I observed a class at work today, which is an easy gig. No prep, participate only when you want, and we had cookies near the end of session! (The chocolate chips were fresh out of the oven and the chips were still gooey!!)
At one point, the class discussed a person’s “I think” vs his “I feel” as in: I think I need to clean the garage, but I flat don’t feel like it! The theory is: In order to get someone to do something tough, you gotta get the “I feel” and “I think” on the same page. If not the “I feel” will win every time.
I took particular notice of this as I dealt with it this morning for the commute in…
The class was held in Seattle, and went till 5 PM. Seattle traffic sucks ass, particularly leaving Seattle by car at 5. This is why I try to bike in anytime I work there. (That plus the fact the Mighty P wants to charge me $50/month if I drive too often. As we know I am a cheap SOB, so I do NOT want to do that! But I digress…)
I had looked at the weather last night, and the low (about the time I would be leaving for work at 5AM) was to be 25 (that’s fahrenheit for any Metric system readers). This is not what most people would call cycling weather. Since I ride year round, though, I do have the gear to ride in the cold.
I did decide to modify one thing though. My ride to Seattle starts with 4 miles of mostly down hill riding. At times I would be going 20 MPH. Which, at that temp would generate a serious wind chill. I just found a calculator tells me it would feel like 11 degrees!! No thanks! I decided to drive the bike and I to the bottom of the hill and hop on the trail.
So fast-forward to 4 AM and the alarm goes off. And the epic battle between I think and I feel began….
I was in a warm bed, with lots of blankets, snuggled up to a gorgeous wife and comfy as hell. Each time the alarm went off I knew I SHOULD get up, but damn it I just didn’t feel like it. I KNEW I would be mad myself if I just drove, but I was happy right where I was. 3 alarms went off before Michelle (who knows me well and knew I wanted to ride) helped get my ass out of bed.
I was up, layered up (I added an extra coat on the top of the one above and rain pants to the below to help hold in the warmth.) I loaded the bike, the saddle bags and myself, and fired up the car. It was 21 degrees! SUCK!!
Editors note: There is an old country song that has the first line “Its colder than 9 kinds of hell in Montana…” That was going through my head as I drove down the hill.
I got the bike ready to go, but it was cold enough that working without gloves that it made the hands hurt. I zipped and tucked in everything I could and took of. OH MY GAWD it was cold! I usually average about 13 MPH on a flat trail. I just plugged it into the same calculator, that’s a wind chill of 8 degrees!! This doesn’t even take into account if there was a head wind.
Bottom line, it was not a fun ride. The legs and body were fine, but even with even with hiking wool socks, and neoprene shoe covers, the toes started to go numb. Worse, even with some serious winter riding gloves
My hands went completely numb and the fingers hurt! It rivaled winter hiking in the cascades. More than once I had to make a fist inside the gloves to get the feeling back in the hand. It aint easy to brake or shift with numb hands.
In case you are curious, its been dry as a tater chip her in town for over a week, so there was no worry about ice. But the cold was miserable…
Luckily for me, when I hit Seattle, it warmed up immensely! (OK into the 30s) and the pain and numbness went away. I won’t lie though, the HOT shower at work felt SO good!
Well 5 pm rolls around and the class is over. The last 30 minutes of class I was already in my cycling clothes. I wanted to hit the road as soon as the class ended and not waste time changing. (Being Tony has its privileges, no one complained that I wasn’t business causal all day.)
This time of year, 5 is about dusk. It is light enough to see, but the sun is below the horizon. It was MUCH warmer than the morning. I was on the road and I knew it would be a good ride.
First off, everywhere I looked, traffic (car traffic that is) sucked ass. I-5, 99, and surface streets were all backed up. We cyclists? We were passing car after car. Perfect.
Then after I made it through UW, even the bike traffic dwindled. I had the Burke-Gilman trail to myself! It was still light enough to see, warm enough with the layers I wasn’t cold at all, and the ride was long enough that I was getting a good work out. In short, I was thoroughly enjoying the ride! That’s when I thought to myself, “I am SO glad I sucked it up and rode this morning!” Had I not, I would have been stuck in stop and go traffic, and grouchy.
By the time I got the car it was full on dark, but the bike lights took care of that no problem at all. Strange, though, less than a mile from the car, the temperature plummeted! It was very sudden, but since I was within spittin distance of the car, I didn’t pay it much mind.
With the help of the best wife ever, I overcame the “I don’t feel like it” and had a great ride this afternoon. As a reward for riding the above mentioned wife of mine had a huge platter of ziti waiting for me for dinner! YUM!!
I know there will be times where the “I don’t feel like it” will win, but damn, if I can ride the ride I rode this morning, I can ride anytime!
Except tomorrow! Tomorrow we carpool and go out on a date night! THAT is more important than riding!
Like the wind people and keep warm!