That would be Ashland, Virginia to the uninitiated... Or on Saturdays, its also called Bike Mecca.
Cliff and I did our routine on Saturday of showing up for the ABC ride an hour early so that we could go run 5 miles. It was 19 degrees at the house, and 21 in the parking lot as we started. 21 running really isn't that bad unless the wind is blowing really hard. Lucky for us, it was blowing about 10 mph. The run was great, 1/2 on road, 1/2 trail, it just didnt get much better.
Then back to the van to pick up J for our ride. This was when things got tough. It was probably about 25 degrees, and the wind was picking up. That's just plain miserable. The Ashland ride can pull several hundred riders on a good day, and you could tell that it was NOT a good day as there were less than 10 riders not counting us.
The first ten miles were just awful. Both J and I were having a rough time with our hands and I swear I thought the tips of my fingers were just going to fall off. At least I hoped they were as they hurt so bad. Normally I have hot hands, so I bring two pairs of gloves, the start off ones with Windstopper, and another light pair to switch into after a few miles. I never got out the light ones as my hands never really got warm. Ouch.
When we got to Ashland Coffee & Tea, the most bike friendly shop in the universe, the talk quickly got to technical gear. I'm a big believer in having the right clothes for the event. My friend Paul fell in freezing water during an ultra trail marathon he was running with us. Cliff fished him out and we were sure he was going to die as it was in the low teens. Paul had on the right gear and was dry within about a mile. Technical stuff really can save your life.
During the ride my body was fine due to a Goretex jacket. My feet were very toasty warm with my Pearl Izumi fleece lines booties. I didn't even need wool socks. I just put bike shorts over my running tights and the legs were fine. I really am going to have to find a better pair of gloves for the cold and windy days though. Good stuff costs money, but not nearly as much as the misery and cost of treating frostbite.
Its a good thing that our winters are so short. This cold stuff with wind just sucks.
For something that doesn't suck, pull up ACT's website and check out their listening room. We went and had dinner and saw Susan Greenbaum play last night. I keep waiting for her to make a breakthru and hit the big time, for the time being, you can catch her every now and again at the most bike friendly place in the Universe.