MLK LSD Ride
With cold temperatures, cold north winds, and a day off work, it seemed appropriate to shoot for a Long Steady Distance (LSD) ride yesterday. I guess 45 miles qualifies for a LSD..at least it does for me this time of the year! By noon the few chores on my list were done, a chicken was on the smoker that would take several hours to finish, and the temperature was exceeding expectations at 36 degrees, so I bundled up and headed out on the Surly with the plan to go ride the big hills east of Strafford, then swing out Division to Lon Road and take those to Rogersville before heading home via Mentor and Kinser Bridge. That route gave me over 3,000 feet of climbing, which is quite a bit for the distance around here.
As I rode toward Strafford, however, it wasn’t the hills that made things uncomfortable as it was the wind. That north wind was cold on my face! As I pedaled into the wind I could tell I was probably overdressed, which concerned me a bit. It didn’t cause any major issues for the first 30 miles, but when I took a break at Rogersville, the moisture I had trapped between my layers started causing me to chill, and I never really got comfortable again the rest of the way home. Had I not stopped, I would have been OK, but after 30 miles, I needed to take a nature break and get a few calories in my body.
By the time I got home, I was beginning to question my sanity in choosing the Surly for the day. On the one hand, I consider it my go-to bike when it’s cold out. The bigger tires and steel frame make for a much more comfortable ride than the skinny tires and carbon frame in the cold. It’s Bar Mitts allowed me to just use a thin pair of gloves all day, although I carried along a heavier pair in case I needed them. On the other hand, though, it’s quite a bit heavier than my road bike and doesn’t climb nearly as well. I guess the upside of that is that if you’re looking for a good workout, that will be ensured!
I met this little guy and his brother/friend down in the valley east of Strafford. They were curious enough to come close to the fence to check me out, but wouldn’t let me pet them. I wondered if it was the bike that made them timid.
It was really pleasant being out on the road by myself for three hours. Traffic was non-existent, and I didn’t see a soul for most of that time. I expected it to be fairly quiet because of the temperature, but thought there might be a little more traffic out since it was the holiday.
I don’t remember the last time I saw the Garmin displaying grades over 12% so often. It seemed like every big climb of the day was showing some ridiculous number and I was standing in the big ring (42 x 32) in order to muscle over the top. Oh well, I knew what I was getting into!
I had something of a comical moment on the hill pictured above. It’s on YY just after a little creek crossing. I decided I wanted to get a picture looking up it and tried to get it while riding. I snapped the picture with my right hand about the time I crossed the bridge and headed up, then had trouble getting the camera back into my pocket with my gloves on. By the time I finally got that settled and my hand back into the Bar Mitt to downshift, I had nearly come to a complete standstill because of the high gear I was in as I came down the hill. Rather than risk a clipped in topple, I somehow managed to get turned back downhill so I could downshift. Since I was stopped anyway, I managed to get a much better picture than the original!
While I was stopped a Rogersville, a young man got out of his car and said, “It’s getting pretty nice out here, isn’t it?” That was at the point where I was beginning to get chilled, so I politely agreed with him, then thought to myself, “Maybe if you’re riding in a car it might be!”
That last few miles from Rogersville to home was a bit of a slog. Not only was I cold, but I had enjoyed the luxury of the wind at my back for several miles and I was having to deal with it again. By the time I turned back to the north at Mentor, I could tell my legs were cooked and that I had slipped into survival mode for the last five miles. With the wind and the remaining hills between me and home, they were easily the slowest miles of the day.
Even though it ended up being a tough ride, I was certainly glad I got out. I had debated even going, but decided I would rather ride than sit around the house all afternoon.
You can click the map at the top for the Strava stats.
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