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Thursday, February 5, 2009

What to Wear

I've never been a very good judge of exactly what to wear to most appropriately meet the capricious nature of cool weather rides and my thirst for significant variations in altitude during such rides.

Saturday morning Vince and I met at the train trestle at 8:00 am and rode the Crocket loop in pretty good time. The air was cold to start the morning, which always creates a wardrobe dilemma, especially when the afternoons are destined to be warm. I opted for shorts and knee warmers, a sleeveless t-shirt under my long sleeve jersey and a windbreaker. The bandana and long fingered gloves supplemented the helmet and cycling gloves.

It worked out nearly perfect. By the time I met up with Vince, I had climbed over the Shell St. hill, and was ready to take off the windbreaker. Once done, I was content to feel the 40 degree air through my jersey, but suspected the descents from our 2 climbs would be chilly. They were, but I was done with the windbreaker for the day. Following the 20 mile loop, I headed for Mt. D while Vince headed to finish some chores. I followed a familiar route across the west side of the Diablo Valley, and finally lost the knee warmers and gloves starting my ascent around 10:00 am.

I had a reasonable climb ahead of me and soon decided that I should have braved the cold earlier and chosen a short sleeved jersey. 1 hour 30 minutes from the North entrance to the top. I blame the less than spectacular results on being out of the saddle for so much this winter, and for riding 90% of the way in 2nd gear.

Why in 2nd gear? I don’t know. I got started feeling good, looked down and saw I still had one gear to go, and decided not to go there. It most certainly felt like the mountain got steeper, but I have no idea whether or not it helped my climbing ability, endurance, or muscle strength. It did get me passed by 2 cyclists near the top. However, their combined bikes, attire, and gear probably cost more than our Honda, so I’m fairly certain they were professionals or something like that.

The sun and a stiff breeze were in competition at the top of the mountain, so I positioned myself so as to give the sun as much advantage as possible. I slipped the long gloves back on after refilling 2 water bottles and headed for home. The windbreaker would have been nice on the way down, but one gets weary of the flapping, and the temperature relates inversely to the altitude.

Home in just over 4.5 hours for the 66 miles and approx. 5.5k feet of climbing. No sweat. I mean literally, I got home dry though hydrated, which means that I was dressed just about right, and the pre-spring air was feeling splendid.

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