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winter century

  • Mar 26 2009

    February Century

    Snow is your friend

    I can be a bit foolish. I really thought that when Derek and I finished the January Century of our 1 century per month challenge we were on easy street. Ha! One and a half days before our last minute run at a February century (yes, we scheduled it for the 28th) we happened to get 6 inches of snow. I took the bus home rather than struggle through a ride home on Thursday night (the ride was scheduled for Saturday morning).

    Derek e-mailed me Thursday late afternoon that he'd contact me Friday to work on a plan of attack. My response to him (Thursday night) was:

    Leave early and stay late.
    Yes we can.

    Derek immediately responded to me:

    we are on the same page.

    Wow! I think I'd be hard-pressed to find a more stubborn individual that was able to stick to the task. Derek didn't even hesitate. Our nordic heritage may be playing a role here (yes, we are in Lake Wobegon).

    On Friday we discussed routes and because of the quantity of snow we were grasping for a route (with no agreement or argument), but then late Friday afternoon it was sunny enough that the roads were clearing fairly well despite the cold temperatures (around 16º). Thank goodness for that. We were able to plan on heading out of town 50 miles, have lunch and head back.

    It was a difficult century for sure. Start temp at 4º with unknown road conditions, but the roads turned out to be pretty decent and the sun shined brightly enough that the afternoon was pretty speedy riding.

    Mentally it was my biggest challenge yet, but we pulled it off and had fun throughout the ride. Good times.

  • Feb 01 2009

    January Century Ride

    January Century Ride

    I have a good friend that came up with the idea that he and I ought to do a hundred mile ride each month of the year. I think I might have been dizzy from cough syrup when he mentioned it, or actually I might have been in the middle of that soaking wet 200 mile ride we did in September (yes, the 200 miler was also his idea). Well, I don't recall what my weakness was at the moment he mentioned it, but I let the idea pass without telling him that he was talking as though we lived a lot farther south than Minnesota. I can't say that I really reacted to the idea at all, but anybody in Minnesota will tell you that doing a century ride in January is out of the question... Downright Crazy!

    The average low AND HIGH are way below freezing for the month of January. Well, no surprise then that our January century ride turned out to be cold...Really cold. We met at -5° F and at lunch time we were still in single digits (I think it was 7° by then). Thanks to both of us being purebred Minnesotans and me carrying an extra layer we managed to knock off the 100 miles without suffering hypothermia, or even frostbite.

    To be honest, it was a blast. I saw a  gorgeous sundog (cold weather rainbow from bright sun and ice clouds) in the morning. The sky was a beautiful, bright blue and the snow was pure white. The farm houses looked cozy and the farm animals huddled together giving off clouds of steam from their breathing.

    Check out the movie of the ride below. Sorry I didn't get more pictures, but I was definitely risking frostbite every time I took off my mitten to snap a couple pics, or videos.

    The Details:

    I rode a Bacchetta Giro 20TT and Derek was on is Surly Cross Check with Moustache bars. I used Schwalbe Marathon 1.5" tires and Derek ran 1-3/8" IRD Crossfire tires. Derek used clipless pedals/shoes while I opted for platform pedals and some thicker boots. We both suffered a bit from cold feet.

    I started with 6 upper layers and 3 leg layers and Derek started with 5 upper layers and 2 lower layers. At the half-way point I had shed one layer and Derek needed one. Teamwork. While Lobster Gloves are pretty darned warm, they don't match the warmth of a pair of choppers (old school leather mitten outers with a pair of wool mitts inside). We switched these around a bit.

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