there were some pretty big frozen puddles and some decent sized areas of frost. Luckily they were easy to see, so I could avoid them. That wasn’t the case later on. When I hit the residential areas south of UW, there was more than once I had to traverse street wide patches of ice (I think its due to living near the cold evilness that is UW)
The trick to this is to point the front wheel straight, do NOT turn, do NOT have your feet clipped in and have enough momentum to get across without pedaling. It was a bit dicey at times, but hey, if I can’t handle it, I should live in Florida!
When I got to the lake though, I KNEW I picked the best route for me. This was my view.
Bellevue with the Cascades behind it
And Mt Baker (the one I climbed!) overlooking the lake
It had been a few weeks since I had ridden more than 10 miles, but I was feeling great all the way across the lake and up the East side. This route can be expand easily to over 50, but I decided to stick to the shorter one. This meant, though, going over Jaunita Hill. This is a 2 mile gradual – steep incline followed by a long fun down hill.
My legs started strong, but near the top they were explaining to me that this was a BAD idea! I was passed by a few riders, but I never stopped. In fact, I continued past them as they pulled over for a breather at the top! (I of course pedaled faster as I went by to let them know I wasn’t tired at all! (it’s a guy thing))
The good and bad about going this way though, is a mile after the down hill, is the 3 mile up and down climb to my house!! Normally this takes about 15 minutes to climb it and I love the extra hill for training. It seemed like a LOT longer New Years day. It was a slow and steady trudge with a dirge playing in my head.
At the end though, after risking first bite (ok maybe exaggerating a little here) slippery roads and big hills. these legs started the year with over 44.5 miles. I was starving when I got home though. Funny, later in the season, a 40 is nothing and I don’t need any snacks. On this ride, I coulda eaten a horse and still been hungry! It was a great ride for number one of the year
2015 has started peeps! Lets ride this year into the dust!