Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Despite not really having anything resembling winter just yet, I spent this past weekend in Panama City Beach, FL. My mom and dad are spending their third winter down there, and I made the trip down to spend some quality time with them, and the sun.

We had a great visit. Lots of walking, catching up, and lots of sun. The weather was MUCH more pleasant than when I was there last year (shorts and bare feet were possible all but the first day). And, I somehow managed to miss the coldest weekend we've had so far (I did, however, time my arrival back in Boston with a blizzard. The drive from Logan to home was a white-knuckle affair with nary a plow nor salt/sand truck in sight!).

In case you are suffering from some winter doldrums, here are a few pics from the trip.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Making Lemonade

Excited to be out riding
Usually in January we have a decent snow cover in place, temps are frigid, and any time on the bike is in the basement. This year is a bit odd (but not unheard of - we had similar weather in January 2007), and we don't yet have any snow, everything is dry, and temps have fluctuated wildly - Tuesday night got down into the low teens, and today saw temps in the low sixties. Crazy.

With no snow (and a new snow blower, new skate skis, new snow boots, season passes to Weston...) there's nothing else for us to do but ride our bikes. Many years, at this time of the year, I am wiped out from riding/racing and need a break. That is still the case this year (I really could use a break and do wish it would snow), but I'm embracing what we have, and ENJOYING the time on the bike - making lemonade and having [gasp] fun.

Merry Christmas!
Over the Christmas break, Mike and I rode every day but two. We enjoyed our annual Christmas Day MTB ride - exploring conservation trails in Bedford, trails behind Middlesex Community College and then into the PR. We rode in the frigid cold on the road for two days, enjoyed short rides in the woods, and rang in the New Year with some new faces. 

Where's the snow?
This past week, we continued the rides. Tuesday morning, it seemed like a terrific idea to me to invite my trusty riding partner, Teri, for an after work jaunt in the woods. Nothing unusual about that - except that the temperature when we rolled out from the house was a frigid 17.8 F! Let me be clear - IT. WAS. COLD. Since we are both too stubborn (stupid?), we bundled up like the Michelin man, put on the lights and headed into the woods. Getting to the trail head requires a bit of pavement time, and with the added windchill, I actually believed we may not be able to get through our intended route.

I have the opposite problem of many people - my hands are typically too warm, and I need to wear thinner gloves than most. That night, however, my fingers were frozen within 10 minutes - to the point of not being able to feel the brake levers! And the CamelBak I filled with water before leaving? Yeah - the hose on that sucker froze before hitting the trail head.

We stopped briefly in the woods to try and get some circulation in the hands, which helped. In the end, we managed to finish our intended loop and had an awesome night of riding, without turning into ice cubes. On returning to the house, the temp had dropped a couple of degrees, and was sitting at 15.1. Definitely the coldest ride so far this year (season). Likely to be a few more.

An awesome ride with T&S
 So, bragging rights for the coldest ride of the year. Today, though,  was a different story - Teri, Serene and I set out to do the big loop on the MTBs under bright sunshine and with starting temps already in the upper 40s.  It only got warmer through our ride - when I got home, the thermometer said 59, and it had already begun to cool down!

Here Llama, llama, llama...
I was over-joyed to be out today - enjoying the unseasonable weather, the perfect trail conditions, the company of friends - the zen of being on the bike. The euphoria was overwhelming at times - I felt like I could ride forever. After almost 3.5 hours (and over 32 miles) it was time to end what for me was a perfect day. If we can't have snow, I sure do hope we can have a few more of these!

So, what do you do when life gives you lemons?