Today I rode outside.
It was really fucking miserable outside.
The start of the ride was okay. It was raw, yes, but it wasn't so bad. I had on wool socks. I figured I'd be okay.
An hour into my ride the skies opened and it started to pour. Ten minutes later sleet began hammering against my helmet. Ten minutes later I began to fantasize about getting windshield wipers for my sunglasses. The icy rain drove against me. It. sucked.
Soon my wool socks weighed about 500 pounds. My hands (in cotton gloves, yes cotton) were frozen and I couldn't shift. I rode in one gear for the final 10 miles of the ride. That was fun.
I didn't exactly feel sorry for myself. Honestly I just felt like an idiot. I could've completed the ride on the trainer, but I didn't because I felt so sick of the trainer that I thought (stupidly) that anything would beat it. I spent the remaining time of the ride contemplating how I must certainly be the only one dumb enough to be out on a day like today. I did see a few runners out, but nary a cyclist. Of course I didn't see a cyclist. Only someone who is borderline insane, like me, would ride in this.
By the time I got home I was so cold I could not remove my clothing. Andy had to pull it off me before I got in the shower. Fortunately he remembered how to do this. When I got in the warm shower my hands and feet started to throb. Thawing hurt. It hurt very very much.
But finally I did thaw. Then I toweled off, dressed and went to log into Training Peaks to admit what a fool I had been to ride outside.
Minutes after I logged in to report the workout Kurt emailed back to say that he had been riding in the rain, too.
Really? In that cold rain?
And he had been out there longer than me.
And he was talking like it was no. big. deal.
Then Ange emailed to say she had just experienced the worst ride ever... that she couldn't even undress herself she was so cold upon finishing it. It was driving snow the whole time.... she could barely make it home. But unlike me she had STILL gone on her transition run whereas I had selected to strip and get in a hot shower.
AND then, a little while later, I learned that my friend Mike had been out riding too, along Sebago Lake in the driving snow.
Wow. I'm definitely not the only insane one.
I didn't think I was a bad ass, really. I just thought I was crazy for even thinking of riding in that kind of weather. (Of course I am just coming off a case of hypothermia, but still.) But the truth is most of my friends are as crazy as I am. They really are. In fact, they are sometimes more crazy than me.
And I guess that's the rub, isn't it? You don't get good in this sport by deciding it's too wet and cold, that getting in the ride outside is not worth the risk of dying from hypothermia. You get good by training insane amounts in sometimes insane conditions. If I was the only one crazy enough to ride in shit weather like today, then I would probably be winning race after race. But I'm not. I'm not because Kurt, and Ange, and Mike....
are out there training in that shit, too.