The day starts off grey. Smoky clouds blot out any hope of sunlight. I take a half-hearted glance at the outside temp, but I know that this is as warm as it’s going to get.
I down my coffee before it gets cold, and begin the art of layering up. Long sleeve base layer, then short sleeve jersey. Gore jacket on top for a wind barrier. Fleece tights. Shoe covers. Heat packs in my shoes. Heat packs in my gloves. Lobster-claw mittens on top. Buff. Wool beanie under my helmet.
If I don’t get out of the house soon I’m going to melt.
I prepare a couple of bottles of electrolyte, absently put ice in them. Start over.
I haul my loaded bike out the front door. A cold wind shakes the leafless trees, and bites into the exposed parts of my face. Those clouds promise snow, or worse, but not for a while. The street is quiet, and it feels like the rest of the world has gone into hibernation. For a split second, I reconsider my options, maybe I should ride indoors. But the wiser part of my brain quashes that thought before it can take root.
I know that when I’m done, I’ll come back to a warm house and a hot shower. There will be a pot of chili and a cold beer, and, later this evening, a gin cocktail in front of a roaring fire. And it will all be that much sweeter because I rode outside today, when the wind was biting cold and the sky was winter-blanket grey.
Just the thought of it warms me up. I clip in and set off.