Enjoying the fresh air

I woke up this morning a bit earlier than planned.  I woke up at 0400 to use the bathroom, and thought about the pending rain then decided to just get up and ride.

So, after futzing around a bit, I got on the road just about 0430, and man, was it nice.  It was about 60F, with a little bit of a breeze, and it just felt glorious.  Riding in the cold isn't terrible, when you're prepared, but it's still SO much nicer when it's a little warmer.

So I went out pretty minimally; shorts, jersey, socks, shoes, helmet, (fingerless) gloves, tools.  I wore my old shoes, vacillating on the possibility of rain.  My only other concession to the possible rain was to put my rear fender on, to cut down on spray up my back.

Since I was so early, I decided to do my long loop (despite it being a slow-riding day), and that was going so well that I even tacked on a couple extra bits.  First, instead of going straight down Braddock to get on Potomac Ave, I tacked right onto Commonwealth and into Old Town Alexandria.  Then, when I was nearly back, and things were still looking good (even if I had gotten a few drops on me just as I was getting away from the Potomac), I added a couple more by turning left on Washington Ave (from George Mason) and heading down to Sycamore.  Then, when I got home, I found myself at about 29.5 miles, so I went past the house and did another mile or so in the neighborhood to put myself over thirty for the day.

It being an easy-riding day, that took about two hours and a quarter, but man, was it a nice ride.  The only negative was that my heart rate meter was being wacky for the first hour or so; it would go to a number and stay at that number for minutes at a time.  I have no idea if any of the numbers over that span were accurate, either.  All in all, that was really annoying.  I wonder if I was pushing too hard through one big stretch, although my breathing was always easy, so I tend to think not.

Other than that, I was really happy with the ride.  That the rain held off for most of an hour after I finished also helped quite a bit certainly helped (yes, I wish I'd worn the new shoes and taken off the fender).  I also wish I'd worn different shorts, I think.  The shorts I wore were fine for the first hour or so, but my butt started bothering me a little towards the end.  Not a big deal, but it could have been better.

The gloves I wore were also new.  They're Louis Garneau Vorttice's, which are supposed to be extra aerodynamic.  Color me a little skeptical on how much difference that makes, but they're very comfortable and light, yet well padded, so I wasn't displeased with them.  The only negative, in fact, has to do with how thin they are: they're a bit of a pain to get on and off.  Slightly annoying, but only slightly.

It was interesting wearing them, though, as they're the first fingerless gloves I've worn (in many years, at least), and that felt a lot different, especially while shifting.  I could feel the indentations on the sides of the shifters for the first time ever.  Neat.

Looking ahead, I think the rain should stop before the ride in the morning, but I suspect the ground won't be dry yet.  Ah well.  Need to find out if the group ride is happening; I would expect so, but need to verify.  And hopefully it will be at 0600, not 0700 (like last week).  If not, I guess I'll just head out on a hard ride on my own again; I'm certainly used to that.  Maybe I'll try to break my speed record going up MacArthur Blvd...

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