A Chilly Wind Didn’t Overcome A Good Bike Kit

I rode today which means it is two days in a row. My home weather station was optimistic with the temperature at 76 degrees when I got back home at 1:33. The wind was chilly and biting whenever I was in the shade. I think it was more like 67. Thank goodness for the sun to warm me up plus I wore a cool weather kit of jacket, shorts, leg warmers, long sleeve jersey and a new pair of Pearl Izumi red gloves. digging around in my closet yesterday I found two new pairs of Voler shorts. I may replace some of the older ones shortly.

The route was slightly different from the past Oakhurst – Valley Ranch ones. I didn’t go west on Old Sorters Road and FM1314 east to Valley Ranch Parkway. I wanted to ride about 25 miles since I am coming off a period of no riding. I rode 25.25 miles which is pretty close. When I reached Old Sorters Road I turned right to FM1314 and then through Valley Ranch. On US59 south service road I rode all the way to Northpark Drive rather than turning left onto FM1314 and then Loop 494 south to Knox Road. By going to Northpark and then north along US59 I got to the same entrance back to Kingwood but avoided the traffic on Loop 494 and the concrete debris in front of Porter Ready-Mix on the shoulder.

Every time I turned into the wind I was glad I was dressed for it. I could’ve been fooled by my home weather station and paid a chilly price.

I imported the Garmin data into Golden Cheetah but for some reason the summary page did not format right. Hopefully the next ride doesn’t have this problem.

Monday and Tuesday look good weather wise for biking. I plan on taking advantage of it. Wednesday weather takes a dip to cooler temperature maybe below 60.

January mileage is now 73.68. My sit bones are complaining some after the long time of not riding.

RidewithGPS map, metrics and charts.

Evacuation From the Cold But Back to Ride Now

You may have noticed the lack of daily news digests since January 11th. My wife and I couldn’t take the cold any longer and we took a cruise to Merida and Cozumel, Mexico. It was warmer there as promised. I might think of this trip as an evacuation. I have not rode much this month and sticking around to suffer was not good. We got back today with the southeast Texas weather improved over when we left on Monday the 12th. We got back in time to ride this afternoon after doing some unpacking.

I wish I could say I rode enough to make up for the missed days but it is not so. I did ride 29.84 miles on the Atascocita – Walden – Huffman route. Apparently I wasn’t the only person wanting to ride. I saw three other bikers over the route. I might have been the most dressed with windbreaker jacket, leg warmers, shorts, long sleeve jersey and a new pair of half-finger Pearl Izumi Elite Gel Glove. I have had these gloves for almost a year. I hated to stop using one of the old pair but with the new year I decided it was time to retire one old pair. I have two other pair of old gloves that will be retired on each of the next two rides. In the Texas sun the red gloves fade to pink over a few months. Today’s new pair was white and black. They shouldn’t fade as quickly.

This was the first road bike ride of the year (also the second one of the year) and it felt good to be on the bike. The weather was chilly at times when I going into the 12 mph SW wind especially in the shade. When I was getting ready I almost left the leg warmers off but I am glad I didn’t. It was 71 degrees on my home weather station when I left home at 1:55. I figured this being the first road ride I wouldn’t push the speed so much. As a result my average speed topped out at 14.9 mph and settled at 14.7 mph overall.

The road on this route hasn’t changed since my last ride but I did notice some piles of sand on the shoulder of the FM1960 causeway eastbound over Lake Houston. Maybe while I was gone or since my last ride TXDot thought there was a chance of ice.

I want to add a route back to my list this year for some variety. It has been many years since I rode to Dayton on FM1960. I want to go there a few times. It would be about 40 miles round trip. During my absence FM1960 has changed east of the railroad overpass east of Huffman. What used to be chip seal pavement is now asphalt. In some places a center turn lane has been added which compresses the shoulder some but I don’t think it is enough to cause a problem to biking. I am not sure when the first ride will happen though.

So far I have rode 48.7 miles in January. It looks like I will be way short of last year’s 329 but the next few days look promising and I will take advantage where I can.

During our cruise stop in Merida we were talking with one of the tour guides about what he does. Currently cruise ships come to Merida on Tuesday and Wednesday. This leaves the rest of the week and we were curious what Phillipe did. He is a professional photographer most of the time with some part time jobs but most interesting he is starting to race bicycles. He practices several times a week to learn and build up his physical strength. We also learned in August it can get up to 120 degrees which kills the tourist business. During the winter months many US and Canadian citizens come to live. The tour guide pointed out the American stores: Costco, Home Depot, Sam’s Club, Office Depot and many fast food places. The population of Merida is over 1 million. On the drive to and from the cruise ship we passed auto dealers for Mercedes, Porsche, Jaguar, BMW plus some that are not in the US.

Now that we are back I hope the weather starts warming up to allow me to ride.

RideWithGPS and Garmin Connect maps, metrics and charts.

Breaking the Ice Bike Ride

Mike and Frank on the TV show American Pickers talk about breaking the ice. I broke the ice today with the first ride of 2015. I was watching the temperature around noontime as it slowly moved to 60 degrees. I was determined to ride today with cold weather supposed to arrive tomorrow and stay with us for 10 days or so.

I started getting ready to ride donning two long sleeve jerseys, leg warmers, shorts, jacket and full finger gloves. I figured riding the Kingwood trails I would be in the shade a lot and it could be chilly plus I could sweat off some of the extra pounds I put on over the holidays. I pressed the start button on the Garmin 510 at 12:51 and finished at 2:37. It did warm up to 66 when I got home but it still felt chilly. I did not regret wearing the cloths.

There was nothing exotic about the route other than I wanted to go at least 15 miles. I ended up riding 18.86 miles. Being on my MTB I didn’t set any fast average speed but I did realize the extra weight of this bike can wear me out even going up the few inclines around here. I wandered around the trails north of the river and crossed over the river into Atascocita to get those extra miles.

A few other bikers were on the trails and most were not dressed to the extent I was. Two riders I came upon were wearing shorts and T-shirts. This is way too under dressed for my thin blood. Another lady was dressed similar to me but no helmet. Not a good idea with the sudden trail turns and uneven surface in places. Yesterday I needed a helmet at home when I was putting away Christmas decorations. A tall candle stand with a large candle on the top fell over from the shelf above my head with the candle landed solidly on my head. That HURT! I stopped and took a break to get my senses back.

Charts and stuff from the ride: (click the image to see it full size)

Reached My Riding Goal But Not Done Yet, I Hope

With the year winding down I am running out of days to reach my mileage goal for the year. Today is the first day since December 12th that I could get out and ride. As I was getting ready my wife ask me if I thought I could stay upright since she saw some strong wind gusts in our backyard. With all of the holiday eating and lack of biking I told I her I had plenty of ballast to offset the wind.

I thought about some route options that would get the 18 miles I needed to reach the goal. Going north with all of the road construction is too much effort so I decided to ride my Atascocita – Walden – Huffman route. Usually this route is 30+ miles but today I cut off a couple of miles at the beginning and ended up riding 30.31 miles. This put me over my goal at 6513 miles. I might be able to add some more miles to that but right now the weather forecast does not look favorable. Saturday and Sunday look warm enough but the chance of rain is near 50% or more. The rest of the days may be too cool for me, below 60 is too cold for this older body.

If the sky had not been overcast I probably could’ skipped the leg warmers with 71 degrees but the stiff wind made it feel cooler than 71. I wore a long sleeve jersey and a windbreaker jacket in addition to shorts and leg warmers. At the start the wind was gusting to 23 mph but it settled down to 12 mph by the time I got home at 3:07. Riding east over Lake Houston on FM1960 the wind helped me but on the return going west I slowed down to below 14 mph going into the stiff wind. My average speed up to this point was 15.4 mph but I lost a .1 mph thanks to the wind. I was able to recover that lost mph and held it until I reached Kingwood Drive at 28 miles into the ride. Once I crossed over Kingwood Drive winding around the streets and parking lots I ended up averaging 15.3 mph which isn’t bad considering how little I have rode this month; 116.6 miles.

This year I rode this route 59 times out of 191 rides. Maybe in 2015 I can increase the northerly rides when the Grand Parkway construction moves west of US59.

I did see two other bikers. Both were on FM1960 over Lake Houston. They were not recreational bikers but more utilitarian bikers; a category I just made up.

Garmin Connect and RideWithGPS maps, metrics and charts. Click on an image to enlarge it.