Welcome to Fall

There is nothing quite like the feel of cold weather on a thin layer of Lycra early in the morning... definitely an eye opening experience

We got a rare taste of Fall this morning with chilly temperatures in the high 50’s. Now that might not sound all that cold, but when you factor in the wind plus riding speed, there definitely was a measurable windchill, especially when dressed in an all to thin layer of Lycra.

Ride time temperatures were not going to exceeding 68°, so both Señor J and I had to break out some cold weather cycling gear, Señor J in particular, as he is not a friend of the cold. He showed up with multiple layers, including a thermal base layer and a jacket. I still have my Chicago born antifreeze running in my veins, so only a simple riding jacket was in order.

Cold weather cycling gear is not normally a high priority down here in the sunshine state as even on a chilly morning like today, the sun will eventually make things toasty. Sure we have a few cold days/weeks a year (by cold I mean in the 50’s and those very rare high 40’s arctic blasts), but it’s not really something we gear up for.

As our fall and winter ride time temperatures can drastically increase while riding, layering ones gear is of absolute importance. You have to be able to do what I like to call a gradual strip tease while riding, shedding layers as the sun heats things up. Failure to do so will leave you both over heated and a mess from the sweat pooling in all your layers of clothing. Something Señor J experienced first hand today as he was able to physically wring out the sweat from his clothing by rides end.

A post ride, sweat drenched Señor J. He says he sweat more on today's cold ride than on mid summer rides

Last season I pretty much avoided riding on cold days as I didn’t want to invest in gear for such limited use, but by seasons end, the actual number of missed riding days was appreciable, so I picked up a few pieces of cold weather riding gear, including that highly visible, screaming yellow jacket pictured above. I’m still on the lookout for a few good pieces of base layers as it would provide a much more streamlined ride versus the use of a billowing riding jacket. Base layers would also breathe better, as cycling jackets tend not let heat escape and sweat evaporate.

We had planned to do a 50 mile ride today as we both need to increase our base mileage for our first Century ride, which we have penciled in for the second week of December. This Century ride will be particularly exciting as high caliber professional cyclists, like Tommy Danielson of Team Garmin-Cervelo will be riding along with us (for those not familiar with this name, Tommy D finished 9th overall in the 2011 Tour de France, coming in 8′ 15″ behind the eventual winner, Cadel Evans). The thought of riding with professionals is both thrilling and intimidating. We both look forward to the challenge.

We ended up cutting our planned route short by 10 miles as the chilly weather left me with a rather painful cramp in my left flank. I was unable to really push it, staying instead at a lower speed in a spinning-like cadence. The recently installed aero bars really shined though as they not only helped me deal with the windy conditions, but also took a lot of pressure off my back helping ease the pain from the cramp. I’m still not completely acclimated to the bars yet, but so far so good. I’m really enjoying them.

We’ll shoot for another 50 miles tomorrow morning and if the cramp dissipates, we’ll join in on the Trek airport group ride this Sunday. If we keep logging between 150 to 200 miles per week, we should be good to go for December’s Century ride.

Route: Coconut-40
Ride Time: 2:33:53
Stopped Time: 1:10:47
Distance: 40.75 miles
Average: 15.89 mph
Fastest Speed: 22.82 mph
Ascent: 2436 feet
Descent: 2210 feet
Calories: 2553

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