Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Cold and Gloomy River Ride

This morning I went on my first long ride of the year. I decided to start slow with my training and limit it to 30 miles of flats, which made a river trail ride the optimum choice. I choose the Rio Hondo is the closest to my home and has the advantage that I can spend more time on the trail and less on the street getting to the trail. The trail is in pretty good shape with very few potholes, but there are large cracks in the pavement which can rattle an aluminum frame pretty hard.

Today's ride was thirty miles, and while it was cold and dark, my spirits were up. I am excited about training again, and excited about trying out new things. The new thing to try out today was winter bike clothing.

I still have not got my wardrobe down for this kind of winter riding. I have tried different combinations of things over the last two months and have made improvements, but I still have much to learn. I wore some heavy weight cycling tights, but they have no wind resistance. At speed I am really cold, but while stopped at a light I warm up. On top I wore a long sleeve base layer, a short sleeve jersey and a wind breaker. It was probably too much, because I was soaked with sweat when I got home. I wonder if leaving off the short sleeve jersey would work better, or perhaps I need a windbreaker that breathes more.

On my head I wore a windtex headband, and a fleece muffler around my neck. The muffler works great because you can move it up or down to give you more or less ventilation as needed, but the headband did not work too well. It certainly is good when you start out the ride, because it protects my sensitive ears from the the wind, but halfway through the ride my head was starting to pound from the cold. I took the headband off, and I was actually warmer. I think the headband was causing my head to sweat and the sweat was causing my head to freeze. Ugh. It hurts just to think about it.

Here is a picture of the Rio Hondo. As you can see there is actual water in the river, which is only the case in the middle of winter. The rest of the time it is just a big concrete ditch.

The clouds were coming in and I thought it would rain, but then they broke and the sun finally came out. This picture was taken just as dark clouds were starting to break up. It is spooky in the gloom from the clouds, but the pond is the prettiest spot along the trail. The wildlife included some geese and a few homeless people. In the background you can see the outline of Mt. Wilson. That is where I am going next week.

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