Saturday was the Cystic Fibrosis Cycle For Life, which is a bicycle ride designed to raise money for research into a cure for CF. Last year it was the first distance ride I had ever ridden, and it was a great experience. I was looking forward to doing the ride again this year for several reasons: the chance to help support a worthy cause, and also to experience once again the camaraderie among the cyclists at an event like this.
Last year the ride started with temperatures in the mid-50s (14C), but quickly warmed up into the 70s – nearly ideal. We weren’t so lucky this year. A cold front moved into south Texas on Friday, bringing a bunch of wind and rain, and dropping temperatures to the low 40s. I didn’t have the right clothing for riding in these temperatures, so I ran around to several stores getting what I needed in the days before the ride. Still, I wasn’t looking forward to riding 62 miles in the cold, wet weather, and apparently neither were most other riders, as there were only a few dozen riders who showed up, compared with several hundred last year.
It was drizzling when we started the ride, and within a couple of miles I lost all sensation in my fingers. I’ve lived for many years in cold climates, and while I can handle the cold for the most part, my hands were always the most vulnerable. Fortunately, at the first rest stop some kind soul gave me a “HotHands” warmer I could slip into my glove, and slowly regained feeling in my right hand. I switched it to the left glove at the next stop, and my hands were OK for the rest of the ride.
The organizers had decided to eliminate the longer 62-mile course, so everyone did the 32-mile route. That was good, because by the time I finished my feet were numb, and I was chilled to the bone. The warm cup of coffee I had in the tent afterwards felt incredible!
Now that it’s over, I’m glad I stuck to it and completed the ride, but it only served to confirm why I moved to South Texas in the first place: the warm weather! I can definitely do without another experience like this one.