Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Worst Day of the Year Ride (wrong way!)

Wheels in Motion bike shop put on a bike ride this past Sunday called "Worst Day of the Year Ride." When I first heard about it through someones Facebook post, it seemed like a neat idea! Sorta like those polar bear plunges where everyone jumps in a lake during the middle of winter! It wasn't until Saturday that I remembered that those polar bear plunges suck, and this ride may suck equally. Luckily, my friends Geoff and Dan were also doing the 20 mile ride. Misery is more tolerable when you can see your friends miserable with you.

Weather forecast called for a high of 24 degrees with winds up to 18 mph. Thankfully, there was really no snow on the ground and it wasn't even wet at all thanks to relatively mild week prior. But I've never ridden a bike in such cold weather before. So I messaged Dan and Geoff with what I was planning to wear. I was thinking about wearing the following:

Head
  • Balaclava
  • Maybe skullcap
  • Helmet
Top
  • Skin tight baselayer
  • Mid layer
  • Thermal bike jersey
  • Outer shell
Bottom
  • Skin tight baselayer
  • Thermal bib tights
  • Outer shell
Feet
  • Thin wool sock
  • Thicker wool sock
  • Mountain bike shoes
  • Thermal shoe covers
Hands
  • Thin liner glove
  • Winter thermal lobster style glove
Hydration
  • Camelbak
"You'll be way too warm", they said. I wasn't so sure. On Sunday morning, I called a quick audible to my wardrobe. I decided to use toe warmers instead of a second sock. I used a full length insole warmer on the bottom of each foot, and shorter toe warmers on the top of each sock. I also decided to only wear the balaclava. And I opted to use no liner glove, just the lobster gloves.

As for my bike, I decided to use my trainer bike. It's a 2006 Trek Pilot 2.1 that I got off of craigslist. It's a 52cm, which is too big for me. It doesn't shift so I'm always in the 52T big ring up front (it needs new cables and housing). It has some chain rub. And brake rub on the front wheel. And it currently has 28c Panaracer Pasela treaded touring tires on it. But the bikes been good for me as a beater on some casual rides, some training rides, the indoor trainer, and when I have to lock the bike up somewhere that would leave a bike prone to getting stolen or scratched up. I attached my GoPro Hero2 to get some of my first bike footage. I wanted to spend some time figuring out how to use the GoPro and how to turn GoPro footage into something you can put up on the internet.

We had a little mini Speedy Chubs team meeting prior to the ride at Mighty Good Coffee. I hadn't eaten anything all morning or day, so I stole a quarter of Dan's oatmeal raisin cookie. I was fueled and ready!

We left for the Kerrytown farmers market and arrived a little before the 1pm start time for the 20 mile route. While standing around for the ride to start, I realized truly how cold it was! It was FREEZING! Standing in the sun was a little better, but not much. The ride could not get started soon enough! I kept jumping up and down to keep a little warmer.

But finally, we were on our way! Not sure how many riders there were...but there were quite a few! It was real slow going at first because there was a traffic light every block until we got out of downtown. As we rode along, I noticed that I began warming right up. Everything felt pretty good except my thumbs. And even they warmed right up after a few miles.

Now, I honestly expected a very very easy ride. I hadn't worked out in about a week due to flu/cold. But prior to that, I was riding very regularly on the indoor trainer. And I thought I was doing quite well! I felt pretty good on this ride too. At first. Not quite half way through the ride, the group started to splinter up due to traffic lights.  When Clark Rd turned into N Huron River Dr, I made a mini-dash to catch back up with the lead group. I was gaining fast and was sure to catch up as long as I could make the green light to turn onto LeForge! Nope. Yellow. Red. Me slamming on my brakes (oh yeah, the brake pads on this bike weren't really working well either). By the time the light turned green, the group ahead was long gone...and I was feeling pretty tired, surprisingly. And it was at this time I found out the water in my CamelBak was completely frozen, undrinkable. Suck!

Light turned green. We started off again and I just followed Dan, with Geoff and a whole group of other people behind. For some reason, I assumed Dan knew where he was going. What was I thinking? Sure enough, we had no idea what the route was. So we decided to just follow LeForge to Geddes, which would probably cut our ride a bit short of 20. But it would get us back on the correct route.

By the time we made it to Geddes, all the small climbs had really gotten to me. I was pooped. And I was pissed!!!! The stupid trainer is useless!!!!! I'm sure the brake rub, chain rub, big-ring-only, and diet all played a role. But it was mostly my fitness. And we still had to get through Geddes, which is a rolling road. Those rolling hills nearly killed me. And I was a crying, watery mess on some of the downhills because of the cold wind getting behind my glasses and blasting my eyes. When we made the turn onto Earhart, there's a small hill leading up to our next turn onto Glazier Way. I kid you not...I honestly wanted to get off my bike and walk up the hill. Dismounting my bike and walking up a hill has never, ever before entered my mind as an actual option on any ride or any hill. This was new to me. And it happened on a pathetic excuse for a hill!!! I was just so exhausted. But, I churned away slowly and made my way up.

There was only around 3 miles, 4 miles tops, left to go. That fact kept me going. By the time we reached Fuller Rd, I started getting a bit of a second wind as well. And with help from traffic lights, I was able to catch up to a group of riders that I followed to the finish at Arbor Brewing Company.

Geoff had arrived a couple minutes ahead of me. I gave my bike to the bike valet, turned my GoPro off and headed inside. Sadly, they were out of coffee! I'm not a coffee drinker, but the warmth would have been welcomed. Throat was parched since I wasn't able to drink on the ride, but I couldn't find water to save my life! I also started feeling very cold despite the fact that we were now indoors. Dan arrived a few minutes later and joined us.

Between the cold, hunger, thirst, bike issues, getting lost, and suffering due to lack of fitness...it was absolutely miserable!!!! lol But Arbor Brewing Company got their table in the bar all setup with complimentary (ice cold!) water, soups, bread, and coffee. That soup was freaking delicious!

It was a learning experience. I think we all learned about how to better deal with riding in freezing temperatures. And I learned that the trainer is selling me lies!!!! I thought I was doing well. Nope. I think I need to change things up and get outside from time to time even in the winter. I need to attack hills, for sure!

Here's the my Strava ride details: http://app.strava.com/activities/38164553

And here's my first attempt ever at making a video. I shot 720p at 60fps on the GoPro Hero2. I captured around 1 hour and 30 minutes of footage. But just grabbed some random clips to make a 4-ish minute video to fit with a mp3 music track. I used CineForm Studio, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Magic Bullet Denoiser II. Just real elementary stuff until I learn what else is possible and how to accomplish them! The hard part seems to balancing quality vs size when exporting the project. The original looks amazing! But it's like a zillion GB's in size. What I ended up with was around 400-500 MB's and looks OK. Might have to allow for bigger file size to gain back some quality. I'm  just learning this stuff now, so bear with me!

Here's the vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJTVa5VnG64&hd=1

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