Worth a Try

It was some time early Monday when the local weatherpersons started sounding the alarms.  Warnings were issued, shelters were opened, the city braced for imminent disaster.  Yes, the temperature was going to dip below 32° F.  The prediction for the city went as low as 27, but I had my doubts about that. With all of the water around us here in New Orleans, and its attendant specific heat, along with the abundance of asphalt and concrete in the immediate vicinity of my own house, we rarely hit th It was some time early Monday when the local weatherpersons started sounding the alarms.  Warnings were issued, shelters were opened, the city braced for imminent disaster.  Yes, the temperature was going to dip below 32° F.  The prediction for the city went as low as 27, but I had my doubts about that. With all of the water around us here in New Orleans, and its attendant specific heat, along with the abundance of asphalt and concrete in the immediate vicinity of my own house, we rarely hit the predicted lows.  So when I woke up this morning and saw the thermometer reading around 32°, I wasn’t too surprised.  I knew it would feel a couple of degrees colder up on the levee, but the wind was relatively light and had already started switching around to the East, so I layered up in winter gear, including my brand new Giordana NOBC jacket, slathered some chap stick on my cheekbones and nose, and set out for the levee.  It was definitely worth a try, even though I knew there was no way I was going to make it all the way out to Destrehan as we usually do on Tuesdays. Nor was I holding out a lot of hope that there would be anyone else out there, but at least I knew I could easily get in 25 miles or so without getting too uncomfortable.  These modern riding clothes are just awesome.  There was a time when this sort of weather would find me either sleeping in, or riding in wool tights with a scratchy leather chamois, a heavy wool and nylon jacket with newspaper stuffed underneath, and suffering immediately with cold hands and even colder feet. To my surprise, there were two people waiting when I got to the levee (a couple of minutes late, of course), and so we headed up the river without delay.  Once we rounded the Ochsner bend the light wind, which seemed to be coming largely from the east, was more or less at our backs, keeping us relatively warm, or at least relatively less cold. Within a couple of miles I was already reaching for the zipper on my wind vest as I sat there in Woody’s draft.  Of course, the bike path was particularly quiet this morning, so we pretty much had the whole thing to ourselves. Every now and then Woody would reluctantly drop back so we could each take brief pulls, but for the most part he was doing more than his fair share today.  We turned around at the parish line, knowing better than to gamble on extending the downwind leg on such a chilly day.  The return trip turned out to be mostly into a light headwind and as we made our way back toward town I could feel the cold starting to work its way through shoe-covers and gloves into my feet and hands.  Our timing was good and I got back home a bit cold but still a long way from miserable, feeling good that I’d made the decision to give it a try today. 

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