Start time: 6:55am
Temperature: 31 degrees (count 'em)
Miles: 61.6 miles
Conditions: Windy. A very cruel wind.
Lowlight: My 8 minute attempt to eat an entire package of Skratch gummies.
And so this is Christmas,
And it wasn't much fun,
Tried to do 70,
That's the low-quality song writing you get after 3.5 hours of crosswinds, folks. It's ugly, it's embarrassing, and it doesn't reflect well on any of us. It was a mind-numbing morning on the traditional Northport ride, the third year I've done it. All the roads in the town were skating rinks, but once out on M-22, I put the hammer down and roared up to..16.5mph. You know when you try to push a door that says "Pull", but you're dumb and don't read? And you push it a few more times, make a surprised face and question everything? I did that for 60 miles today. Tired from yesterday, sure, of course, I get it, but man, I felt like I was putting out 240 watts to hardly sniff 17mph.
The wind was almost perfectly out of the east, and there wasn't an easy pedal stroke or light mile the whole way there or back. I slumped along, entertained by the Christmas lights along the road and tried to enjoy it as much as possible, but that was pretty tough today. The miles clicked by slowly, although going through Suttons Bay as the sun came up was charming. I also really like Omena, which could be my back-up plan if my long promised coup to take over Elk Rapids, er, I mean be mayor of Elk Rapids, falls through.
The last hour heading back to TC, the wheels were coming off, and I struggled for 8 minutes to eat a bag of Skratch chews. It seems ridiculous, but that's one of the hardest and most frustrating thing about this challenge. Simple tasks that you wouldn't thing twice about in summer become monumental tasks. Try wrestling your water bottle out of the cage with gigantic winter gloves on. Try grabbing your phone to change the playlist, or take a picture, or then get it back into your pocket after. Riding one handed over ice and frozen bits of wind-swept snow drifts is taxing, when it wouldn't be anything to worry about if it was over 46 degrees.
No second ride today, instead, we're going to watch Home Alone and jeez I hope we get a hold of some sugar cookies because I'm both proud of how few I've eaten, and also morbidly upset on how few I've eaten this holiday season. You only regret the cookies you didn't eat, except that you also regret an awful lot of the cookies you eat in a sweaty, glutinous attack on the dessert table.
So, we're at 160 miles with 150 miles to go and six days to do it. Winter is coming back, and I'd like to get some miles in. The weather looks really warm, but rain much of the day and 20mph winds. Hoping I can recruit a wheel or two to make it a little easier. Or, maybe I'll sleep in and ride Zwift and move on with my life. Who knows?!?!
December 26. Ride Quatro.
Start time: 6:57am
Temperature: 37 degrees, 14mph wind out of the SW, raining in all directions.
Miles: 29.7 miles
Highlight: Showering afterwards
Lowlight: That first sensation of water coming through my boots.
I did not want to go this morning. 37 degrees, a steady downpour for the first 50 minutes, and I am feeling the miles from the first two days. I was originally were planning on doing a ride to Northport again, taking full advantage of the tailwind, but I busted in to work to help Dan open and make sure we were good to go until Lowetz showed up.
I did the southern part of Old Mission, 29 miles in the dark and rain, riding south on Peninsula in a full aerotuck and still struggling to hold 17mph on some very tired pins. I felt way better after an hour than I did just getting out the door, and with 120 miles to go, I am glad I got something in. Again, these might be tough miles, but they're still more efficient than fat biking at 10mph.
It was a nice Christmas, one that went a little later than I planned. I got a grand total of five shirts, sweatshirts or scarves, which I'm deciding to take as a sign that people really, really want me to keep my upper body covered. Which I'm fine with.
The morning was a bit more hectic because I had to go walk my brother's dog, Disco Volante. Disco is the most friendly dog in the world, I'm told, although I seem to be the only person he hates. Vehemently. However, last night and this morning, with no alternative and no owners to impress, he was docile and calm. I think he was pretending not to know me, and I'm sure that the next time I go over there, he'll strike with blood-red eyes and fangs as long as your finger, searching out my jugular.
Today's game plan is to bust out on a half day and get in 20-30 more miles, as I'd like to have under 100 with 5 days to go, so I don't have to fat bike 2+ hours a day to get done on time. I would also like to have time to get to GT Pie Co., have a sugar cookie and some coffee by the fireside before all the Christmas decorations are down. It's the simple pleasures, people.
December 26. Ride Cinco.