What Would the Badger Do?

Today I went for a ride, and the balmy late fall weather we've been having suddenly turned to winter. I left the house around 9am and it was right around 40 degrees. About 20 minutes into the ride it started to rain, although not too hard. Normally when I'm facing tough conditions while out on a ride I try to ask myself "What Would Eddy Do?" (For those of you not versed in the history of professional road cycling, Eddy Merckx is a Belgian cycling legend, akin to the Richard Petty of the sport. If I have to explain who Richard Petty is I'm not quite sure what to say, except that you must not be living in the South.)

Eddy Merckx

Richard Petty

Usually the answer to WWED is "Pedal harder", which I try to do, with varying degrees of success. However, while Eddy was no stranger to riding in bad weather, when the challenge is bad weather I've always been taken by the following image of Bernard Hinault. He is a French cycling champion nicknamed "The Badger", and a certified Hardman. This is from the 1980 Bastogne-Liege race - as you can see from the combination of clothing and falling snow, the weather turned on a dime when they started up one of the mountains on the ride.

Bernard Hinault

So, deciding not to be daunted by the weather, I bundled up in various layers, including a scarf to keep my face warm. I did a pretty good job of guessing how much to wear, although it's always something of a lost cause as if you're warm enough on the downhill sections you'll be too hot when climbing, and similarly if you dress for the climbing sections. I picked out a simple out-and-back route, which is 19.5 miles in total, starting at our house and going to the southern end of Orange Grove Rd. I have a goal of being able to ride this particular course in under an hour, but I'm not exactly there yet. I averaged 17.3mph today, and that's about as fast as I can go for that distance.

Not Bernard Hinault

Note: I did wear a helmet on the ride, Mom.