My ideal Thanksgiving weekend usually involves some combination of skate skiing, downhill skiing and snowshoeing. After all, it’s important to work off the copious amounts of turkey, pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes consumed in a single day.
But with a sunny, high pressure weather system parked over the Wasatch this year, my husband and I decided to make the best of the unseasonably warm temperatures. So we bundled up in our winter road biking gear and headed off on one of our favorite rides.
We looked slightly ridiculous, but no worse than the other roadies braving the cold over the weekend. When you’re riding road bikes in the winter, it isn’t about making a fashion statement. We certainly didn’t look like the pro cycling teams during their early spring training rides. No matching kits for us.
Clothed in the requisite full length cycling pants and multiple layers up top, we also wore hats under our helmets and booties over our road bike shoes as added insulation against the wind. And we couldn’t forget the thick hand wear that I affectionately refer to as my snowmobile gloves. Except that I don’t snowmobile. While offering enough finger dexterity for shifting and braking, these babies keep my hands and fingers toasty warm. Even though they look like I should be using a throttle instead.
Despite all of our preparations, I forgot one crucial item this year – a neck gaiter to keep my chin and cheeks protected when riding at 25 mph. I shivered through the first few minutes of the ride until the climb warmed me up and then I was fine. Yes, it had been a year since we had last ridden in temperatures below 40 degrees and I felt it.
While it was great to spin, climb and descend without an ounce of snow on the shoulder, we discovered an additional benefit of road biking on Thanksgiving Day – virtually no traffic. The normally congested Kimball Junction area was so clear that we pedaled past restaurants and hotels without having to make eye contact with the bevy of drivers out and about. And while heading past the sheep fields, we were only passed by two cars. It was like having a road race course all to ourselves.
We arrived home anxious for a hot shower to warm up. But I have to admit that we enjoyed being outside, getting a great work out and doing something that most normal Americans wouldn’t even consider on this day of feasting and football. Still, a powder day would have made us even more thankful.
Liz Yokubison, Senior Editor of Jans.com