Reflections on the Year – 2016

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My riding in 2016 was always with the backdrop of my dad’s fall, injury, and subsequent death. When he fell in late April I thought to whether we had taken our last ride. My second thought was to buy him a trike for when he healed so balance wouldn’t be an issue. Then I started looking for recumbent tandems in which he could be a non-contributing passenger.

The day after his fall his first words to me when he saw me were “Barry the Biker.” I chuckled.  He told me he wanted to get out of the hospital soon so that I could go to Colorado (for Ride the Rockies).  I went to Colorado, even though he never returned home, but drove back from Colorado in two days to see him. And I sat out two weeks of prime riding season in September to be by his side.

I really enjoyed our rides the past four years and will miss them. He was a big fan of my rides so these are dedicated to him. In no particular order, here are my top ten memorable rides for 2016.

  • Ohio – Trails and Piqua

Dayton56

In May I went to Ohio and despite some crappy weather, met and rode with my friend Bob Berberich on the Little Miami Trail then rode on my own around Dayton and up to Piqua where I had lived 50 years ago.

  • Ride the Rockies
Trail Ridge Road
Trail Ridge Road

My go-to ride every year, this year’s Ride the Rockies featured a climb over Independence Pass, the Copper Triangle, and a very windy day over Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park.

I forgot how long a 28-mile ride to the tallest paved mountain road in North America could take. Or feel like. But I saw a bear!

I was a “Bicycle Buddy” with Ayehsa Kang of the Texas 4000 and was able to meet the group in Denver and ride with them for part of a day.

Hopefully in 2017 I'll have another grandchild join me
Hopefully in 2017 I’ll have another grandchild join me

My daughter first balked at the idea that I could take her sons safely on the W&OD but I eventually won her over and took Andy and Aiden on the trail.

The ride was canceled in 2015 due to flooding and looked like it would be again. But it went off under very gray skies. I caught some riders from the Blair Cycling Club in the first two miles and rode the next 98 with them.

2016-10

An enjoyable weekend. I rode a trail on Friday then went to Rudy’s with my cancer friends on Saturday. I didn’t hook up with any riders on Sunday but Devil’s Wall got my heart rate up to an unheard of 189. But I didn’t stop.

After years of necessary cancer rides, I did a necessary MS-150 ride from Altoona to State College. I enjoyed the route so much that I went back often in the summer into the Fall.

A premier ride in Florida, it fit right with my calendar. It wasn’t horrible but it was much hillier that one can imagine for Florida. And a bonus ride with my friend, John Dockins.

Imagine you’re on a bike ride and a young woman wants to strip naked and jump into the water in front of you. Yep, happened on this ride.

Bedford_5

Honorable Mentions: Jeremiah Bishop Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, St. Simons Island, Trexlertown

For submission of yet another Royal Order of the Iron Crotch Award (my 6th), these were my statistics for the year:

Name: Barry Sherry
Rider Class: BB
Total Miles: 8,100
Longest Ride: 105 miles (Jeremiah Bishop Alpine Gran Fondo, Harrisonburg)
Number of miles commuting: Zero
Percent of miles on Potomac Pedaler Riders: 0.5%
Date reached 5000 miles: August 11
Most miles in a month: 1,331 (July)
Most miles in a week: 469 (during Ride the Rockies – mountain miles)
Number of weeks without a ride: Zero
Number of 100-mile rides: Five
Most interesting story: Extreme Skinny Dipping

More than the miles, I was pleased that I ended the year averaging 36.0 miles per ride, my highest average miles per ride. I may be getting slower but I can ride longer.

I rode 21 fewer days in 2016 than in 2015 but averaged more than three miles farther per ride.

I met Mooshi on the W&OD in December
I met Mooshi on the W&OD in December

In the end, it was a good riding year. But I miss and will always miss my dad.

In Memory of Rev. Harry C. Sherry,  (1929-2016). Photo: May 2012

A Cold Slog

RESTON, VIRGINIA

This is not so much about one ride. I rode 15 times in December, mostly on the W&OD. The first one was from Leesburg to Woodbridge but the rest were just the W&OD with a couple at Occoquan at the end of the month. I was chasing miles. I don’t like chasing miles.

Every ride was windy but some days the wind was much worse than others. And cold. On December 9 I saw but five cyclists over 33 miles. On a normal day I may see north of 100.

One lonely car. Mine.
One lonely car. Mine. The parking lot in Reston was empty. It was windy but it was cold. Mid 30s.

For a while this year I thought I might set a new personal annual record. But with my dad’s demise, I left 400-500 miles on the table being with him in September including days driving back and forth to Somerset when I didn’t get to ride.

But I had a push in November and entered December needing 450 to get to 8,000. I thought I could make it. Many days were cold. Windy. Gray. And of those I think gray is the worse. But the day before Christmas Eve I hit 8000. And then three more rides took me to 8,100 where I would finish the year.

Those were long rides. To be out in the cold for 2-4 hours just wears on you, especially with wind. And I often struggle as to what to wear and found this article in RoadBikeRider.com, What to Wear in Changing Weather (19 Oct 2015). The guidelines were authored by Coach David Ertl.

Here is my approach to dressing for the temperature.  Like you, John, my weak link is my toes.  They are often the limiting factor. If head, hands, feet are not mentioned below, then I do nothing special for them.

70 Degrees (21C):  Shorts and short-sleeve jersey.

60 Degrees (15.5C):  Shorts and long-sleeve jersey or long-sleeve thin undershirt.

50 Degrees (10C):  Tights or leg warmers; heavy long-sleeve jersey with sleeveless or short-sleeve wicking undershirt; or lightweight long-sleeve jersey with long-sleeve undershirt.

45 Degrees (7C):  Tights or leg warmers; long-sleeve wicking undershirt and lined cycling jacket;  thin full-fingered gloves; headband covering ears; wool socks and shoe covers.

40 Degrees (4.4C):  Tights or leg warmers; long-sleeve heavy mock turtleneck (I like Under Armour) and lined cycling jacket; medium-weight gloves; headband covering ears;  winter cycling shoes, shoe covers, wool socks.

35 Degrees (1.7C):  Heavyweight tights; long-sleeve heavy wicking turtleneck undershirt and heavy cycling jacket; heavy-weight gloves; headband covering ears;  winter cycling shoes, shoe covers, wool socks with charcoal toe warmers.

30 Degrees (-1C):  Heavyweight tights; long-sleeve heavy wicking turtleneck undershirt and heavy cycling jacket; heavy-weight gloves; lined skullcap; winter cycling shoes, shoe covers, wool socks with charcoal toe warmers.

Regarding the charcoal toe warmers.  I find these help add another half hour to the time I can ride when it’s 35 and below. I buy these in bulk at Costco, where they are about 50 cents per pair. Sweat will deactivate these. Feet sweat when covered with shoe covers – even on the coldest days. Therefore, to help them last longer, I stick the toe warmers to the outside of the toes of the shoes and then put the shoe cover over these, instead of putting the charcoal packets inside the shoe.

I also put my toes in a sandwich plastic bag to help keep the moisture in the toebox of the shoe. When it gets really cold (<25 degrees), I put my whole foot into a plastic bag (Subway or newspaper bags work well).

To be fully equipped for all temperatures, your riding wardrobe must be quite extensive, especially if you want a couple of each item. Over the years, I have developed quite a collection of all weights of clothing.

My Comments to David’s Text
I notice you don’t seem to use arm warmers. Or bib knickers. I would throw both of those into the mix for low- to mid-50s (knickers) to low 60s. And arm warmers (often with a light short-sleeve base layer and normal jersey) for mid-50s to low-60s.

I like arm warmers for their versatility in adapting to a range of temps. Especially if you start low and go up 10-15 degrees on the ride.

As for knickers, I love them! Just for the same reason you like long-sleeve jerseys, I suspect. They cover my knees, which I like to keep covered below, say, low 60s. And I never have to mess with adding another garment (knee or leg warmers).

To Which David Replied
I don’t use arm warmers or leg warmers.  I prefer tights and long sleeves. And I have never understood the purpose of knickers. Why cover everything except that last 4 inches below the calf?  I just use tights for everything.

I agree though, you can mention a choice of tights, leg warmers, knickers. They basically cover the same situation.

Wind, being out in the open, and sunny vs. overcast conditions also impact how warmly we need to dress.  If it is cloudy or windy, I’d suggest dropping down to the next colder level. If it is sunny and calm (or you are leaving in the morning and know it will warm up a couple of temperature ranges during the ride), I will bump up to the next warmer level.

Coach David Ertl is a USA Level 1 cycling coach with the Peaks Coaching Group. He also is a national coach for the JDRF Ride To Cure Diabetes Charity Ride program and writes the training blogs for RAGBRAI, the weeklong ride across Iowa every summer.

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And there you have it. My own comments would be a long sleeve undergarment is good for a day when the temperatures aren’t changing. In fact I often wear that. But knee or arm warmers are great when it’s chilly but the forecast is for warming later in the ride so that they can be removed. For much of December I wore thermal bibs with Livestrong leg warmers. Only my fingers got cold.