Friday, December 11, 2009

Don't your bikes have heat???

We laughed out loud. We were riding the RUSA Tar Heel 200 permanent today in crisp and chilly temperatures, and had just rushed into the convenience store in Stedman NC to thaw a little. The employee, who recognized us from past rides, shouted out this warm and welcoming greeting. Our teeth chattered as we laughed and scurried off to find the hot drinks.

A group of five randonneurs, Dean, Janis, Jerry, John, and I, started in Benson at 6:30am. We rode to the first checkpoint in Erwin together as a group, but Janis and I sent the 'fast guys' on their way after that. It was fun asking the employees at each checkpoint how long it had been since they had passed through. Of course, we didn't have to ask the employee in Stedman on our return trip. She shouted out a welcoming "Where have you been???", and told us how late we were. What a hoot.

I have bike-commuted many times in the cold, so I knew how to dress and keep moving to stay warm. But those were short rides, where I didn't need to drink or eat. Today's ride was a bit longer. I got lots of practice fumbling with water bottles while wearing lobster gloves. And opening ziplock bags with my teeth. And mushing my face into said bag to get at the PB&J sandwich inside.

But my biggest lesson-learned was about the temperature of convenience store drinks. At the first checkpoint, I thought the chocolate milk I bought was warm. Eww, this can't be good. Then, the next store's drinks were warm too. Eww, again. Finally, I realized that water bottles on the bike get a lot colder than those in a refrigerator, and I was accustomed to the colder drinks.

Everyone finished the ride intact with no problems. Janis and I even went slightly fast enough to not qualify as 'Cyclos Escargot'. And the Christmas lights on homes and the main street in Benson were beautiful. But the best part of the ride was that Dean had waited for us at the end, and took photos of our return in Benson (see photo above). Surprises like this bring the spirit of randonneuring to life...

Cross-post to Dean's report:

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