Tag Archives: p2p

A very cold adventure

Welcome to Wisconsin - when we made a gas / food stop at the Wisconsin dells at 5 in the morning, the temp had fallen to 12 degF. Eventually it would bottom out at -2 degF.Welcome to Wisconsin – when we made a gas / food stop at the Wisconsin dells at 5 in the morning, the temp had fallen to 12 degF. Eventually it would bottom out at -2 degF.

We are in cold, snowy Wisconsin after twenty hours of driving. The temperature fell from 50s degF in Alabama when we left to -2 degF by the time we arrived in Shell Lake. But the coldest I felt all day was at the end of my six hour ride to Cullman where Kristine was picking me up on our way to Wisconsin. It had started to rain hard at the bottom of Skyball Mountain and never let up in the final 26 miles of the nearly 100 mile route I took from my house to downtown Cullman. When Kristine met me, I was shivering uncontrollably and huddled behind a pillar to block the wind, which had fortunately been mostly a tailwind while I was still riding but immediately sent my core body temp plummeting as soon as I stopped riding.

My day started out early leaving my house shortly after 7AM to put in my Strava Shoot-out KOM effort on Vestavia Dr. After a long week of riding and only one day of rest, I didn’t know how it would go, but I ended up setting a new power record in the process of setting the KOM. I held just under 360 watts for the 11.5 minute climb (see graph below).

Critical power curve new power record on Vestavia Dr

The ride highlight for me, though, was discovering a super steep climb (possibly the steepest in Alabama) back in the Emerald Lakes neighborhood. It’s one of the only times I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it up a climb due to the severity of the gradient. Unfortunately, the GPS data from my Garmin was erased in the monsoon thunderstorm that hit at the bottom of Skyball mountain. The first video below documents one of the steep sections of the Emerald lake backside climb. The second video documents the status of my Garmin after it had unexpectedly powered down. I was able to power it back up, but the GPS data was gone for a majority of the ride.

Despite the GPS fail and the hypothermia at the end, it was still a great ride, and I’m super motivated to repeat the first part of the ride out to Skyball and back as soon as we make it back to Alabama so I can get the data on the Emerald Lakes backside climb. The kids were already skiing around the house this afternoon after we got a little bit of sleep, and they have a 1K kids ski race tomorrow in Spooner. Should be fun!

Sweet Home Alabama

Slushy road and huge snow drifts - can you tell which way the wind is blowing from?

It was an awesome trip to the midwest to visit Kristine’s family and enjoy a brief winter vacation, but now it’s back home to sweet home Alabama. Our long road back home started with a 9 hour drive from Shell Lake, WI to La Porte, IN. We went right by Madison, WI where cyclocross nationals is currently being held. It felt weird to be simply driving by such a major cycling event without stopping, but we had to get the kids back for school. There was no snow at all in Madison or anywhere in southern Wisconsin even though we had just left an 8 inch snowstorm in northern Wisconsin. There was also no snow in Illinois, but shortly after crossing the border into Indiana we ran into a pretty big lake effect snowstorm.

We finished the drive pretty slowly on snow covered roads, but made it safely to Kristine’s grandmother’s house in La Porte. It was 11PM and the kids had been sleeping for a while so Kristine went in with Analise first while I took a few pictures of the snow with Josiah still asleep in the car. It was very cold so I only took pictures for a minute and by then Josiah had woken up. So I helped him get his coat and boots on and told him to run to the front door while I got the suitcase we needed. A few seconds later I entered the house and Kristine asked where Josiah was? I thought she was joking at first and then thought he must have gone straight into the bedroom or bathroom. We looked briefly in the house and after not finding him ran back outside calling out for him. I ended up following his footprints in the snow to find him standing in front of the door of the house two doors down from Grandma Vivian’s. It gave us all a big scare for a minute because it was really cold and the wind was blowing 20+mph steady with higher gusts. I guess Josiah was still half asleep!

The next morning we had a 12 hour drive in front of us. I started about 2 hours early on my bike heading south hoping to make it 60 or 70 miles with a nice tailwind, but during the night the wind had changed direction so that is was a nasty side/headwind. I averaged 15mph on very flat roads to give you an idea of the nastiness of the wind. When I left La Porte, I had to negotiate about 1/2 mile of unplowed roads before making it to the state highway which was still slushy and wet, but at least had two clear tracks between the snow. I knew that this wouldn’t last long so I rode my road bike fishtailing through the snow for that first half-mile. Then it was just really wet with an air temp of 15 degF and a constant 15+mph sidewind. This was by far the coldest ride I did during our trip. Also, because of the slow speed I was traveling I didn’t get a chance to make it through the flatlands to the nice hills around the Wabash river basin. Instead, I took Kristine on a drive through those same roads that I would have been riding. There was some really fun hills and drop-offs in the car. The kids loved it!

Here are a couple Garmin screenshots that illustrate how flat the ride was that I did.

Side by side comparison of a flat ride through the farmlands south of La Porte and a small portion of my commute into work yesterday back here in Birmingham. Note the 15.5 degF temp on the left, 7.85 miles into the ride with only 81' of climbing. On the right, I already had 699' of climbing only 3.9 miles into the ride, which was almost the total amount of climbing in my 43 mile ride in Indiana (710').