Yep, here we go! A new riding season has begun. The 2009 goals and achievements are in the books and unalterable leading us toward opportunities for renewal and growth as cyclists and as members of our communities. To get the new riding season and the new year started in the right direction, it was important for me to get in a ride, no matter how short, just so I could record those first miles of the year on the first day of the year.
January 1st, dawned clear and moderately cold at 31 degrees. Today is also my “best half’s” birthday so riding needed to take a back seat to plans for celebrating. We were planning a movie and dinner so I knew I needed to get out and get my ride in mid-day, which also should coincide with the warmest part of the day.
Around noon, I headed to the office to get my Fuji CCR3 and get that short ride in for the record. I was starting out in 38 degree weather so I knew I was going to need my cold weather outfit. I modified it from my December 27th ride by adding silk gloves under my heavier Pearl Izumi gloves and by going with a full fleece balaclava. I maintained the rest of my riding outfit as noted in my December 27th post.
My original intent had been to put in a few miles and return to the office. I thought maybe 5 miles or maybe 10 would be sufficient for the day. After all, I was only looking to be able to say that I rode on January 1st. The quite brisk air as I started did nothing to dissuade me from my original intent. But then, something funny happened on the way to being able to say “I rode on January 1st!”
I took my usual route from the office and headed by the Waynesville Recreation Department and out Howell Mill Road to Business 23. The cold air was seeping through my tights but my core was pretty dog gone comfortable wrapped inside my snazzy new Novara Stratos jacket. So, I kept spinning. As I got to Lowe’s and the beginning of NC 209, my usual haunt, I made an impulsive decision to head up Hospital Drive. I hadn’t climbed this hill in probably 6 months. It was one of the first that was a real “lung buster” for me a year ago. Then I noticed, “hey, I’m not so cold” and “gee, I’ve only ridden 4.5 miles. Hmm, I’m just warming up!”
Sooooo, I pedaled on. Next, I noticed some sweat starting. “Hey, it’s supposed to be cold out here”, I said to myself. Oh yeah, now I’m passing through Clyde, NC and I’m just passing 7.5 miles. Hmm, let’s see if I turn around now and return to the office, I’ll get in a 15 mile ride today. But, wait a minute! Let’s think about it… O.K., I’m only 2 miles from Canton, NC. Maybe I should just ride on there and, gee, since I’m going to do that, I may as well ride on to Bethel, NC on NC 110. Oh yeah, if I do that – I’ll be at home!
I pedaled on… The climb into Canton from Clyde is a low grade but long pull and I had a pretty good sweat going as I topped Radio Hill and began the cooling off descent into Canton. Luck was with me today. I made every traffic light and didn’t have to lose momentum by stopping at red lights. As usual, I circumvented the Canton Rec Park and noted two couples out getting in a walk. I also passed the only other two-wheeler I saw all day while in Canton. A couple on their Harley were getting in their New Year’s Day ride. I remember when I used to do that! Oh wait, I AM doing that – just self powered at the moment.
I started the 5 mile river grade pull from Canton to Bethel on NC 110. It was here that the temperature really burned me up! Man, I was roasting at 44 degrees! Whew, I need to cool down! Shortly, I made the intersection of NC 110 and US 276 and headed north through Bethel toward the house. It was on this section that I experienced the most traffic of the day. Everyone was quite pleasant and gave me plenty of room. I’d like to think it is a sign of the times to come. I guess time will tell.
After a 2 mile run of mostly flat ground, I made it back to the house. I had to walk the skinny tire bike up our gravel road to the house. Other than being in my cycling shoes, it was a pleasant short hike up the mountain. My wife met me on the deck with a surprised expression on her face followed by the query, “Hey, where’s your truck?” I shared with her my discovery of this New Year’s Day ride: The ride from my office to my home is now the SHORTEST ride I take!
I can now safely declare that the new riding season has begun – for me at least! Here’s wishing each and all a very prosperous and happy 2010 with wishes that you always keep the rubber side down!
- Until later,
P.S. Anyone interested in checking out the local weather in beautiful Bethel, NC may check out my Davis ProVantage II Weather Station.