Tired Of Bad Weather

This photograph pretty much sums up Saturday's ride.

About halfway through my short ride on Saturday (December 1), I suddenly realized that I had managed to complete one of the goals I had set out for myself when I first started this blog, back in February -- to ride in every month of the year.

I will take some pride in that accomplishment, since my other main goal for 2007 -- riding 3,000 kilometers -- will not be realized. I had some bad luck with illness this year, which kept me off the bike for quite a few weeks, and I also managed to take a few vacations that involved more swimming and sunbathing and eating and drinking than cycling and sweating. But who's complaining?

OK, me. I'll complain about the Prague weather, again.

Because it gets dark at 4 p.m. nowadays, my riding is now confined to the weekend, when I'm not working. So I was looking forward to heading out on Saturday, for the exercise, as well as to give my new cold-weather biking gear a tryout. I'd ordered it from Bike Nashbar, and it finally arrived last week.

I felt like I was suiting up to go deep-sea diving.

I was wearing my padded cycle shorts; some thermal long-legged biking tights over top; my new Terramar Activeweight Crew Neck Base Layer Top, "constructed from ribbed 100% polyester EC2 fabric"; my new Illuminite Switchback Invertor Jacket, "crafted from breathable MicroWeave fabric with a Teflon HT coating"; my new Nashbar Sweatvac Headband; my new Louis Garneau Magma lobster-claw gloves; and my new Pearl Izumi AmFIB Shoe Covers.

Three problems.

1. It turns out that it really wasn't that cold out -- around 7 Celsius, or 45 Fahrenheit, so I was probably a bit overdressed for conditions.

2. The weather was, in a word, disgusting. Low, dirty clouds, damp, dark, a little windy, muddy and wet with spitting rain. Even in the middle of the day, there was barely enough daylight to read a newspaper by.

3. I had a splitting headache from drinking the night before, which became like a drum of death inside my head every time I attempted even the mildest climb and my heart would begin to beat a little faster.

All in all, it wasn't the most pleasant ride of 2007.

But who's complaining?

I headed out from my home in Černý Vůl, to Statenice, up the big, long climb to Lichoceves, to Okoř (where else?), up a smaller climb that leads to Noutonice, and from there to Velké Přílepy, then on to Úholičky, up another decent climb to the highway that leads to Roztoky, and from there turning right onto the road that heads steeply down (hurrah!) into Únětice, and back home.

(You can find a detailed map of my route by clicking here. You can click on the "View in Google Earth" button to import it the map for a very cool 3-D flyover.)

I must admit that, despite my assertion that every ride in Prague is invariably filled with interesting sights and sounds and smells, this particular ride was an exception. Sure, I got to gaze once again at the dramatic remains of ancient Okor castle, which never gets old. Admittedly, however, I've seen the ruins now dozens of times, and written about them almost as many times on this blog, so they don't really count.

It was one of those rides where what sticks in my mind is mostly the mud and trash and tires I either rode through or rode past. (I did listen to the new album by Maximo Park, "Earthly Pleasures," on my iPod. It's great.)

As for my clothes, I can say that I was definitely comfortable on this ride, although my base layer was kinda itchy, and when I got home, it was covered in large, dark patches of sweat, as if I'd been wearing cotton. I guess I thought it would be dry, what with all the wicking that's supposedly to be going on. And my jacket was also damp inside, though it, too, is supposed to breathe.

My gloves were great, though -- too warm, really, for such a mild day.

And my shoe covers also kept my toes cozy, although it took a Herculean effort to wedge my size 14 sneakers into them, despite having ordered the XXL (the biggest they have). My heel sticks out the back, and they won't zip up properly, but they're as good a fit as I'm ever going to find, I'm afraid.

My base layer is also pretty tight (it's also an XXL), and an Endura Vapour Long-Sleeve Jersey ("made of 100% polyester with amazing wicking capability for increased comfort on long rides") that I also ordered but which I didn't wear on Saturday is also a snug fit in an XXL.

Sure, I'm a big guy, but I'm not a freak, and I'm in decent shape. How do us tall men find biking clothes that will fit us?

I guess I should be glad just to have gotten out at all, since I wasn't able to today (which of course began with blue skies and sunshine). I just know that Prague is capable of so much more.

Length of ride: 21 kilometers
Average speed: 15.3 kph
Maximum speed: 43.9 kph
Distance ridden so far in 2007: 1,817.5 kilometers

The ruins of Okoř castle silhouetted against the dirty sky.

I really like these massive stones set into a wall on a building on the grounds of Okoř castle.


Anonymous said…
Oh, I hadn't read this one while we were in Prague; otherwise I would have suggested we go somewhere else! I didn't realize you had just been to Okor two days earlier! But we loved our ride and we are grateful that you showed us the way.

You might like leg warmers, which Ulandt wore on our ride. They have zippers at the ankles, so you can strip them off easily if you get hot. They have gripper elastic at the top, so they grip your skin and don't slide down. I use them in 50-65oF weather; anything under that, I wear tights. They're especially good if you know you'll be stopping and cooling down in a lovely restaurant.

More soon, Pauline.

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