10 Degree Century Ride
January 2, 2010
by Laurence D. Preble, D.C.

Bicycle riding is not usually an extreme sport, but for
the Louisville Bicycle Club's Mad Dogs, it can be.
Today, four intrepid adventurers set out from
Scottsburg, Indiana on Melissa “Puddle” Hall's Century
Ride, “Journey to Orleans.” All of us had previously
enjoyed this moderately hilly route, but today was
different-today, it was 10 degrees at ride start!

By mile fifty, even my heated bottles had begun to grow icicles.

Puddle rolled through some glass and flatted around the first third of the ride. Steve’s quick and nimble hands made short work of the repair before they had a chance succumb to frostbite. I was impressed! Meanwhile, I added a chemical warmer to my bike shoes to ward off frozen toes. By mile fifty, the temperature had soared to 17 degrees! My toes were starting to feel warm again, but I was a little worried about the pins and needles sensation as they thawed out.

“That can't be good,” I said. 

Bill commented, “I wonder what color they will be when you get home to take off the shoes!”

“Probably, the same color as my gloves (black), but toes are grossly overrated.”

“Yeah,” Bill said, “How many toes do you really need, after all?”

Actually, the toes were fine. But the Mad Dogs cannot resist that kind of banter.

At each store stop, the clerks were amazed. “You guys must really enjoy bike riding!”

Well, yeah!

“Is that dedication or is that just insanity?”

“Perhaps a little of both.  After all, they do call us the ‘Mad’ Dogs.”

We took our time today, and focused on safety. We arrived back at the firehouse with a warm feeling of accomplishment that will carry us well into 2010. Thanks Puddle, there are very few Ride Captains with your sense of adventure. I know that I will be back for further adventures on your watch!

Larry “Gizmo” Preble

Eleven degrees had been my own previous personal record, and that was only for a 25 mile ride; so, this was new territory for me, but the Mad Dogs had their origins forged in fire and ice, making this a fitting excursion for the toughest of this breed.
Last night, I had raised a red flag of concern with
Puddle when I called to ask about the ride. Her husband had answered the phone and did not pass my name on to Mellissa. When she picked up, a note of skepticism weighed heavily in her tone. The poor gal has experienced several occasions where woefully unprepared riders had shown up to do some of her toughest centuries. At last, she asked if this was Larry Preble talking and breathed a sigh of relief when I let her know it was her old friend.

Bright and early, we assembled at the Finley Firehouse. We were immediately impressed and amused at Steve Rice’s creative approach to keeping the wind off his 

Vehicle Thermomenter shows Temperature at Ride Start
toes-duct tape on the bike shoes! As we headed out, a fierce headwind whipped at our noses and bit into our cheeks. It did not take long before we decided on a rotating pace line to shelter the riders.

By the time we reached the first store stop in Medora, Indiana, I was astounded when Bill Pustow actually agreed
Duct tape keeps wind out of the bike shoes
to a picture! (He normally hates pictures!) But this was more like “Show and Tell.” Bill was sporting multiple icicles growing from his beard!

Of course, most of our water bottles had frozen. Fortunately, it was so cold that we had sweated very little. My bottles had remained fluid, only because I had earlier filled then with boiling liquid! That did not last the whole ride, however.

Bill sports icicles on his beard
Larry Preble at the finish with icicles dripping from water bottle