Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Third time the charm I guess.  Pleasantly surprised that Clive's Greenbelt Trail was cleared of snow all the way to the surface.  Monday's snow was brushed away.  Today's effort was the best job I have seen on that trail in a long time.   Thank you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now before we all grab road bikes and rollerblades there is something I must let you know.  The ice from the previous two snow events is still on the trail.  There are significant sections of trail that are dangerously covered with ice.  Be careful.  Wear helmets.  Watch your speed.

I will say that Clive did a better job removing the latest snow than Des Moines did on the Walnut Creek and Bill Riley trails.  But remember this, the Sun's love will melt the remnants in Des Moines quicker than the ice in Clive.

Once again, thank you Clive Parks & Rec.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Significant Snow Wrong Bike

As a cyclist and full time bike commuter I am pretty in tune with the weather forecast and situation.  I am outside all the time.  5 days a week, generally, I spend 2+ hours outside biking to and fro work.  I depend on accurate weather forecasts to know how to dress and what bike to ride.  This morning it said it would be ungodly cold, below zero F, and windy.  Perhaps a flurry or two of snow but measurable snow was a day or two away.  I grabbed the Trek 520 so I could raid the grocery store on my way home.

At 4 am it was cold, 1 above 0 F, but the wind was basically calm, 3 mph from the east instead of the 30 mph from the NW.  Tailwind and reduction in windchill.  Good.  The ride to work was not bad at all.  Dress up like an astronaut and ride to the west.  Be thankful that yesterdays horrid wind has subsided.  When I checked the temperature once I arrived at work it had actually improved by 1 degree.

A few hours later I looked out the window. It was snowing.  Everyone was surprised.  Some said it was supposed to be north of Des Moines.  Nobody thought it would add up.  I was feeling anxious.  The 520 has road tires.  Kenda Kwest 700x35 slicks.  No tread, just water sipes.  As long as the snow did not add up I'd be fine.  But it added up.  By the time I got out it was already 2".  Silent white death.

My chosen route home: Clive Greenbelt.  No desire to play with cars today.  They had enough issues with each other and did not need me.  I gambled that Saturday's heat wave of 51F would have melted and evaporated the remaining snow on that trail.  Any remnants would be buried in the fresh snow but the new snow would add traction.  That's the problem when the snow plow leaves 1/2" of snow on a trail that is almost totally in the shade.  Snow and ice remain until Spring.

The last major snow was 8 days ago.  Although the city plowed the trail, leaving its customary 1/2" of snow for us to trample and turn to ice, they did not clear the turn off to the trail from the sidepath on 128th St.  Last week I rode in the snow covered grass to reach the trail.  But last week's snow is now hard and crunchy and likes to catch wheels.  Fun.

Once on the Greenbelt trail proper I began a slow journey toward Windsor Heights.  Two sets of bicycle tracks and two sets of joggers footprints to follow.  Sometimes these tracks would reveal the ice underneath.  Prospects of a long ride.  I only biffed once, landing on my side at slow speed.  Time to exit the trail ASAP.  I took the park's road out to Swanson Blvd and then took the streets all the way to 86th St.  These were clear albeit wet and dirty.  But no more crashes.

There is a sidepath on the north side of University from 86th to 73rd St.  I took that to the relief of many cars that waited behind me at the red light.  And when the path ran out I stayed on the sidewalk until I reached Windsor Heights Hy Vee.  Here is where I met Mary.  We shopped then hit the trail together.

Since the cities of Des Moines and Windsor Heights plow their trails properly the only thing I had to fight was the 2 to 3" of fresh snow.  The tires and bike performed well, even fully loaded =with groceries.  I would forget that I had tires meant for Ragbrai not BRR.  The 520 plowed nicely with the occasional bark of when I hit ice.  No crashes.  It even climbed the snow covered ice run off at Colby Park were the work on the I-235 overpass revealed poor drainage.  Sure, the rear wheel broke loose once but not swinging or swaying.  Even better was taking the trail underneath the newly reopened Grand Ave bridge.  Trail surface akin to kitty litter and a steep climb out of it.  The bike did not protest at all.

We followed tracks left by up to 5 other bikes including a fat bike or two.  But we saw only one other ride.  David Lanham was riding home from work.  We stopped and chatted.  He said that the ride was enjoyable.  I had to agree.  It was 18F outside and the wind was calm.  Fresh snow covered the ugly brown dead world below. The cheap Kenda tires were handling quite well.  Anything that would make them slip would make most not studded tire bikes slip as well.  Easy on the speed, easy on braking and watch the turns.  I made it home safely with a bike load of groceries.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


He was a larger than life figure in the Des Moines bicycling community and one of the nicest guys a person could meet.  He'd been around so long that I cannot recall when I met him.  Like the city, he was here from my beginning in Des Moines.  Short, fat, long haired, smoker, weird, drinker, add friend to this list.  His departure not only left a big hole in our subculture but served as a reminder on how precious our short time on this spinning blue marble is.  Craig was always there.  Always someone you could talk to, bum a smoke or share a beer with.  Truly a shock.  Yet perhaps a quick check out instead of a long suffering decades long struggle.

One of my last great times with him was back in February 2013.  I recently transfer to Farm Bureau in West Des Moines and taking my time finding a safe commute home from work.  Wildman was standing outside having a smoke at a bar named Bradley's on 50th St.  Spotting me he flagged me in.  Never been there before.  We must have drank for a good hour.  He told me of a great way to get home from there, the same route I use today when the trails are too snow and iced covered to ride.

I should have stopped in there again but life and responsibilities keep me away from such places occasionally.  I think I saw him last at the Big Wheel Rally t-shirt release party at Confluence Brewery.  He recently completed a kayaking adventure on the river with Squirrel.  I told him that I thought he was nuts for doing such a thing just as it was getting cold.  This trip was a mere month before he passed away.  I am glad he did it.

Life is too short to hold back.  The candle that burns twice as bright burns twice as fast.  Our world is a bit darker since he left us.  But with the right eyes one can see a light and an 8 ball jacket and a Miller Lite showing us the way.  RIP Craig.

Friday, December 20, 2013

And Now the Ice...

The snow added traction.  It only seemed to snow around Farm Bureau.

I have survived, the cold, the snow, headwinds from hell and still keep riding a bicycle to work.  So the weather placed another card on the table today.  Ice.  It started about sunset yesterday.  Mist, drizzle, falling temperatures and continued overnight.  When I woke up everything outside was coated with a layer of ice.  But I have a bike with studded tires for just such occasions!  Or do I?

The one day I needed it.  But the rear wheel on my blue Trek 920 was kaput.  Serious attention was needed.  I have ridden it to work maybe 3 times since pulling it out of storage and prepping it for winter.  I took it yesterday because the freezing drizzle was supposed to begin about noon.  Never did.  And the closer I got to home the worse the wheel acted.  What needed a simple true developed into a horrid lumpy ride and then the tire started hitting the right chainstay.  Fooked.

1996 Trek 920.  Cheap wheels but American made bicycle.

With ample time and a truing stand I could have fixed this last night.  Right.  I stopped at Court Avenue Brewing Company for a Mug Club party and then took Moscow Mules over to Johnny Brook's house to commiserate the death of a neighbor kid.  Dumb moves.  But needed.   But I did bring home a ham and a turkey for Christmas dinner.  Wheel sacrifice not in vain!

Waking up a tad bit hung over I realized the error of my ways.  So I grabbed the red Phoenix and asked it to do its magic and haul my ass to work.  Why not drive the truck?  I could have done untold thousands of dollars in damages and possibly killed someone if I drove.  On a bicycle I just look stupid.  Besides, the city starts plowing early, I gambled that they would salt the roads early, too.

My street was icy so slow and steady.  No fast moves.  Half a mile away I reached the trail by Mullets.  Completely iced up.  Cross the bridge which is the ice equivalent of running the gauntlet and reach MLK.  This road was salted and wet so I took it all the way to 15th, cut up north to Ingersoll Ave.

Ingersoll was not treated when I pedaled on it.  I don't know what pissed me off more, the lack of de-icing or my stupid self for not fixing the wheel.  Anger not only is an energy but a heat source as well!  Slow and steady.  I did see one car screw up and hit a pole on 35th by Dahls.  Yep, the $2000 mistake.

My Go To Plan on crappy winter days is to ride downtown, get on Ingersoll and take that to the McDonald's on 63rd and Grand.  But the lack of road salt on Ingersoll changed that route.  Riding downhill on Ingersoll past Polk Blvd would have been suicide.   However, and thankfully, Polk Blvd was wet not icy.  Turn right and take a left on University.  University was clear and I took it all the way to the 5400 block or the Iowa Farm Bureau campus where I work.

There was only one bad spot on this route.  The intersection, specifically, the left turn lane on University and 86th St in Clive was icy.

The Red Phoenix at work.  This 2008 Trek FX 7.5 has been my workhorse, go to bike in winter.  This year no studded tires.  Just a set of Kenda cross tires.  Notice the salt stains on the concrete.  This photo was taken before the ice storm.

Now getting home was another story.  easy to ride on crap roads at 530 am when there are not cars.  3 pm is different.  Original plan was to take westown Pkwy to 50th, a left at Bradley's and work my way to 28th, turn right to reach Ashworth and then take that to 8th, right then left to get on Grand.  This is my winter route when trails are not rideable.  But I did not feel like playing in traffic on Ashworth.  I should have.  Just did not have the heart today.  So I headed to Wal Mart via Westown and Buffalo Rd.

At first I did sidewalk action.  I marvelled at how corporate America salts and sands sidewalks (lawsuits).  But when I hit Hurd properties the sidewalks were worthless and I took to riding on the grass.  My Trek FX is good offroad.  just one crash for the day.  i crossed an intersection and hit an icy sidewalk.  Time for the street, cars be damned.

Once I reached Wal Mart I tried the trail.  Needed ice skates so i rode on the shoulder to Mcdonald then cut up the back roads to Ingersoll.  Ingersoll Ave was much better after work, even the bike lanes.  Quick stop at Ingersoll Wine&Spirits for a bottle of Bolla Valepochella (no Bolla here) and I ran into Sam Gill.  The rest of the trip home was uneventful.  I opted to ride through Court Ave to reach 4th St to avaid the pedestrian bridge which was more than likely still dangerous.

So I have a date with a truing stand.  The trails are useless without studded tires until it warms up or the sun melts the ice.  The forecast says this ain't gonna happen soon.  On the way to work I did not crash and almost had to put my foot down once.  One crash on return trip.  Kinda queer, last year we had a major snow event the same week, almost to the day.  This year ice.  I'd rather have the snow.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Winter Nights

It is still autumn but it feels like winter.  I leave before the sun rises and arrive home after it sets.  Perhaps too much of my brain is dedicated to night vision for I seem to thrive in the darkness.  Despite the miserable conditions, night riding is something I enjoy in this extreme climate.

My memories of riding in winter and the lessons they taught are permanently imprinted on my brain.  Back in the day, circa 1988, we did not have lights.  Winter was the safest time to go mountain biking at night.  There was usually snow on the ground.  White is trail, black is tree.  Hours spent in the greenbelt up in Waterloo with Ron Prunty.  Often we would increase the difficulty by adding psychotropics.  Just one thing to remember, white is trail, black is tree.  Still holds true today, the rule not the need to increase difficulty.

So my commute is now double what it was last year.  More time to reflect on it as I try to keep my mind off the body numbing coldness that fills the void as Earth's tilting denies us a longer hug from the Sun's love.  Fresh snow is the best as long as the total is less than 3" for most of my bicycles.  Fresh snow is usually accompanied by lingering clouds which not only keep the temperature a tad bit warmer, say 24F instead of 4F but also reflect back the light pollution and thus help illuminate the ride.  Sometimes while out on the trail I will shut off my lights.  Add a full moon and there is little reason to use lights unless others are riding nearby or it is time to play in traffic.

Remember the rule?  Rule #2 applies after the city plows the trail.  Black in between white is trail, all other black is tree and white is off trail.  Clearly defined borders.  Much easier to stay on the trail at night since the edge of the trail is now delineated by frozen water.  Ice is another story so I keep my lights on until familiar with the conditions.

This phenomenon is helpful at a very bad section of the Walnut Creek trail.  After Grand Ave heading north toward Center St there is a section of trail that parallels the creek.  At the place where the trail is closest to Walnut Creek there is a terrible blind spot created by a security light across the water at some sort of industrial warehouse business.  As I approach this place the light blinds me and I am forced to slow down and avert my eyes until it no longers interferes.  No matter what light set up I have I am forced to look down and keep my eyes on the edge of the trail.  During the summer everything is black.  The trail, the grass and the border between the trail and the grass.  BUT in winter with snow on the ground it is now black and white and much easier to keep the bike on the trail surface proper and avoid running off it and into trouble.

All I ask is that the temperature stay in the 20s during the coldest days/nights and a little bit of snow to help me move about in the dark.  Things improve in April.  4 more months of this bullshit.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Winter Round II 2013/14

Starts with a deep freeze then covers us with snow.  Need the snow.  Nothing better than a visual to remind us on how bad it really is.  But snow can be fun and if you live in the ice age area like I do there is not much to do about it but move to warmer climes.

Wednesday December 4th, 2013 AD, was the last time it was above freezing in Des Moines, Iowa.  39F at 430 am with dropping temperatures throughout the day.  And freezing rain.  Managed to get home ice covered without crashing.  Then every day the temperature got lower and lower and the wind from the north and west got stronger and stronger.  Saturday morning it dropped to -2F when I rode to my barber at 745 am.  The saving grace is that the wind had stopped.  Yes, I can feel the difference between -2F without wind and  12F with a 25 mph headwind.  And the lack of wind made the Big Wheel Rally a success.

Was not planning to go to the BWR.  Mary and I spent too much time battling the coldness that week.  But we made a late appearance mainly because it was almost 20F without wind.  I rode the Mongoose Beast single speed heavy fat bike.  Nothing gets me warmer than riding that thing up a hill.  This was the first time I rode that bike up a hill, Ingersoll Avenue.

The next day snow fell and piled up over 4".  Having paid a princely sum of $207.11 for the bike brand new and delivered to my house I decided that it should be tested in the snow.  About 230 pm I left the comfort of home and rode the Beast to Methodist to visit a friend in the hospital.  First time that bike saw snow.  First time I have ridden in major snow since February or March.  And the Beast performed better than I imagined.  Rolled through the big stuff with ease.  Rolled over buried curbs with a graceful bump. No sliding.  No crashes.  No emergency "abandon ship" moves.  Not bad for a cheap bike that is geared way to steep.  Have yet to swap out rear cog for something with more teeth for better acceleration and hill capability.

By the time Monday's alarm went off the snow had stopped.  We set the alarm 30 minutes earlier to give us more time to ride to work as we did not know exactly how bad the snow would make the trip worse.  I grabbed the Red Phoenix, my Trek FX 7.5 hybrid, a proven winter warrior.  The commute to work is no time for fun and games or messing around.  And when the actual temperature is 6F with headwind and a significant layer of fresh snow.it becomes a life or death situation.  That bike still has it relatively fresh knobbies from Boulevard Sports that I purchased in the Spring or perhaps late winter last year.  And since it usually sits in storage from March through September there is still pretty of tread for snow.

I opted for riding downtown to Ingersoll since the snow could have been deep in sections on the trail.  Faster to ride on freshly plowed streets than an unplowed trail.  If I was still working at 6200 Park Ave I would have taken the trail all the way to Orlandos.  But now that my commute is twice as far, speed is of the essence.  No issues.  No collisions with snow plows.  Going down Ingersoll from Polk Blvd to McDonalds seemed a bit scary but the bike handled well.  Got to keep speed in check without locking up the front brake.  I did see two bicycle commuters that morning.

When I worked downtown at PFG those that rode bikes to work in the winter would leave the salt brine at the bike rack.
I really hate riding on the streets after a snowfall.  The city dumps too much salt and sand on them because Iowans refuse to get proper tires for their cars and trucks for these conditions.  And salt and sand are the mortal enemies of metal mechanical parts.  Chains are the first to crap out.  Always get dirty and begin to rust.  Need to purchase and install rust proof chains.  And the roads are wet.  I do not want to get wet when it is 5F outside.  Clothing gets dirt too.

Look at all the salt that the bike picked up downtown, Ingersoll, Buffalo Rd and Westown Pkwy!  Good for the environment, I think not!
I took the trail home after work.  They were clear of snow.  Even Clive removed snow from the Greenbelt although they left about a half inch on the surface for some reason.  Windsor Heights did the best job but then again they have the shortest section of trail to clear.  If you look at a trail after a snowfall you realise how many people use these trails.  Failure to keep them clear in winter is depriving people of something they cherish for quality of life.

Tuesday I decided to ride the Beast to work.  Why not?  The alarm is still 1/2 hour ahead of normal.  If I average 7 mph it still will be less than 2 hours one way.  Trails are clear.  The bike is designed for crap conditions.  They only draw back is that the bike is slow and heavy.  But if I take the trail all the way to 128th St I will only have one hill to climb.  Long but not that steep.  Add three miles to the commute but avoid the big hills I normally take.  The muggles at work will think I am totally nuts.  Except for Bo G.  He rides a fat bike but not a cheap single speed fat bike.  Besides, I feel like Mongo riding that cow when I ride the Beast.

Beast at work.  Note, bike rack put away for the season.  They did this on Monday.
So I took it.  No computer on the bike requires me to use the phone app Endomondo to track miles and inform me of my slowness.  "3 miles in 21 minutes.  Lap pace 7 mph."  Trail all the way to Wal Mart as usual.  But I was beginning to worry about time.  This is taking a lot longer than I am used to.  I could feel the slowness.  I could save over 20 minutes by taking the hilly route.  Hills it was!

I got off the trail at Wally World and climbed the hill on Buffalo Rd by Dowling.  It is a two part hill with a recover grade before the second and final peak.  And just to be safer I took the the sidewalk until the final downhill.  Then crossing 22nd St there is my last hill on Westown Pkwy on my way to Valley West Mall.  Not that these hills are severe or long but on my touring bike, good weather commuter, I downshift to granny.  The FX remains in middle ring since I placed a below normal tooth count ring.  No shifting options on the Beast.  Focus on breathing.  Use the glutes.  Be grateful for the plateau.  I did it!  No standing, no walking, no crying, no swearing!  Once when the road levels off just east of the mall it's smooth biking the rest of the way to work.  I will not this, despite the fact that it was 14F to 17F (the temperature was rising during the commute thanks to warm air coming in), I was in full sweat.  The Beast has a heater--ME!  Muggles really do not understand this fact.  When you pedal a bicycle you generate heat.  When you pedal a heavy single speed bicycle up hills you generate more heat.

Wednesday Day 3 of Snow I went back to the Red Phoenix.  Had to work late.  Need a faster bike for the trip home.  I noticed it right away.  It was like the shackles were removed.  This bike felt incredibly fast compared to the Beast.  20 minutes faster same route.  

The ride home was peaceful  I left work after sunset and had the trail to myself.  Just keep moving.  Watch out for slick spots.  Feel the adrenalin shoot into and course throughout the body the one time a patch of ice grabbed the tires and pulled them unexpectedly for a microsecond.  Enjoy the Christmas lights and be grateful for all I have.  There's not much more I can do but wait this winter out.  Tweak clothing.  Tweak the route.  Keep the bicycles running.  By March it will start to improve. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Jordan Creek Trail Revisited

It was a combination of boredom and detours that caused me to take the Jordan Creek Trail home from work instead of the Clive Greenbelt.  Head south on 60th/128th Street.  On map it appears to be out of the way and longer so I never used it for commuting,  But since giving it a chance I enjoy the JCT.

Sure, I may have said some bad things about this trail in the past, mainly how easy it is to get lost on it due to numerous neighborhood trails and the underpasses.  I retract those statements.  Since using this for commuting I have only made one wrong turn.  Still I recommend taking the fattest Sharpie available to make your own signs until you have it memorized.

Convenient  Several places that I need to frequent are along the JCT.  My bank, US Bank, Ace Hardware, Hy Vee and a Dahls (if I feel like I have too much money).  Let's not forget Saints West literally right off the trail.  And then Valley Junction.  Or take a left at the intersection of 60th and the trail and head west to the town center and all the commercial offerings it has to offer.   Raccoon River Park is on the trail's southern extent.

Safety  I also feel SAFER riding to the JCT on the sidepath than I do the Greenbelt.  Taking the sidepath to the Clive trail involves a lot of armleutchers who attempt to cut bikes off especially at the Walgreens.  The trail itself is safer as well because it is comparatively straight as opposed to the zig zag switchback design of the Greenbelt.  No sharp turns with surprise head ons with other bikes or pedestrians with dogs.

Friendly  Trail users seem friendlier.  This may be because there are less of them when I ride but it seems as if the pedestrians smile more often when I say hello as I pass them.  More importantly, I have yet to see a Lance wannabe training for the big race on the JCT.  This is a major hazard on many trails.  Race training is dangerous on narrow trails.

Connects with the Bill Riley Trail  This is super because I end up where I want to be and where I need to be and where I would be if I would have taken the Clive trail.

Detouring  Sure there is a major project on the JCT.  Construction crews are working on I-35 and that portion of the trail is close.  Take the sidewalk or street for 1 block.  No switchbacks up hill to get around this detour.  And the detour for the sewer project involves taking streets east of 63rd for a little bit.  Not bad despite crap pavement but this should be ending soon.  The Greenbelt route has had up to 3 detours simultaneously this year.  One of which is a major pain in the arse and dangerous.  There have been a few times that I have had cars pull out in front of me on the detour.  One even apologized and admitted that he was not looking.

I have yet to take the Jordan Creek Trail to work.  Same old fear of  losing time.  Experiments at 5 am are not good on work days.  But the more I take this path home the more I like it.

The metro is looking at a 30 plan for the area.  They worry about affordable housing for future workers.  How about expanding this trail and clearing snow off it during the winter??  Just a thought.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Winter Round 1 2013-14

Brave.  That's the adjective I have been hearing lately.  Loading up the bike after work a woman turns toward me and smiles, "You're brave."  And after dropping off a pair of sunglasses to a fellow biker she uttered the B word again.  Courage requires risk.  But if one is prepared there is no risk.  And without risk there is no bravery.  

Years of experience and experimentation and practice eliminated the risk.  I have not been brave just prepared.  And the muggles never seem to realize that bicycling generates heat for the rider.  Not really enjoying myself except when I reach my destination.  Coffee never tastes better than after an hour+ ride in 6F weather with a 25 mph headwind.  2 days of hell so far.  Maybe in 8 days the temperature will rise above freezing.

The only saving grace is that the remnants of the previous week's snow melted before the big freeze. Riding on ice without studded tires, now that's brave or foolhardy.  You pick.

So what's it been like?  Wednesday was the last day above freezing.  Earlier in the week it was nice for December and 40F temps.  Monday and Tuesday the trail was full of bicycle commuters.  Wednesday it was warmer at 530 am than it was at 430 pm.  40F to 24F.  Then the hammer fell.  Thursday morning it was 12F with a 25 mph headwind for the commute to work.  I barely slept.  Woke up early and managed to get out the door 1/2 hour earlier than normal.  I needed the extra time.  Dressing like an astronaut is not conducive for fast riding.  The Trek 520 was the steed, had to ferry clothes to work and return with large bag of puppy food, 15 lbs.

Took a mile to warm up.  That is, to get the blood and body warm.  By mile 10 my feet were beginning to get cold.  Strange, some parts sweating, others cold.  Pedal, don't think about it.  Watch the miles click off.  I did see two bikes that morning.  Not the only one brave on Thursday.  After 8 miles the traffic lights begin and I was on a winning streak.  7 lights to obey or not.  I was 5 and 0 heading to a perfect ride, never having to put a foot down at a light controlled intersection.  Then the damn Chevy Trailbrazer wanted to make a left turn and triggered the red light for me.  Bastard!  That was light #6.  I missed number 7 as well.  When told I was brave and asked how the ride was I planned to say "The wind and the cold did not bother me but having that damn Trailblazer preventing my perfect battle with stop lights really pissed me off.

Crossing the freeway on the Westown Pkwy overpass was almost scary.  I should really take the side path but that requires crossing 4 lanes of traffic to get on it and crossing 4 lanes of traffic to make my last turn.  So I take the street proper.  The wind was horrid and the bike was blown around a bit.  had to really work to hold the line.

Friday it was colder by half, 6 above.  But the wind seemed better.  I look forward to the hills starting 8 miles into the commute with Buffalo Rd and then Westown Pkwy.  Climbing helps generate heat. No issues on Westown Pkwy,  But icicles were forming on me.  Hence the photo I took when I reached work.  Did not realize that I had one functioning nostril.  My eyelid hurt for most of the day from the weight of the ice.  Stupid, not brave.  Yet the rest of the body was ok warmthwise.  I did see the same guy in the morning biking on the Bill Riley Trail.

So I took the worst the arctic blast gave us and carried on as usual.  A little slower.  Snow forecasted so the Red FX is ready.  Need to recheck the 920 and its studded tires incase ice comes.  I was nervous since my commute is twice as long as last winter although I did it for a month or so at the tail end of winter.  I passed.  Chris 2 winter 0.