Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Riding In Cold Weather

So this last weekend I got invited on a ride with a bunch of the faster guys in town. Which was both flattering and a little concerning. Because depending on the terrain and distance quite a few of those guys could drop me like a stone if they really felt like it. Not that I think they would do something like that. But it was still a concern to myself that I would get squirted out the back of the group never to be seen or heard from again.  I would have to start a new life in whatever fictitious town I was near. Places like Scio or Millersburg...

But happily I managed to hang on for the majority of the ride and didn't get dropped until Matt and Sage decided to up the speed to something I could no longer manage about a mile or so from where I turned off to go home. But it's all good. I had a fun time and it was a beautiful day. Now you are probably wondering if all this rambling has a point and I guess the short answer is yes. Gosh you're impatient!

You see this ride started out when the ambient air temperature was about 28 degrees Fahrenheit and finished at a balmy 34 degrees.  Now I knew all this before the start. At least that's pretty close to what the monkey that they have throwing darts at a board at the Weather Channel had to say.  So I got dressed up in what I would wear at that temperature. Figuring that everything would be fine.  But everything ended up not fine.

Unfortunately the ride started straight out of the house with about 10 minutes down hill.  So my extremities were already cold by the time we got to the meeting point. And I would love to say that it improved from there, but it didn't. My hands eventually warmed up some although there were several times when they would get cold for a spell and then they would be fine (Why do body parts do that?). I don't really understand why. But my poor toes froze on the way down and just got worse from there.

At about hour three I was getting concerned. I could still move them but I couldn't feel them. I had been using a pretty tried and true method for keeping my feet warm on extra cold rides. I have on wool cycling socks, my shoes, Defeet Slipstream over socks, and then a neoprene booties over the top of that. But one of my booties zippers died a couple weeks ago so I was trying a new Bontrager booty .  And I can tell you that while they do a pretty good job they certainly aren't as warm as the neoprene.

So by the time I got home after 4 hours on the road (about 3 1/2 hours of that with numb toes) I was a little nervous on what I would end up seeing underneath. Lucky everything was okay (I was going to put an image of some frostbitten toes (not mine) here but they're just gross. So if you really want to see. Look here.). I didn't jump straight in the shower though because I have felt that kind of pain before. So I let my toes come back half way to life before I made the plunge. And after a luke warm start all the way to an orgasmically scalding end I felt human again.

The next ride was last night for me. And the temps were still below the freezing mark (started right at freezing and ended at about 28).  So I wanted to try something different so I wouldn't end up with the same results. I tried some of those toe warmers on top of my shoe and underneath my over sock. And man, those things are awesome! I don't think they last as long as they advertise. But they helped keep my tootsies nice and toasty the whole ride. Big thumb up from me!

You maybe asking my why I just don't sit my ass on the trainer or go to the gym or something? And that's a fair question. But to me those things are unpleasant at best and completely unbearable at worst. So I try to avoid them as much as humanly possible. Kind of like ditch digging or wrestling alligators. Sometimes its necessary, but most of the time they can be avoided.

Another interesting thing happened on this group ride. But I think I leave that story for tomorrow (You see what I did there? That's called a hook.).

Rubber side down,

Big E

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