I have mentioned in earlier posts that I have already fallen short in my resolution to bike each week. After I dragged myself out of the depression that comes with failure I knew that I would have to get in some miles this weekend no matter what. For the last week or so I have let weather dictate if and when I got on my bike but no more!
I was able to sell my OCR 2 to a friend of mine last week so with money in hand I immediately drove to Mole Hill Bikes and slapped it down to purchase a Giant TCX 2. I figured that it would be perfect for the gravel and pavement loop I had planned so I took it out for its inaugural ride.
After putting on so many layers I could hardly move I headed toward the mountains. As I left 257 Grocery toward Tilman the temp was 28, cold but bearable. Three miles of pavement led me past the end of Narrowback mountain and to the entrance of Tilman. The first thing I noticed when I finally hit gravel was how much easier it is to get up to speed and to maintain it on a cross bike versus a fat tired mountain bike. On a mt bike I have to gear down for a climb on gravel, with this bike I can maintain my momentum and even accelerate! A couple years ago when I first heard of this strange animal called a cyclocross bike I just scoffed. I figured the only person crazy enough to ride such a monstrosity would be pro road and mt bike racers that need some way to torture themselves in the off season when they aren't eating organic spinach sandwiches and sleeping on beds of nails. This past summer I found myself riding on mostly gravel and dirt roads much of the time, I soon realized that a full suspension mt bike is not the right tool for the job and I needed a gravel/pavement bike, enter the Giant TCX.
I was halfway to Stokesville on Tillman when I realized that I didn't have any energy. At first I thought I was bonking but then I remembered I had given blood yesterday and the nurse had warned me against strenuous activity, it worried me a little but I pressed on. I was tough enough that I didn't need to listen to her advice, right? Well to make a long story short I was able to get back to my car but only after coming very close to to the end of my endurance. The last mile of Community Center Rd back to my car was accomplished at a speed that a snail would scoff at.
One thing I did accomplish other than biking myself into the ground is biking in the coldest weather so far for me. When I left the Passat its thermometer read 28, when I returned it was 25. Only minutes into the ride my water bottle was already starting to freeze. Other than my face and toes I was able to keep surprisingly warm as long as there wasn't any long downhills. If I am going to bike in any colder weather I will have to get some insulating shoe covers or wear more socks.
Here is my route.
Keep those wheels turning.