Greetings from Hoth

The Bay Area is in a bit of a cold snap and we knew it was going to be bad this weekend.  During my Thursday afternoon workout it was about 45 degrees and when I got home the only reason I knew my butt was still attached was that I could see it.  I certainly couldn’t feel it.
After last weekend’s epic fail I went for a couple of my “usual” rides during the week.  That was a very good idea because it gave me a chance to get to know my bike a bit better.  So I wasn’t nearly as worried about this weekend’s ride as I was about last weekend’s. Also, Tom was going to be around, and since he’s familiarized himself with my truck he was going to be able to serve as a personal emergency SAG if need be.  However, one thing the rides did teach me is that I needed to add some bits to my arsenal of cold weather gear.
Going shopping last night I went to two shops – instead of doing what I should have done in the first place and going to my regular shop.  Pickings were slim.  I had hoped for some leg warmers or even tights (as opposed to knee warmers), shoe covers, warmer socks, and something to cover my ears.  Sports Basement only came up the last item – fortunately I found a pair of shoe covers at Mike’s Bikes and some socks.  
The morning was very clear and sunny, but of course very chilly.  I got out of the house a bit earlier this time which was great – the ride over to where the rides meet up is a nice little warm up, and I got there 15 minutes before meetup time.  I was able to say hello to folks and participate in all the stretching exercises.  Also, it turns out that Tom had followed me over.  That was good because I realized I had left my RoadID at home, so he ran back to get that.   
The ride started off quite nicely.  It was flat to lightly-inclined going to the first rest stop.  I had started off with some folks I know but ended up getting dropped pretty quickly.  Not a surprise – I’m barely fast enough for this group as it is.  I also made an emergency pit stop at a gas station and came out to find that the sweeps had caught up to me.  I made it to the first rest stop with a little bit of time, but I hurried a mocha and snack and got back on the road.
The next segment was the majority of the climbing.  Chris, the ride facilitator, is basically an evil man who loves hills.  I, being a mostly (but not completely) recovered fat person hate them.  The hills this week were not quite as evil as Farm Hill was last week, but they were evil enough.  There was one little segment where you are climbing through a hairpin and I just couldn’t keep enough speed.  I ended up walking a tiny bit, but not much because it wasn’t as steep as I thought after the hairpin.
After the two big hills it was a very nice decent.  I got in to the drops and felt all racy.  I also got to get a better feel for the brakes on the bike.  After that there were a few rollers into rest stop 2.  At rest stop 2 I was feeling fat (long story), so I just took a bathroom break, slammed a gel, and got going.  It was only 15 miles to home, and fairly uneventful at that.  A quick stop at my shop to see what kind of cold weather gear they have and I was back home.  I had an HMR shake (pretty good recovery drink), a shower, and decided what to do with the rest of my day.
For the official ride report from the man in charge, please click here.

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