With Devon’s Blizzard Bike Race fast approaching, Jan and I thought we would head out into Saturday’s Blizzard for a little singletrack. The trails were in good shape and we managed to get in a pretty hard 1.5 hours of resistance training, while hopefully honing our winter bike handling skills, and working out the kinks in our system.
For the most part, aside from maybe the first 5 minutes of the ride, our fingers and toes were warm enough, and the rest of us were a little too warm. We saw only one other rider while out on the trails, he was wearing a down jacket and looked as if he were training for the Iditabike rather than taking his dog for a run. By this time, I was already working up a sweat, and Jan looked like he was melting. In the end, I think it was a confidence booster, to get out and feel fit and fast on the trails, and also there was at least two technical lessons learned on my part.
Lesson 1 : Mittens make it difficult to use the breaks and to hold on to the bike at the same time. I elected to mitigate this difficulty during the ride by trying not to use both front and rear breaks at the same time; that way I could at least hang on with one hand at all times. The irony of this situation was that at the times when I most needed to break with both wheels, I also needed to hang on with both hands. Life is like that.
Lesson 2: Rx insert glasses do not work very well in blizzards! Everyone has difficulty with eyewear fogging up in the winter, but really, Rx inserts are twice as bad because two layers of glass fog up, making it twice as difficult to see. Not convinced? It’s even worse than that, since it was a blizzard, snow was falling and being blown around constantly, and it got caught and built up in the space between the two layers of glass. So, in flat light, in a mostly white landscape, I found myself trying to see through two layers of foggy glass, and a tiny little snowdrift, while trying to gap Jan in the technical singl-track. Sad thing is, I could still see better with the glasses than without.