I just have share this too. There was a guy there who actually had his dog with him. HIS DOG. He had a covered basket-type thing that he carried him in (of course he was wearing a sweater... the dog, that is) and would walk him at every rest-stop. Oiy! I understand pet-love, but yesterday was borderline abuse for an animal.
What's next? The Gator Ride! 43 miles of hopefully warmer weather and a challengeing climb over over the Fred Hartman Bridge.
Oh, and it goes without saying how grateful I am that I can even ride a bike comfortably now. It's amazing how shedding almost 90 lbs. can make you feel. I take nothing for granted.
The ride itself was not challenging climb-wise, though there was one hill in the lat 4 miles. Average speed was only 13.2 and a average cadence of 69.8. My riding partner has a metal plate in her leg, so needless to say the cold weather was more than a challenge for her, but she was a trooper. We did not focus on speed or Cadence, but stayed together (especially since my partner was struggling); misery loves company, you know? That's not to say I didn't fire my legs from time-to-time, but I really believe that when you sign up together, you stick together.
If you're at all interested...here's a couple tips (from personal experience) for cold weather riding:
- Not all leg warmers are created equal. My riding partner had purchased some Nike leg warmers and they were not friendly to her fuller thighs; clearly they are cut more for men's peg-legs. She had to keep slowing down and stopping to pull them up. Let's just say they served better as ankle warmers. The Pearl Izumi brand though, were nice and long with friendly elastic and stay up.
- Personally, I chose to skip the leg warmer challenge and made a relatively modest (compared to other brands) investment in a pair of cycling pants. I purchase the Canari brand ($52.99). They were nice for a 25 mile ride, but at 45 miles their high-tech gel pad was less than comfortable. That said, I really do like the material they are made of and perhaps their more "spendy" Elite series would perform better.
- Layer, layer, layer. 'nough said."Twinkie Toes" work, but invest in a good pair of wool socks as well that will wick the moisture from your feet and keep the cold to a minimum.
- Assos chami butter -- OMG this stuff leaves you feeling cool on your bottom and friction free. At first I was surprised, it kinda has a cool, mentholated feeling, but doesn't burn; just feels cool and comfortable. No chafing happened on this girl.
- Wear gloves over your cycling gloves. Don't underestimate the wind. When you're riding, even a 5 mph wind feels like more than a challenge. I swear I thought my finger tips were going to fall off. Worst part is, I had a pair my hubby gave me to borrow, but I chose NOT to wear them. I was cursing a blue-streak the whole ride.
Lastly, a headband to cover your ears!
- Deerfield Farms Snackin' Flax and Turkish Apricots make for great fast-fuel. I had no problems keeping my energy. My riding buddy is actually an RD, LD and said the snackin' flax find was a good one -- so try them! The Turkish apricots are low on the glycemic index, but still pack some fuel in them. Just a couple of good options for those who can't do GU, or GU-like alternatives.