Monday, February 11, 2008

The internet tried to kill me. (warning: long post)

So I've said many a time, that computers are great, as long as they work. But once they don't, I really hate them. Well, I should have known to never trust their advice without double checking. Of all people, I ended up being caught by relying on electronics more than common sense. Let me explain:

Saturday night, an arctic blast blew through the St. Louis area, dropping temps down into the mid 'teens. When I woke up Sunday morning, I checked to get my daily what to wear when I ride in report. Now I can't blame them for sure, I may have typed in the wrong zip code, clicked the wrong report, or possibly, they just had a typo. So instead of double checking when they said it was 43F (seemed quite warm for lately), I just figured "there's the mid-west for ya." Freezing one minute, warm the next. So I dressed a little warm for 43 degrees. (Arm and leg warmers, standard cycling shorts, jersey, and a wind proof vest, wind proof gloves, cycling cap underneath my helmet, and my Lake winter boots) I figured that way I could take off layers as I warmed up and hit more sun, and so I took off for my hours' ride to work. At first blast, it sure seemed colder than 43. But I was in the shade, I hadn't got moving yet, and maybe it was a heavy, damp, soak into your skin kind of 43. (I was already making excuses for the infallible After a few blocks, I decided our low neighborhood must have had the cold air settle in it, and once I got out, and got the heart rate going, I'd be fine.

Now here's where I'll interject with a quick story about wind proof clothes. It's amazing how low the temperature can be, and still stay comfortable when you're riding a bicycle at a good clip. Without any real sort of insulation, it just keeps your warmth from flying away with the wind long enough so you can keep it built up next to your skin. When you're really working, it's surprising how little insulation is too much, when it's underneath a wind shell. On the other hand, if you don't have enough insulation, it also takes a good amount of time before the real cold soaks through. Especially if your brain doesn't think it's actually cold.

So the further I went, for some reason I was getting colder, not warming up. My face and ears were just hurting (being the only real exposed skin), and I was starting to decide that they must have been wrong. That usually happens below freezing (for me), but maybe it was a damp windy above freezing that just felt cold. I mean, they said it was 43. It couldn't be that far off. Once I was getting to the outside of town, my fingers were starting to hurt, but luckily I had left a slightly warmer pair of gloves in my backpack because I had been too lazy to take them out. Plus a second set of gloves is never a horrible thing if say, the temperature gets lower than I was expecting by the end of the day for the ride home. So I stopped, put those on, and kept on going. After a couple more miles, my whole body was getting stiff. And at that point, I realized that my pain in the butt water bottle valve wasn't a pain. It was freezing shut. This was not at all 43 degrees.

Luckily I left my rain/wind jacket in my backpack, along with my helmet cover in case I hit any sprinkles. I put those on, and kept moving. That helped a bit, but every time I would stop, I was loosing heat that just didn't seem to come back. But every mile was another mile closer to heat. Finally though, I got to the point that even the five miles left were just going to be too much. I threw in the towel and called Brian my co-worker to tell him where I was. It went to voice mail... shit. I left a message telling him to take the road that I was taking, not the freeway, and hopefully I'd see him. Another mile and I couldn't keep going. I saw a gas station, and stopped in for a coffee. The lady was nice enough to let me stay inside and drink it. About the time I started thawing out, Brian called me wondering about the odd message I left. I told him about where I was, and what road to drive along. I didn't know exactly where, but I knew how long it would take him to get there. So a few minutes before that, I thanked the lady at the gas station, and hit the road again. I didn't want him to drive right by and miss me. This time, it only took a few blocks before I was cold again. Every few yards and I was looking over my shoulder hoping to see his happy yellow pickup. Finally he passed me, pulled over, and for the first time, I ditched out on the rest of my ride.

Later, after checking the weather, I found out that the high for the day was about 21F. So I was probably somewhere around 18-20 degrees when I was riding. It took all day to really warm up, and after getting home, I took a shot of whiskey, and took the hottest shower I've had in years. And when it was time to curl up in bed, this was probably the first night I didn't have to push Melissae as far away from me as I could to stay cool. So yea, the hard learned lesson for the day:

Desktop Computer ~$600
High speed internet ~$40/mo.
Time to start up said computer and check the wether: 5 min.
An old fashioned thermometer ~$5-$8, and it only takes one second to read it.


Robert T. Metz said...

Maybe no one reads you blog cuz your posts are too long :-P just a thought. your road frame looks tight though.

Fellet Brazing said...

You're probably right, I tend to ramble from time to time. Once, this guy I knew and I were talking about rambling, and at what point it went from being informative to just plain rambling. Well what we figured out was...

...oh, I see.

Nico Toscani said...

I didn't read your blog b/c I didnt know you had one. Count on me to be one of your regulars.


TK said...

nice job on the frame, and the logo is pretty trick, too. congrats.

Fellet Brazing said...


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