My first ride in the new year was a staggering 5.2 miles. That’s not a typo. Five miles… and I loved it. And I froze my freaking face off.
But let’s start from the beginning.
I have lost battles with my weight on many occasions since the Unfat Project began. But this most recent one has resulted in a different reaction than previous battles. Before, I always snuck off to a corner, licked my wounds, and waited for some divine intervention to get me back on the bike — usually in the form of a group ride, or great race on tv, etc.
This time I feel different. When I was researching my year-end post and discovered the total amount of weight I had actually lost during these past two years, I was stunned. If I had gained back only twenty percent of all the weight I’ve dropped since January of 2010, I would be typing this right now at a svelte 175 pounds.
Holy Richard Simmons, Batman!
And that’s including a 20% failure option. So, to say I am motivated for this year is an understatement. Add to that, divine intervention arriving on Christmas Day in the form of this:
The official Skratch Labs cookbook. Wheee!
Filled with truly delicious (and fairly easy) recipes that are designed for the athlete, this book is awesome. Try the pork fried rice before you eat anything else!
Started by Allen Lim — a man who knows more about nutrition and how it relates to cycling and the body than probably any other human — Skratch Labs drink mix is the definitive alternative to everything else that contains bad sugars, colors, and anything else that keeps the mix from giving your body the very best.
Lim has worked with the biggest names in cycling and endurance sport. People pay him HUGE sums of money to advise their athletes, cook meals for them, and basically get their bodies to perform at the very highest level.
What’s great is that all this world-class knowledge works for us HillSlugs, too. If we can perform better on the bike (ride longer, train harder, etc) it results in faster weight loss, and simply just better fitness on all levels. I feel a definite difference (a positive one) when I have Skratch Labs in my bottles than when I have anything else. I perform better on the bike with Skratch labs, and thus ride harder and farther, and lose weight faster.
Anyway… the cookbook is awesome. And the information in the book a plus.
I have also drawn inspiration from some of you, specifically Steve — our defending Comment Champion. Reading about his frosty rides (and those of some others out there) caused me to think that weather is simply… weather. Black ice notwithstanding, so long as you dress appropriately, you can ride in pretty much any weather.
Holy Himalayan Sherpa, Batman!
This jacket is sick. Like, crazy sick warm. But it is not binding, nor heavy. It fits like a cycling jersey. It has 3 rear pockets, it wicks sweat, and did I mention it is WARM? It is. With a Rapha merino base layer under it, I rode today in sub-30 weather (with wind) and my body was completely warm and comfortable.
I wore it in Tucson the week after Christmas on a 28-mile ride in the 40’s, and had to remove it near the end of the ride because I was too warm.
So, with my new booties, gloves, my trusty Hincapie Arenberg bib tights, and my new Zoncolan, I set off this morning with the thermometer reading 24 degrees. I had never ridden in anything below 34 degrees.
It was awesome. Everything on my body was warm and comfy… except for my face.
My feet were good, my hands were good, my head was good, my body was good… even my face was okay as I rolled out of my neighborhood, down Chad, and headed for the levee trail. But then I stopped.
Holy Burl Ives, Batman!
While the roads were clean and clear, my levee trail was snow covered. No problem, I thought, I will continue on, riding the lovely bike paths around here.
So I did. And it was awesome… until I turned into the headwind.
Now, I have dealt with some massive headwinds in my short riding career. I think 27mph is the record. So, a little 8-10mph headwind like today shouldn’t be a big deal… except it was less than 30 out.
When you turn into a headwind like this at this temperature, with nothing covering your face but skin… freezer burn comes on rather quickly.
I actually said “Holy crap!” out loud, and had to ride one-handed or no-handed, alternately covering my face with my gloves.
It was brutal. It was painful. I turned off as soon as I could and tried to continue the ride, all while avoiding going west. But that really doesn’t work, if you want to get back home.
Eventually, I had to pack it in after just five miles. My face was stinging. My eyes even hurt.
But there is nothing negative about my first ride of 2013. I realized that all I need now is a balaclava and I will be set. The rest of my body was toasty warm, and if I’d had something covering my face, I know I could’ve ridden for a couple hours, easy.
I am excited about 2013. I am excited about conquering the cold. I am excited about riding more and posting more. One of my goals for 2013 is to include more photos on this blog. I find myself enjoying the photos on other riders’ blogs and realized you all probably feel the same. So here’s to 2013!
Ride your bike.
Brave the cold.
Fair winds and following seas, Willy