Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Moonlight and hypothermia

Yesterday Psycho Rider and I had conflicts with the regular Tuesday evening ride, so we put on the lights and headed out after dark. Last night was a full moon, and it wasn't long before we realized that the moon was bright enough that the lights were unnecessary.

The trails in Boise are mostly fragmented granite, and in the moonlight they become luminous ribbons of dirt. Just keep your front tire on the ribbon and pedal. The way the trails are worn in, your bike will almost steer itself. We were able to keep the lights off for nearly all the climb and much of the descent.

We ascended Kestral to Crestline to Trail 4 to Corrals. I was interested in riding Corrals this direction on the single to see if I could make it to the top without walking. I almost made it but got off and pushed the last 100 yards or so. I was already cooked, and the trail gets really steep at the end. The other direction is great on a single speed. I probably won't do it this way again unless I'm in the mood to suffer.

When we got to the rock pile, we turned around and came back the way we came. On my rigid single speed, I was reminded why, a couple of years ago when I rode that trail every week, I decided I needed a full-suspension bike.

Once through the rough stuff in the upper section, everything was fine until we dropped back down onto Kestrel from the Crestline trail. The gulley where Kestrel is located is almost always about 10 degrees cooler than the ridgeline above it. Combine the increased speed and decreased effort of the descent with the cooler temperatures, and by the time we got back to the trailhead, I was really cold.

Note to self: next time when doing a night ride, don't base what you wear (a long sleeve jersey and vest; no hat, no knee warmers, no base layer) on what felt comfortable at soccer practice while the sun was still up.

Psycho Rider was dressed more appropriately but still suffering. The heater in the mighty corolla, not known for its robustness, made things only slightly more comfortable on the way home.

I got home and had a mug of hot cocoa and wrapped up in a blanket to watch TV. Still cold. Went to bed with an extra blanket. Still cold. Got up this morning and ate oatmeal. Still cold. I'm now sitting at my desk wearing wool socks, a hoody, and my down vest. And I'm still cold. Maybe a hot bath will do the trick.