Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Conflicting Thoughts...?

Captain Obvious here with this startling observation; “Fall is imminent.” 

With its impending arrival, I understand firsthand what the fauna and flora must experience.  There has definitely been a different feel to the commutes lately. If I were one of those crazed squirrels, I too would be frantically gathering nuts.  Instead though, I find myself mentally going through my checklist of seasonal clothing.

There are parts of me that are thrilled with the prospects of donning layers of cozy wool and taking on the cooler temperatures.  When these moments of excitement hit, I’m anxious to get out and ride.  This enthusiasm has carried through each morning for the last several weeks.  Amazingly, I’ve been getting up on time with the anticipation of getting out the door into the darkness of pre-dawn rides.  I love riding in the dark; the kid with a new flashlight syndrome. Furthermore, I actually find myself fantasizing and looking forward to the days of getting to ride through snow. 

More rational thoughts strike me now and then too.  Most frequently in that moment either right before heading out the door or just after having rolled down the driveway.  Morning temperatures have been chilly.  One of the secrets of surviving “comfortably” has been learning what clothing works for what temperature.

The most difficult lesson in understanding just what qualifies for “comfort” is that in order to be really comfortable, one must start off uncomfortably cold.   There’s no starting the car to warm up before getting in and heading off on the way.  It takes the first mile or so for the body to come up to temperature. 

This is the moment of being conflicted.  Excitement about getting to ride, but knowing it is going to be cold and temporarily unpleasant.

Last year’s careful record keeping of temperature, clothing choice, and comfort level has paid off. (See the link in the left column for the Clothing Matrix)  The days of experimenting with different options has provided the valuable knowledge of what I will be comfortable in for clothing.  This is great information to know, without it, I could easily see getting frustrated and not riding.

The versatility of wool is wonderful in its flexibility.  One thin layer can serve both as a base layer in the morning under another layer of wool or be equally comfortable in the afternoon on its own.  The variability of temperatures from day to day, morning to afternoon means packing an extra layer of clothes in a pannier.

 Once under way and over the initial period of discomfort, the riding has been fantastic.  Mornings have meant; thrills of riding in darkness, occasional fog-filled low areas, and spectacular sunrises.  There are few greater moments than enjoying a sip of hot coffee from my handlebar mounted travel cup when the air is cool.   Afternoon rides have ranged from sunny and wonderful to cooler and cloudy.  When the sky is clear; it’s bluer than blue.  Each ride continues to prove to be enjoyable in some aspect and I will continue to focus on those points.


Doug said...

September is my favorite month of the year for riding. I love the cool mornings, the 30 degree swing in temps by the afternoon commute and the still warm sunshine.

rigtenzin said...

I started a blog for my clothing choices and temperatures, but discontinued it. But I still think it's a good idea for someone who can stick with the recording of information.

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