Life is always easier if you're in the right gear.

Winter Riding

The weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was a beautiful weekend. Perfect for riding in Southern Oregon. Well, almost perfect. The temps were in the mid-30’s, and on Monday, the weather reached a balmy 43 degrees. Clear, blue skies, sunny. Cold. Just the kind of weather to ride in if you have the appropriate gear, and I do.

My son, on the other hand is not a cold weather rider and we learned this last Monday.

Even though he has the gear, he doesn’t have much fat on his body and he chills pretty easily. On top of that, his diet, of late, has consisted of more soda pop and junk snack food than I’d like to shake a stick at. I’m also afraid, that though he had a wonderful sandwich before the ride, having nothing along on the ride was also disastrous. He is, after all, 17 and needs the carbs. He struggled. Normally, he is yards ahead of me, having to stop and wait. This weekend, that order was reversed and we had to stop numerous times to wait for him to catch up, and then to warm up. By the last three miles, he was flat out miserable. I think we both decided that he’ll wait until it warms up more to ride with me.

I was fortunate enough to have a friend riding with us. Had he not offered to come along, I might not have ridden at all. I’m certain I would have ridden a much shorter distance than the 21.84 miles I actually managed. The sad news: it took three hours! On a bad day, that ride should have only taken us two hours, even with stops. It was a little embarrassing.

Selfishly, though, it was a gorgeous day and I felt great on the bike. I felt a little cool at first, but quickly warmed up and my base layer did a perfect job of keeping me dry. I’d packed along a little windbreaker jacket in case I got too cold, but I didn’t even need it, even when we went over Jacksonville Hill and hit patches of snow and ice. Were it not for the fact that the sun was setting, I could have ridden further. Not bad for an old lady who hasn’t really worked out much in a couple of months.

I’m just really sorry my son wasn’t feeling it, and that we prevented my friend from riding at a more productive pace. I still say that even a bad day on the bike is a great day.

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Hi, I'm Cat A.Olson, @According2Cat on Twitter, or @TheDigitalCat on Instagram, and I write about my cycling adventures. In 2010, after 25 years off the bike, I decided to get a bike and start riding again. In 2012, I was diagnosed with DCIS, an early and completely curable form of breast cancer. I had five weeks of radiation treatment and I rode my bike to nearly every treatment. In 2013, I decided to get a faster bike. I'm finally getting serious about losing weight, and riding really fast with the cool kids.

I ride every chance I get, as fast as I can, for as long as my body will allow. I'm learning how to embrace challenges like helmet hair, padded pants, clipless shoes, flat tires, bugs in my teeth, and...ugh...hills. I'm learning that both cycling and life are easier and a lot more fun when you're in the right gear.

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