|A very frozen central Jersey corn field|
|Left to right: Paul, Al, Joe and Chris at the start|
|Heading out on the first few miles|
After a few photos our band of heavily dressed riders departed to the sound of cheering (courtesy of my wife who had driven me to the start). The wind was mostly in our favor for the 35 mile stretch to Jackson meaning that the return trip would be mostly into the wind. At least it was predicted to be somewhat warmer in the afternoon with a high temperature around 25F. The roads on the route were largely clear, although we had to dodge the occasional icy patch. In some of the open areas snow drifted onto the roads, but only in a few spots. With the sun shining it didn't feel all that bad, I would even venture to say I was enjoying it. With the wind pushing us along and no big hills to climb we arrived at the Jackson Premium Outlet Mall in good time. This being our halfway point we took the opportunity to refuel. The food court was a warm refuge from the elements. With sandwiches, pizza and other offerings there was something there for each of us. After a relaxing lunch we headed back out for the return trip to Hillsborough knowing that it would be tougher than the ride out.
|Enjoying the warmth of the Jackson Outlet Food Court|
|Paul with a warm smile|
|Al leads the way (except Chris who is ahead taking the photo)|
|Chris' two rides. One is a fixed gear (fueled by popcorn)|
Chris was definitely the spark that got the ride together. She wanted to begin a round of P-12 rides this being number one. She didn't let the less than ideal conditions scare her off. The rest of us followed her lead. Paul, undecided as to the P-12 award now has the first one in the bank should he later choose to go for it. Al and I both have a 100k Populaire on the books for January that was completed on New Year's Day relegating this ride to the status of just for the fun of it.
Only two years ago it would have taken a team of horses to drag me out in similar conditions. I never cease to be amazed at how adaptable we can be. Riding in the cold conditions one for riding in the cold. At this point a 30 degree day feels balmy. Having said that my next brevet is to be a 300k in Florida, where most days this month have reached above the 60 degree mark. However, should there be a sudden cold snap I'm more confident that I can deal with it.