|Newsletter - 2022 Archive|
It was fun at times, boring at times, interesting at times, cold most of the time, really cold particularly as darkness set in, windy much of the time and bloody windy some of the time. All in all, just a typical December ride in the Upper Fraser Valley. As I set out 'solo' on a route I usually ride shotgun with Karen I was hoping/planning to go sub 11 hours ( actual finish time 11: 01) Something easy for many but a challenge for me given the anticipated conditions. My biggest concern this time of year, if it has snowed ( and is still on the ground) and we are in the midst of daily thaw/ freeze cycles is BLACK ICE! Believe me one get really good at recognizing the suspected areas where it happens. Cross my fingers...?
I ride COLD so finding that balance between insulation and ventilation is a constant and ongoing experiment. I rode slightly chilled during most of this ride, which was a good overall compromise. I nailed the balance for my thumbs and fingers. I elected to wear slightly lighter mitts with fleece liners with 2 'Hothand' warmers stuffed in the thumb and and finger areas. Voila!!!!! As for my feet, that's still a ongoing process. I wear winter thermal boots with a neoprene boot cover and a 'full sole' 'HotShot' insert. This worked most of the day but by night fall the toes were toast, not as in warm but as, "Help we are cold!". I could have stopped and replaced the 'Hotshot' insole or a possible alternative would have been to inset both the full sole heat pad and toe warmers. The latter have a longer life cycle.
Some ride highlights...On Camp River Rd. I encountered a two horse team and wagon, big horses. One often encounters horses sharing the local trails around Chilliwack. They don't like surprises and can spook easily particularly when approach from the rear. Best to engage the rider(s) or the driver. Often they will stop the horse(s) or as ask the cyclist to dismount while they pass. I also enjoy seeing what human activity has changed along a familiar route. Over several rides along the same route an old farm house is demolished, then a new foundation appears and a a month later there is a new house nearing lock up...neat!
There were a few not so nice highlights. I came a cats whisker from being HIT at the RRX going west into Rosedale. I was aware of a car well back behind me. To get a better angle crossing the track I had moved from the still snow covered shoulder more into the driving lane and had slowed to cross the tracks at a safer speed. I was angling across the track back towards the shoulder when FLASH!!!! The ^&*#(^^&)# was passing me on the inside...Holly Sh...! The car was an older model Lincoln Continental ( a land yacht). The devil in me was hoping he had stopped at the Rosedale Market or Post office ( I looked). If he had it could have become UGLY!!!!! I had another close encounter as I was making a left turn from Watson Rd. onto Garrison Cres. not far from the control at Karen's home. This is a major turn on a designated bike route in Chilliwack. I had moved into the left turn position , clearly signalling my intention to turn when a driver in a white X-Cross Subaru crossed the yellow line into the oncoming traffic lane and blew past me, it's hard to finger someone with mitts on. Finally there is one section of this route I really don't like at the best of times, it's Chilliwack Central and this was during the worst of times. It is badly broken up with nasty potholes and riding it in the dark, during rush hour into a very strong headwind at near 0 C is not my idea of cycling Nirvana.
All in all, it still beats staring at the TV because its cold outside.
The best to you all this festive Season....stay safe out there.
P.S. V.I Hell Week here I come!