Picked up a light for night riding this week, so when Robert posted to the NMB Forum that he was doing a night ride at Lock 4 up in Gallatin I committed. After a brief stop by Biker Choice to warranty the crank from my cyclcross bike, I headed to the trail head arriving about 30 minutes before sunset. I hurriedly put on my gear and headed out for a quick lap solo. About 2/3rds of the way in, I was forced to turn the light on for the first time. It really was like riding in the daylight, except that the sun was only shining on a 30 foot patch of woods.
I finished up the lap and pedaled to the parking lot. There was a group of about 6 getting ready. I was really hot and sweaty when I arrived and two of the other guys, Keith and Adam (the other 29er ss riders) had also taken a lap and were rapidly cooling off as we waited for Robert, Jeremy and Michael to get ready. The three of us finally took off in hopes of keeping warm. Second Lap was pretty mellow, just me following the guys around. The laps take a little longer when it's cold and dark. When we came around for the third lap, I immediately shouldered into a tree and started to think twice about my diet for the day. I'd only had a bowl of oatmeal and a spinach salad and there I was, at 6:15pm, riding miles 13-19, in 28 degree weather. I tried to bail after the first loop, but Keith gave me a hard time and I pressed on, actually feeling pretty damn good by the end. I pretty much threw my bike in the car, changed clothes and beat it for home.
A brief detour by Target to pick up something for my wife (Pharmacist thought I was drunk, must have been the red eyes and delirium) then home where delivery was waiting. Soup, Onion Rings, French Dip, Salad, a beer (Ellies Brown Ale) some water and I was pretty much done, layed out on the floor. All that riding in the dark takes supreme focus and it really wore me out, but I'll be back next week, hopefully won't be so cold.