Posted by: Jennifer Sage | April 20, 2009

The wimp factor continues to fall…

I leave for Italy for the Giretto in 2-1/2 weeks, and I still have not ridden my first century! In fact, Mother Nature hasn’t been very cooperative when it comes to riding outside – mid-week has been sunny and warm (when I have to work!) and weekends when I have time, the clouds and cold has moved in.

Saturday forecast: snow, rain, 30’s and 40’s. But this is supposed to be my big ride day! Driving east to Denver/Boulder wasn’t an option – they got more snow than the high mountains did (up to 30″). I pondered going west where it is usually much warmer, but Grand Junction is still a 2-1/2 hr drive one way. It’s not as if I didn’t have other important things to do.

So I once again committed (begrudgingly) to an indoor ride on my Spin bike in my basement, and waited until late afternoon to begin. As I drove to the movie store to get something to help the time pass, the air felt somewhat “warm” (a relative term) and blue skies had peeked out. “Hmmmm, I wonder. Could I ride outside?”

I turned around (er, after my Starbucks stop) and zipped home and pulled out my bike. If I was gonna go for it – it had to be now. It was 4:30 and about 47 degrees. I have to say, for this ride I am even more proud of myself as I think it dropped me down the wimp scale a few more notches.

After warming up for 5 miles, I climbed about 4 miles to the top of Beaver Creek, feeling pretty good. But oh was that descent chilly! At the bottom I continued east, into Minturn. An icy blast hit me in the face up the shaded canyon to the small mining town, but once on the far side, the sun was shining full force. Battle Mountain pass is a 4-mile climb on the south side, and feeling strong, I decided to at least start up the climb. After a mile, I changed my mind and turned around – bracing for the cold descent.

By the time I got to the north side of Minturn on the way back, black clouds had rolled back in. Weather changes very quickly up here in the high Rockies! I now had headwinds on the way back, but decided to amp up the pace in order to beat those clouds, raising my intensity to threshold. I was breathing hard, but the legs were working great. I have to say, I felt awesome, and it felt awesome to feel awesome on the bike! (Hey, this training indoors IS working)! It probably helped that I had an energetic song* on my iPod (one ear only while on roads, I promise!), which helped me inject more power to the pedals.

Then the rain started. The temperature was probably 41-ish at this point (not counting my own wind-chill), but except for my icy bootie-clad feet and my face, I remained pretty warm. The rain stayed fairly subdued thank goodness – it splattered off my windbreaker, but never soaked me. Twenty-five minutes later I pulled into my garage (thermometer in the shade said 38). If my frozen cheeks had allowed my mouth to smile, I would have been beaming ear to ear!

2 hrs 8 minutes. I had gotten my computer to work, but I’m not convinced it’s accurate because at times it seemed to stand still. It indicated about 32 miles. (Or maybe it’s right and I just wish it were more!)

Even after a long hot shower, my toes took about 30-minutes to thaw, but I have to say, if it weren’t for my wonderful Cannondale gloves with the windstop mitten covers I spoke about in my last post, this ride would have been virtually impossible for me. I thought about putting them on a little shrine and lighting some incense….

…but that would have been weird.


Totals for the week: 10.5 hours riding time (mostly indoors, mostly Z2-3). 2 days @ sustained LT 20-30 minutes (Z4, 5a). 1 day intervals to Z5b. 1 hr weights/core.


* Stella (Nalin & Kane Mix), by Jam and Spoon (DJ Dave Ralph). A 13 1/2 minute song that keeps your body moving!



  1. In that weather, there’s not much you can do outside. Forcing yourself to go outside, just in order to have a bad ride (or possibly detrimental…catching cold, falling), doesn’t make sense. Train hard inside, and you’ll be fine. Not like you won’t know what to do when you do touch actual Italian pavement.

    • Thanks Jamie. It could have turned out either way – like last week, it got warmer aand sunnier as the day wore on. The roads were dry to start – and that’s important. I wouldn’t start in the rain/ice! I guess I just wanted to know that I COULD do it if I had to. You’re right, I’ll know what to do in Italy, but we do run the risk of some col temps in the Dolomites. At least I should have access to the van to add on layers for a descent or give them up before the climbs (we hope…). But today is sunny and warm…hoping to get out for a long one!

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