Sunday, December 27, 2009

Baby it’s cold outside! Fish Lake Trail Dec. 27, 2009

Twenty-nine miles doesn’t quite qualify as “epic” but given the bitter temperature today’s ride on the Fish Lake Trail merits some kind of adjective treatment. “Freakin’ cold” comes to mind.

My sweet husband Eric Abbott (who blogs over here about his road bike racing and training) went for a 40-mile ride yesterday with his buddies from Spokane Rocket Velo. They used the new segment of Fish Lake Trail for part of the ride, and when he came back he reported that it was a really nice ride.
Since he has inspired me to train for racing too (it’s a “mixed marriage,” as I’ll be riding with the women of competing club Baddlands), we set out today for a zone 2 ride for me (specific target heart rate) and a zone 1 (recovery) for him.
We took off from the new trailhead on W. Sunset Highway just off Lindeke (behind a little quick-stop place). It was 1:30pm and the sun was shining. This should be great!

It was, but it was not a ride for the underdressed. Fortunately we had layered up since we had Eric’s experience from the day before as a guide. I’ll share in case you’re heading out for a two-hour ride during which you will sweat, the sun will start to go down, you'll face a light headwind for part of your return, and the temperature will drop from around 30 to something below that….
I was wearing a tank top, arm warmers, base layer, fleece long-sleeved top, fleece vest, and light cycling jacket (for the pockets) on top; bike shorts with leg warmers and thin fleecy running tights over those; wool socks, commuter biking shoes, full shoe covers designed mostly to keep out moisture and toe caps over those as extra wind block; earmuffs and thin cycling hat under my helmet, which has a wind cover; lobster-claw gloves; a face mask made for skiing; and sunglasses.
What I wish I had worn: one more layer on the bottom, maybe my wind-blocking North Face pants from Mountain Gear; a warmer hat because the earmuff pressure/hat hem interaction hurt after a while and I had to take the earmuffs off; full-on insulated booties of some kind over my shoes; and a better wicking layer next to my skin (turned out the tanktop was 100% cotton, and we all know cotton kills). My hands were fine—love those lobster-claw gloves! I should have taken along clear glasses for when the light dropped, since I still needed the windblock effect of wearing glasses.
The route is great, and there were quite a few people out enjoying it on foot, bike and skate. A couple of things it might be handy to know:

  • Heavy-duty railroad crossing at Scribner about 7 miles out from the Government Way trailhead (watch out for those big bolts in the road). It sits at the bottom of a quick climb up to Cheney-Spokane Road, which you have to take for part of the route. Coming back down I really had to stand on my brakes so I didn’t hit the railroad crossing unprepared at a bad angle.
  • Two road crossings (one at Scribner) involving gravel, sometimes heavy—got through okay with our skinny road tires.
  • One long climb on Cheney-Spokane Road (no matter which direction you’re going—this seems unfair).
  • Handy-dandy Fish Lake and Cheney (Mullenix Road) trailheads for water refill and biology breaks, complete with hand sanitizer (which is really cold as it dries….).
We turned around at the Cheney trailhead and headed back. There were plenty of icy patches along the route, and some glittery-diamond stretches that were pretty but slippery. Strange swooping tread marks that laced across the ice proved to be the marks of an inline skater.
We raced a small bird along one stretch—it stayed just ahead, swooping low over the little creek that runs along either side of the trail for a distance—and spotted a pretty bird that may have been a belted kingfisher (but we’re not birders). Passed two trains heading opposite our direction, which made us think about the railroad legacy that left us the opportunity for such a great trail. Upon our return to the car we realized that the remnants of Gatorade mix in our water bottles had started turning into a slushy.
Did I mention it was really freakin’ cold?

1 comment:

Not said...

My strategy for biking warmth is to stay fat. It takes an extra 1,000 calories a day, but it works well - I wore three thin layers on top all weekend.
- Ventura