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Sunday, February 4, 2007

Polar Bear Sunday Meets Super Bowl Sunday

Almost everyone is thinking about Super Bowl Sunday which is today. The game is scheduled to start in about one hour and 20 minutes. I don't have much planned for the big game. Jane has some snacks in the freezer and the usual assortment of dips and chips. I'm just about thawed out from taking my Polar Bear Sunday ride. That's my excitement for the day.

It was about 15 degrees out this morning and the weather people were saying that the wind chill would be near zero. Of course that's at walking speed. I was scheduled to ride my 2000 Honda Gold Wing Motor Trike 65 miles to Rockaway, New Jersey at 65 mph speeds. God only knows what the wind chill figures out to be under those conditions but I was about to find out.

I have an electric vest, electric gloves, and electric socks to keep me warm on severe winter rides. I haven't worn the electric socks for maybe 10 years and I was thinking seriously about wearing them for the ride this morning, that is until I tried to get my boots on.

I wanted to wear two pairs of socks with the electric ones on the outside. Unfortunately, I couldn't get my boots on. So, I settled for a pair of ski socks followed by a pair of regular socks -- that left room for my foot to fit in the boot. However, I know that my feet are always the coldest on a trip of this kind so I was a bit worried.

My attire for the trip was: tee shirt, turtleneck, long silk leggings, jeans, ski-type overalls and bib, jacket lining, electric vest, outer Kilimanjaro jacket, double socks, leather boots, glove silks, electric gloves, balaclava, and full-face helmet. Oh, and I wear foam earplugs to reduce riding and wind noise.

I started out at 9:30 a.m. and rode a mile to the gas station that was on the way. People do look at you like you're crazy when they are all snug in their cages and you're exposed to the elements on a motorcycle. I'm used to it since I've been riding every winter for the last 15 years. I wasn't sure what route I was going to take. I had programmed my GPS with the address of the destination just so I'd have the companionship of that GPS voice telling me "Off Route!" every time I'd make a turn she didn't like. Also, I am wont to get lost at times and she has saved my hide more than once.

After I had ridden nearly 10 miles, I began to realize that I was still very cold at high speeds, especially my feet. If I kept going to the Parkway and Interstate, most of the trip would be at 70 mph. I decided to slow things down and take a more direct route that would hit the state highways and back roads and quite a few traffic lights. That meant I would be slowing down and stopping at times and warming up. That's what I did. Unfortunately, the GPS voice was really talking incessantly now as I continued to reject her suggestions for turns.

The trip went well except for the coldness in my feet. When I got to the destination, I took a few quick pictures and then hurried inside to sign-in and warm up. I spent maybe 20 minutes trying to get my feet to realize that it was now warm. They weren't cooperating but I had to get back on the road to make the 65 mile trip back. I went outside and took more pictures and finally got all my protective gear on, started up the trike, and pressed the GPS "Home" button.

When I got home, I turned on the gas fireplace, made myself a hot chocolate, and settled down to warm up my feet while I watched Super Bowl preliminaries and sipped my drink. When I felt almost normal, I processed the pictures I took today and updated the Polar Bear Grand Tour site. Here are the pictures. I hope you all appreciate the sacrifices I make to bring these pictures to you. Now the Super Bowl Sunday game is only 25 minutes away. I've almost forgotten my Polar Bear Sunday ... until next week when I have to travel 70 miles to the next run. Maybe it'll be spring by then.

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