Autumn is here

What a difference one week makes.  Last week, we were suffering from high heat, high humidity, sweltering weather conditions.  It was mid to high 90’s last Saturday and Sunday, with multiple layers of sunscreen required, dark shades, sleeveless jerseys were the common appearance at any rides taking place that weekend.  Fast forward 7 days, and we are now talking 40 degree weather at the favorite peaks, arm warmers, leg warmers, skull caps, and long fingered gloves are what we see.  It’s almost like someone flipped a switch, turning summer off, and turning on autumn.

Time to put the sleeveless jerseys in the closet, to be resurrected 6-9 months later.  Time to rummage through my closet and dresser, looking for:

  • long fingered gloves
  • knee warmers
  • arm warmers
  • Toe warmers
  • Full shoe boots
  • thermal gloves
  • skull cap
  • Cycling jacket
  • Fenders (for the oncoming wet weather)

Also, in summer, it was very common for us to start rides at 8 am.  Ok, that’s a bit cold at that time.  I now know why 9 and 10 am rides are common in the bay area … because it’s still cold at that time.  Contrast that to when I was in LA, where 8 am was a typical ride start time, and 9 am was a really late ride start.  In fact, I remember some summers, where our regular ride would start at 6 or 7 am.

Saturday, Chris, Ramon and I did a local ride from Los Altos up Kings Mountain, then Alpine, before finishing back home.  One thing was clearly apparent … I was way underdressed.  Lucky I had to come back to the house, and decided to bring my light jacket.  That was definitely required, as it was cold.  When we got into the shade, the temps dropped like a rock.  I only brought short fingered gloves, and I kept blowing on my fingers when I had the chance to.  Ramon was smart … he had long fingered gloves, and had knee warmers … not me … although I did have arm warmers, but knees were getting cold.

When the weather cools down, it seems the aggressiveness also goes south.  We all took it pretty easy, and that was fine for me.  I was able to hang in with Chris and Ramon within reasonable time and distance.  I attribute that mostly to my recent aggressive time on the bike and climbing over the past 2 months.  It’s kind of ironic that I’m in the best shape of the year at a time when I should be reducing the intensity.  I’m going to try to keep up the hill climbing regiment, just to keep myself in shape, and not let myself go.

After we climbed King’s Mountain, we descended down Hwy 84 en route to West Alpine.  Normally this descent is fun, and you can pick up speeds of up to 30-35 mph, gearing down to 53×13, but not this day.  The headwinds were fierce, and I was lucky just to sustain a 21-22 mph pace.  Plus, we had these antique cars from the 30’s driving down 84, so we had to contend with that … and more importantly, the exhaust from those cars … those non-catalytic converter engine cars.

We finished our ride by descending Page Mill.  Now we were all decked out with arm warmers, jackets, knee warmers … meanwhile, we saw other climbers with no knee warmers, no arm warmers … but then again, they probably started at 11 am or 12 pm.  Must have looked strange to those climbing, seeing us in winter weather clothing.  But like I said, autumn is here, and time to change the cycling routine.

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