Ride of the century?

I mentioned that I was taking a day off, last week, and going for a full century on my bike.

The temperature was kind-of in-between, and I wasn't sure what to wear.  I went with my new Assos shorts (T.cento), leg warmers, heavy base layer shirt, jersey (worn just for the pockets), and a windbreaker (mostly ditto, though that's not the only reason I'm glad I wore it).

Things didn't get off to a great start, though, as I grabbed the wrong gloves and turned back after only a minute or two.  Unfortunately, the gloves I grabbed instead were also the wrong ones (the first lacked windbreaking ability, the second were ok there but still not warm enough), and that's most of the story of the ride.

But not entirely.  I'd alluded to being tired the night before, and that kept on, into the day.  In fact, it took about an hour before I started to feel good, and I never did feel great.  But to get back to the gloves...

Basically, I was expecting the ride to start at 35F, and quickly warm up to ~40F, and stay there for most of the ride (I did check the forecast, though only for the near end).  Instead, it was right around freezing for most of the day, and it felt like it.  At one point, getting close to Purcellville (my destination), I came to an intersection and tried to stop, as visibility wasn't great, but there was definitely a car coming.  But I wasn't slowing down much, so I tried squeezing harder.  After a minute, I realized that the reason I wasn't stopping was that one of my fingers was in the way of the brake.  Thank goodness I didn't try to squeeze even harder, and that the car wasn't as close as I thought.

I stopped a couple minutes after that at some benches, just so I could put my hands under my jacket and shirts, and warm them up.  Not a pleasant stop at all.

When I made it to Purcellville, I was against extremely cold, and stopped in a local bike shop there to look around.  While they were happy to have me there (even though I didn't buy anything), the shop was almost empty because they just fired their distributor, and are waiting for the new one to ship stuff.  Weird to see a mostly-empty shop right before Christmas.  Not their finest hour.

Nor my finest hour, come to that.  On my previous trip out there, I'd averaged eighteen miles an hour all the way (not including stops, of course).  This time, I was a bit below 16.5; quite a drop-off.  The cold certainly didn't help that, nor did the headwind I was going into just about all the way.  Regardless of what caused it, though, I was very disappointed.

In any event, after fifteen or twenty minutes, I turned around and headed back for home.  I actually felt a little better, heading back, than I had in my previous trip.  In fact, I averaged slightly better time on the way back than on the way out (not much; one or two tenths of a mile per hour, but it was interesting).  But the cold was even worse.

I put the liner gloves I'd carried on before I left, and they helped for a while.  But not for a long while.  By the time I got back to Ashburn, I ended up stopping at a BBQ place there as much to warm up as to eat.  Though I did eat a sandwich platter without a problem.

By the time I finished the platter, I was ready to head home, and that's what I did.  But by the time I got to Vienna, I was cold enough to seek out another bike shop just off the trail.  I didn't buy anything there either, though I thought about it.  But I noticed it wasn't quite as late as I thought, so I hurried out after a little warming up, and went to run an errand my wife wanted (that I thought I wouldn't have time for).

I hurried up a little, but still got to the place my wife wanted me to go a couple minutes after they closed.  But I was still able to get my errand done, as they were very nice.

After that, I decided to head straight home, even though it was going to leave me a few miles short of a hundred.  A disappointing end, but I wasn't feeling terrible.

I did finish the second half a bit faster (and a bit less sore) than my first attempt, but I still definitely wasn't feeling great.  In fact, I felt a bit worse the next morning than I had after the first long trip.

It's also left me wondering a bit about my selection of gloves.  Especially for the options just above freezing.  The PI 3x1 Pro Softshell gloves are good, in that range, when things are dry, but not for wet.

I got some Assos rain gloves, but they're not warm enough to get down to freezing (and my first pair wasn't big enough to make liner gloves an option.  I've since fixed that, but haven't been able to test yet).  Also, my Black Diamond Guide gloves turned out not to be warm enough for a long ride at 35F a couple days ago (at least part of the problem is that I wasn't riding as hard, undoubtedly).  I think I need a bigger size for them, as well.  I'm working on that.

Anyway, I've done easy (if long) rides each day since then (except the first day, which was easy and medium length).  My legs have not been happy.  Maybe I just need a short, easy day to help.

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