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On this particular week in mid-April Salt Lake City is just like Seattle only minus the indy-music scene and trendy coffee shops*.
Monday: was 15 miles (I didn't see the point of a two hour ride in a downpour, the agreement was commute, which is actually only 3 miles, anything over that is above and beyond the requirements of this challenge) of rain and road mud. Lots of mud, in my socks, on my water bottle, in my bibs, even on the inside of my glasses. I would like to point out here that this was not a trail ride.
Tuesday: Roads are wet but no rain. Still cold, cold, cold. On the upside I'm getting lots of opportunities to use the Pearl Izumi cold weather beanie (pictured above) that I got as a free gift with the cycling Jersey I bought from Backcountry .com for La Canadienne back on Valentine's Day:
Nothing says 'I love you' like patriotic themed cycling apparel. She returned it. She actually tried it on before she returned it, but she returned it. It's what La Canadienne does, well one of the things she does but one that she does well ... I kept the cold weather beanie (it was a gift from Backcounty.com & unlike La Canadienne I rarely return gifts). Today's ride also featured thousands and thousands of earthworms, a veritable earthworm plague. The two days of rain and rumors of spring must have brought them out for a look-see. I crushed several hundred of them on my hour-long commute. I think fishermen call them nightcrawlers but if they truly were nightcrawlers I wouldn't have been scraping them out of my chainrings when I got to work this morning.
Wednesday: Don't believe the chart above. Low temp this AM was 38 degrees (feels like 34). I call Bull. What it feels like is frozen purgatory; this Spring has been the coldest winter ever. The squeak from the Fezzari dirvetrain is now too loud to drown out with my ipod. Is it possible for bike lube to freeze? Could it be that there's a frozen earthworm lodged in my bottom bracket? Rodney says infinite cycles will service my bottom bracket for $20. I'm going to have to look into it because between the cold and the squeak, bike rides have become tedious, even painful and we're not even two weeks into this challenge.
Thursday April 21st 2011, La Candienne celebrates her 40th birthday. It's cold (relatively, I've come to consider anything above 40 degrees acceptable for long rides, anything in the mid-forties feels downright balmy) about 45 degrees and ferociously windy. I'm not allowed to complain about that second part, but La Candienne has made no such pact and she makes her feelings on the subject known. Our original plan was to celebrate her birthday with a 50 mile ride along Wasatch Blvd and loop home. Forecast is for rain and snow. The fact that neither is happening at the moment has me itching to roll while we can. La Canadienne balks, I threaten to go without her and finally we head out. We ride to the top of Rose Canyon road into the teeth of evil Lord Voldemort and then out to Bacchus Highway rather than straight shot home (her idea and Kudos to her for [literally] going the extra mile(s) 35 total, not 50 but in these conditions you take what you can get. With the Dark Lord in our rearview mirror we hit 44 mph on Bacchus and watch storm clouds roll in from the Northwest. They look like they mean business. Just as we hang up the bikes, the wind does a 180 degree shift and sleet and hail pummel the roof and north side of our house, the trampoline threatens to fly over the fence and La Canadienne & I congratulate ourselves for our impeccable timing.
(La Canadienne at the top of Rose Canyon road. Note the new cycling jersey the one that replaced my thoughtful and heartfelt Valentine gift. My Canadian mother-in-law pointed out that La Candienne hasn't traded me in ... yet. So there's that)
Also, of note. Following Rodzilla's suggestion I tracked the squeak in the Fezzari (aka my rain bike, the idea of which merits its own blog entry). It was coming from the rear derailleur, not the bottom bracket as I had supposed. I lubed it thoroughly and voila, no longer do I sound like an out of tune ice cream truck when I pedal through the 'hood.
Friday we're back to early am frost warnings (33 degree f before the sun peaked over the Wasatch mountains with some nice humidity thrown in). Citrus farmers, golfers and myself all lament the fact that it's past mid April and the frigid temps continue to threaten to kill the thing we love. I opt against the full gloves and go for mittens instead. It means that shifting will be cumbersome and braking, well that will take advanced planning. It's not ideal by any stretch but I've gotten tired of having my hands throb until mid-morning because I've taken them to the brink of frostbite yet again. dregger told me about Bar mitts:
which keep your hands warm while allowing you to shift gears and stop at red lights. Dr. Ivey bought him a pair so they could continue riding when winter temps in St George drop into the forties. dregger says they work too well, your hands sweat and besides that, even with the bar mitts he (dregger) doesn't ride when the thermometer reads less than 55 degrees. I told him we call 55 degrees in the morning June and tried to hint that maybe next winter he should leave his Bar Mitts with me. Didn't think I would still need them in April, but next year I'll be more prepared.
Tonight is BBQ at Rodzilla's house with 3/4 of Rockwell Relay team: Sons of Perdition. After dinner we're watching the Tour de France documentary Chasing Legends: http://chasinglegends.com/trailers/
At some point we will plan tomorrow's training Ride Matt 'didImentionmybikeis13%stifferand.33lbslighterthanyourbikeandmywheelsrollbetterthanyours' Phillipps wants to ride to the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon. A ride that is miserable under the best circumstances and probably ill-advised if, as predicted, it's going to snow tonight. My vote will be for a Suncrest + 50 miles ride. Which will take me to 150 miles for the week. That's not going to cut it for Rockwell or for LOTOJA. I'm calling it now. May will have to be a thousand mile month, regardless of weather conditions.
Will keep you posted.
*Plenty of Starbucks though, but that's not saying much, they even have Starbucks in Kazakhstan
(rumored new captain for team Astana, don't know his name but I hear he's a wicked sprinter)