Just one more layer… one more layer.

Leaves begin to change color along the Swift River in the White Mountain National Forest in Albany, N.H., Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008.(AP Photo/Jim Cole)So it’s looking a lot like this (an AP photo by Jim Cole) around here these days. The days are bright with autumn sunshine, the air is crisp and clean. I can’t say enough about this time of year… except when I get up to ride at 5:30am. This morning it was 32 degrees F… also known as freezing. And a bit breezy. The problem is that after a few hours it can be significantly warmer out, and you need to figure the layers and compressibility, so that you might be able to shed something later, and stick in a pocket.

This morning I guessed wrong. And I payed the price. We had a nice route going, where there is this nice steady climb. Especially this time of year, it kicks my butt. But that’s what I’m out there for, so that was fine. Sure, Gerry felt the need to inquire of my plans for succession at the top of a long climb, but fear not. I’ve been there before, just not quite under dressed for the weather like today.

nov_2_gerry_route.pngThe kicker is when I dress too lightly and then climb, it costs me. First, I’m cold starting the climb. I feel weak and small. Then I warm up, and start to sweat. All fine until you reach the usually joyful downhill. Now it’s just freezes that sweat to your body, and makes you feel exceptionally cold. In more serious weather it’s a great way to get hypothermic. Today, it was just annoying, but made me cut my intended ride short. I did find a balance again when we took a short break and I stood in the sun for a few minutes. The rest, the sun, and then a nice pace brought me back to comfortable enough, but the ride had been long enough and uncomfortable enough that I didn’t feel like continuing. 24 uncomfortable miles. Here’s the thing. Despite all the whining and all about my screwing up a ride, it was a glorious fall day for ride. The light is amazing, the leaves are spectacular, the neighborhoods we ride through are well kept and quaint. The folks I ride with all the time always have interesting topics and trivia to discuss, and never seem to have an agenda about well, just about anything on the rides. Just one more layer… one more layer.

(Two other mistakes I made today… thinking it would be warmer since it was “an hour later”, and “I should be wide awake” since it was “an hour later”. Not so much on either count.)