Q. Why is cycling in Pennsylvania better than cycling in Colorado?
A. Because in Pennsylvania, you don't need cold weather gear when going on a ride in August!
As alluded to in earlier posts, the weather here is pretty dynamic. The highs this weekend were in the mid-50s, accompanied with plenty of rain. Nonetheless, I knew I needed to get back in cycling shape and so jumped on my trusty steed when it looked like the rain was letting up for a bit.
There's a saying out here that goes "If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes." Well, I wasn't even afforded 15 minutes. About 10 minutes into my ride, the clouds opened up again. Thinking the shower would pass by quick, I kept with my planned route and pedaled onward. As you'll find again later in this post, what I thought isn't what happened. The rain continued as a steady drizzle for about the next hour, and since I was already soaked to my toes, I figured I might as well finish my ride as planned.
As mentioned above, I really need to get back in cycling shape. I'm off to a good and cautious start — in the 2 weeks we've been here, I've been on 6 rides of modest length (25-45 miles). By comparison, I was on only 4 rides in the previous 2 months prior to moving. (Yup... Winter shape in August. Yuck!) So for my first ride, I planned a route on roads that I had a pretty good idea about, terrain wise. I knew my conditioning wasn't great, and that altitude would be a factor (Boulder is at 5,480 ft. above sea level, Richboro at 338 ft.) So, I thought in addition to the flat and rolling roads I planned, throwing in one called "Olde Stage Road" at the end of the ride should be harmless — the thinking being, "If the stagecoach went on it, surely it can't be too hilly. I mean, horses had to pull stuff on it, right?"
Well, my thinking failed me again. I was already about 30 miles and 2 hours into my first ride at this altitude and when I turned onto Olde Stage. And as you can see by the image to the right, it doesn't get flatter at mile 30. Just the opposite, it gets steeper the further you go up the hill; the last half mile is over 7%. I made it — huffing and puffing like never before and standing out of the saddle with my chain in its lowest gear, eeking out 3 mph at the top. Luckily, the last 2.5 miles were downhill to home. When I got there, Peg said she never saw me look so whooped. I couldn't argue with her because 1) I thought she was right and 2) I could barely talk.