Monday 16 March 2009

Winter: The End is Nigh?

Snow Robin
photo by Paul Keleher, Creative Commons

After having ridden every day to work since February 9 and suffered often enough for my folly–I think Thursday morning’s ride was the most painful ever as I lost the feeling in my hands (in spite of doubled gloves) within eight minutes of leaving home. The temperature was a claimed -20C with windchill but since the week before I had ridden in -28C weather and not had too much trouble some weatherperson somewhere was clearly not telling the truth.

Hope springs eternal and on Saturday I disassembled BlackAdder and cleaned everything I could. The big challenge was getting off the studded tire, which seemed to have somehow become welded to the rim with what must be the least flexible bead ever designed. As I was “working” on it, I remembered suddenly how hard it had been to put on in the first place. It required not only my usually infallible Crank Brothers SpeedLever, but three regular plastic tire levers as well to ease the thing off–just as I was considering walking over to the nearby Full Cycle bike shop and begging the mechanics to help me. Face saved, and then I forgot all my trials and tribulations as I realized that the cassette could be actually taken apart into individual cogs for cleaning. Of course, reassembling them in the proper order was another test of my “mechanical” abilities but in the end BlackAdder was back together and looking good, ready for riding with slush and mud and ice for the first time in months.

It was still -3C yesterday and today when I left early to go to the gym for my usual weekend spinning classes but this afternoon the sun shone brightly and I had no choice (in spite of having already put in a 2 hour workout) but to take out the Ancient Yet Honourable Bianchi and enjoy the 9C weather out on the Eastern Parkway. It was a chance to look at the condition of the road for the upcoming time trial seasons. It looks like it has survived winter pretty well and I soon found myself riding with a cyclist named Jean, who was also doing some circuits on his Eclipse bike. We worked well together but heading back towards the Air Museum was hard due to the headwind, which the lying on-line weather report claimed was 5 km/h.

We did two circuits together totalling 36 kms and I enjoyed the fresh air and company very much (Jean rode in the Pyrenees last year, including the Tourmalet and Aubisque climbs). Riding in heavy clothing and on my old steel bike I still managed a top speed of 44 km/h, and an average of 28 km/h, which I am happy to take for March. If this keeps up and the streets are cleared of horrible grit, Dreadnought 2 will make its first outdoor appearance next weekend on a training ride.


Lily on the Road said...

So glad you were able to get outdoors in nice weather for a change. Thursday was unbelievably cold!

I was out on my bike last weekend down through Merrikville and Burritts Rapids, it was lovely, spring can’t be far away.

Donald said...

Here's to some sunshine a little warmth so you get that outdoor time before Spring Training Camp. If not, no worries... you'll just build on your training there!