It’s not nice for Mother Nature to fool with us

8 05 2011

It’s almost the middle of May, and here’s what I shouldn’t be doing anymore:

• wearing five layers

• wearing bib knickers and wishing I’d worn full tights

• wearing arm warmers and wondering why I didn’t just wear a full jacket

• wearing a bandana and wishing I’d worn ear warmers

• wearing full-finger gloves

• seeing my breath at a traffic stop

• thinking about a hot shower all the way home because I’m so chilled

So far this had been the spring that isn’t. Instead it’s freakin’ cold, as if we’d never flipped the calendar past February.

Today’s weather forecast, as of 8 a.m. this morning, promised increasing sunshine and temperatures. Neither happened.

Instead the sky stayed gunmetal grey and the thermometer in my Garmin barely pipped much past 10C. Someone please remind Mother Nature that this is May, usually a month for terrific weather in these parts.

As this was my first Sunday unencumbered by road hockey in eight months, I was determined to spend it on a big ride, the first 100k of the season. That’s earlier than last year, when I didn’t have such a ride until June, but much later than two seasons ago when I accomplished a metric century in March.

The first 100k ride of the year is always a nice milestone; it’s a test of early-season fitness and a bit of a touchstone when the riding starts to get more serious. Today’s ride would also be new territory for the Lapierre and the comfort of its new Fizik Arione CX saddle.

That's more like a February sky!

The latter two performed outstandingly. Me, not so much.

Actually, the outbound leg was awesome. My legs and aspirations were strong. So much so, at my halfway Larabar break, I considered really airing it out to Horseshoe Bay, tacking on another 30 kms to the day’s mileage.

Fortunately, my head overruled my legs, and after I finished my snack, I pointed the Lapierre towards home, doubling back over the same route. But the cold was starting to exact a toll. After a stop at a bakery for lunch, my legs felt like lead, and the chill was reaching into my core.

Needless to say, the last 30km weren’t a lot of fun. Traversing the Canada Line bridge, a powerful stitch stabbed my abdomen. My thighs cramped. I started pedaling squares. I felt like Sebastian Lang at the end of his 220 km solo break in Sunday’s second stage of the Giro d’Italia; let’s just get this over with.

But when I got home, there were two nice surprises awaiting; a cheerful phone message from Katie that her 32 km run had gone great, and a Garmin report that looked more like mid-season form than a cramped-up round trip on a cold, monochrome day.

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