Doing It Proper
Since I lamed out on posts most of the week and did an XXC "double post" yesterday, I figured I would do something more proper on yesterday's cold weather ride.
Mmmm... sun, snow and not a trainer in sight.
I spent all week on the trainer this week. That was due to a shit storm of trying to learn a new layout program (InDesign) at work and a series of cold, wet snow and ice storms we had here mid-mitten. But as the week progressed, the snow increased, became dryer (better) and the temp dropped like a bullet making the dirt roads more ride-able. But that temperature! Zero?? For realz??
There was no way I was riding on the trainer because as cold as it was outside, the sun was shining full on and I needed to soak up some vitamin D (even if my eyebrows and nose were the only visible parts of my body being exposed to the sun).
I figured with a few ghetto mods to my normal cool weather riding attire I could make the 9 degree ride time temperature feel a tad better.
Have the feeling this pic just went into some sort of file at the F.B.I.
In order of appearance....
1. Thin wicking socks.
2. Swiftwick wool socks.
3. Thin fake Under Armour type base layer.
4. Craft Windstopper base layer on top.
5. Bibs & fleece lined leg warmers.
6. Balaclava & XXC fleece beanie.
7. Endura cool weather jacket.
8. old Lake winter shoes
9. Giordana winter cycling gloves.
10. Lazer lid.
11. Under Armour wind pants.
12. Not on me, but on the bike Moose Mitts. (see XXC post for more).
I think it took me 35 minutes to get dressed. I think I lost 5 pounds in sweat before I made it out the door!! BUT, I made it out the door and that was a big step for me 'cause A. I hate being cold and B. I hate being cold.
As I rode the snow covered streets Ehm Pee heading out of town to the snow covered dirt roads I could not have been happier. My hands were warm, my legs were warm, I was geeked for a nice ride.
I sort of had an "oh shit" moment as I headed out Crawford and saw a GIANT snowplow coming at me. The plow down, snow exiting the side, GRRRRRRRPPPPPFFFFFLLLLLOOGGRRRRRRRRRPFFFFF!!!! I thanked Baby-J that it was on the OTHER side of the road and it was not coming up behind me. Me thinks I would have been turned into 200 pounds of 60% Fat Ground Mahokey.
Once on the farm roads the conditions were perfect! The snow was packed pretty well and the ruts weren't too bad. I am 72% certain that a Mukluk, Bully or Fatback would have rolled a bit better on the snow and given me just a tad more confidence, but I gotz to sell a LOT more XXC shit before a new bike is in the stable. Really, I was just happy to be outside in the sun, even if it was cold as tits.
"Climbs" were just a tad harder (better!) on the snow.
For the first hour+ I could not have been happier. My hands were warm, my feet were OK, and I was having fun in the snow on my bike.
Then it happened.
My warm fingers started sweating and while shielded from the wind and cold there was not getting around the fact it was COLD outside. Thus the fingers started to get cold REAL cold. Like can't let go of the bar 'cause it hurts, grit you teeth cold. Frig!! I KNEW I should have started back about 20 minutes ago. Now I'm stuck finishing out the loop!
Oh and then there's my feet. UG! The vintage Lakes are OK, but seem like anything longer than an hour in super cold temps and my feet are miserable. I kept trying to wiggle my toes, but there just isn't that much room in the toe box. Damn!
Oh well, I did what I could to ignore the pain and my inability to stay warm and just tried to enjoy the day; the sun, the warm intoxicating smell of cow manure, the site and sounds of snowmobiles passing me at roughly 110 mph and the joy of being on my bike instead of the trainer.
On a positive note I did use a small stainless steel insulated thermos on the bike and it allowed my sports drink to stay unfrozen. I also stashed a bottle in my jersey pocket under my jacket just in case. That worked well too. I was nice to be able to stay hydrated for a change on a cold ride.
The ride was not all that "epic" or hard as it was only just about 2:50 or so, but the conditions made me work all that harder and I noticed that my HR was averaging about 10 bpm more than usual. I also found that I burned a TON more calories than my usual CX loop on dry roads.
I can't say I'm anxious to be that cold again and I'm taking today off to lay around in a den of sloth (actually work on XXC) but I'm sure I will return to the snow covered roads soon. Each time I learn a little more. Then next project is my feet!!
I continue to be amazed at the folks who do the cold weather races and tours. I just do NOT know how they stay warm?? Balls... BIG balls.