I wish I had video or pictures for this post -- words don't quite serve it justice.
After winding up the multiple days of Christmas celebration Marshall & I are driving home from my parents house. We are in Kate's Mitsubishi Eclipse and Kate's driving behind with the girls in the Prius. It's about 6pm & the side country roads are drivable but covered with hard packed snow -- not a good recipe for quality braking in case of emergency. And wouldn't you know it that's exactly when you need it.
A few miles into the drive before we get to the main hwy, I see at the furthest reach of my headlights -- two forest goats (aka white tail deer), slowly meandering across the road. One touch of the brakes with little or no deceleration gives me immediate clairvoyance of what's going to happen 8 seconds into the future. The rest unfolds at the speed of the Richard Gere Intersection film.
A second tap of the brakes starts the car in a rear leftward slide, only to be quickly righted again -- still no significant slowing of the car and two venison slabs looking more and more likely. The only option left was to shoot the middle and hope for the best. Initially it worked dodging the first deer but the second forest goat was determined not to have a Merry Christmas, hitting the front of the car, passenger side, getting tossed fully airborne straight over top of the car. That in it's self would have been amusing enough if not aggravating enough, but the force on the front passenger side of the car was enough to send the car spinning. As the rear side started to swing out across the road, soon Marshall & I are facing the opposite direction the car is moving -- strangely enough at the same time seeing the headlights of the Prius coming towards us. Perplexed whether I should go back to braking, start accelerating, or shift into reverse to end this out of control motion. I turn the wheel hard and brake, sending us into a second 180 that as good fortune would have it kept us back on the center of the road and soon facing perfectly straight ahead again.... to conveniently continue our drive home.
Though I eventually stopped to reassure Kate everything was ok (who was probably more shook up than I) and check that the deer was dead. Car damage was surprisingly minimal but presumably nice & costly. Have yet to get an estimate.
Outside of that excitement, life's been pretty normal since my last post. Sorry for the infrequency you've come to know.
No matter how many winters you go through there's an acclimation process to get through. Fortunately, training hasn't suffered & has been going strong. It's a hybrid form of cycling, skiing & core training that's providing variety and keeping things mentally fresh. About once a week the weather has been warm enough to get in a 4hr ride, but generally 90minutes with some kind of fundamental intervals has been the top end effort.
I really was looking forward to CX skiing this year but either conditions or my fitness on ski's is sorely lacking so it hasn't lived up to it's anticipation.
Sometimes I'm asked how in the world can you get out & bike in this kind of weather. Well, first off I don't like getting cold more than anyone else. If you can evaluate how to keep that in check, it's not really any different than riding any other time of year.
What works for me, might be overkill for someone else but below is the windy 25 degree & less type attire.
- Bibs (2) -- Full length winter bibs over a pair of summer bibs
- Socks (2) -- winter wool sock over summer cycling sock
- Boots -- wonderful winter Lake brand cycling boots (sometimes for overkill I still put plastic bags inside them for added wind protection) -- hand/feet chemical warmers I understand work well too. I've not needed to use them yet however.
- Shirts(2) -- normal sleeveless under layer with long sleeve wind blocking jersey top
- Jackets(3) -- fall/winter cycling jacket, lightweight wind breaker, rain jacket (tends to retain moisture inside but the wind NEVER cuts through
- Gloves -- Lobster mitts (usually good enough, unless real windy -- should find some good old fashion chopper mitts)
- Headcover -- if it's that cold, sorry but I drop the helmet idea. It's two balaclava. Otherwise it's one balaclava & the helmet.
Up next, 2008 recaps & sno-mo trail riding, if you've not yet done it.... You gotta try it!!!
Hope you all had a Merry Christmas - hitting deer optional.