I pulled my bicycle out of the shed this afternoon to go for what might be the last ride of 2004. The temperature was slightly above freezing, and winds were very light from the NE. It had been maybe two weeks since I was last out, and that was on the railbed up to Lewiporte Junction and back. Those gentler climbs are better for me with my asthma than what you face on the roads, especially when it is cooler. I like heading into any wind on the way out so that it is at my back on the return trip. That is why I chose to head towards Little Burnt Bay.
I had dressed in similar clothing to what I would wear cross-country skiing. It is always a challenge deciding what to put on when faced with a high output activity requiring nothing too bulky, while keeping warm. By the time I got to Byron's house I was already cold and tired, so I stopped in for a quick visit. The hot coffee was just what I needed. Before leaving I switched from fingerless sailing gloves to cotton glove. A hat was in my pocket, just in case.
The bike, a Schwinn Santa Monica comfort style, needs to be tuned up again. The back brakes barely slow me down, and the shifters are not changing gears properly. It could use some oil and tightening here and there as well. Lots of things I could do myself, if I only had a place to work. I suppose I'll get a shed/garage someday. For an inexpensive bicycle (under $300), it has served me well though. It has been used for 5 adventure races so far, and all the training and recreational trips in between over the past 15 or so months I've had it.
I try to keep my speed above 15kph, but was barely able to stay above 10 going up the hill past the mussel bed turn. That's the steepest part of this road, and I'm happy to always make it to the top without having to get off and walk. While going through Embree the chimney smoke from all the wood furnace fires was almost enough to choke me. There wasn't enough wind to make a difference as it hung close to the ground. At times I had to hold my breath until I made it through a particularly bad spot.
It didn't look like I would make it all the way to Little Burnt Bay. I didn't want to overdo it, and had planned to be home by 4:00 anyway. The evenings get dark rather early, and will continue to get shorter for another 5 weeks. Since Colin lived at the end of Embree, I thought I would go that far and visit with him, but seeing his car at the church, I decided to carry on to Foxes Dock, the place from which we launched many a kayaking trip over the past season. I paused their briefly to look out over the water and take a few sips of Gatorade.
Riding home was slightly warmer with the hills not so steep. I finished the little over 26km in 1 hour and 18 minutes (20kph average), and put the bike back in the shed until the next opportunity. Monday we are expecting up to 10cm of snow.