It is not often that one can be a part of history. Even though I am one of countless millions participating in a historical snow storm, I am still part of history. Right??? I decided that I would further establish my place in history by riding my 29er at the battlefield in the snow. Let it be marked in the annals of history that at exactly 2:48 P.M. I was the only person to ride his mountain bike during a historical snow storm on the battlefield. Who knows, years from now I could join the ranks of such people as Lewis and Clark, John Colter, and that guy that did that amazing thing that one time. Children throughout the world may be learning about my exploits.
I used to ride all winter in Montana. I studded my tires with sheet metal screws and I wore jeans or shorts. I was tough and concerned about what people thought of me. I was anti-spandex/lycra and apparently had a rock hard tail bone and butt since I never wore padded shorts. I was all about riding, I did not concern myself with fashion (unless it involved spandex); instead of high speed technical riding gear I wore baggy shorts and wife beater tank tops in the summer.
It is funny how life changes. Take the picture below. Please note the backdrop says 1990. Also note that I am thin and have hair.
Emily and I are still standing next to each other; the four others have been replaced by four children. I have changed; I have lost the hair on top of my head. The good thing is that the geek remains. Even though I have hardened over the years, I have softened too. I now buy studded tires and padded shorts and riding has become more complicated as well.
I love bikes for their simplicity, so how has bicycling become more complex. Here it is, I am weak and somewhat concerned with apparel. The other day I wanted to ride in a snow storm (that hasn’t changed). The snow was beautiful, coming down in large flakes, reminiscent of when I was young and not concerned with the weather. Unlike the 19 year old with hair and a rock hard butt who just wanted to ride, I found myself sitting at the battlefield with no shoes. For those who are not familiar with the amazing world of bicycles, I buy pedals that require special shoes and cleats, much like a binding on a ski needs a boot. So I went back to work instead of riding with combat boots.
The next day I was determined to ride in the snow. Even though the large flakes were gone, there was still plenty on the ground. It was really wet so I went to change into my fleecy and windproof/waterproof tights (that I would have never been caught dead in when I was tough). One would think that a $125 windproof/waterproof tights would have some padding in the butt, but alas cycling has become complicated and it is necessary to wear a pair of padded shorts underneath. There I was with no padded shorts. Adamant that I was still capable of riding I left headed to the battlefield with no derriere support.
A couple of observations:
1. Summer riding shoes with lots of ventilation for the hot weather are surprisingly cold in the winter. Who would have thought that lots of mesh would allow a ton of slightly above freezing water/slush to saturate my socks?
2. Small seat with no padding in the cold equals frozen wedgies.
3. When the guy at the LBS (local bike shop) asks if you want wind resistant and waterproof gloves, say yes.
At the end of a 1 ½ hour ride, I was so cold and covered with slush/mud/snow/water that I quickly left without stretching. I don’t remember ever stretching after a ride. I do not ever remember a sore hamstring for three days either.