Hey! Where did my toes go?

I’m glad to now be able to type this. I can feel the tips of my fingers again. Maybe soon I’ll be able to feel my toes!

All dressed up for the 25 degree weather

All dressed up for the 25 degree weather

One thing about having a coach – you find that times when you wouldn’t normally ride you’ll pull yourself out on the bike and complete your workout. Today I was supposed to do an over-and-back-and-up of Paris Mountain. After coming back to the CVS side I was to give a 15 minute effort up that side before turning around and coming home.

When it is cold outside, I’ve found that it is a good idea not to think about it. Just head home from work, get dressed, and don’t think about what you are about to do. It worked this time.

I came home and put on my bibs, two sets of leg warmers, two sets of arm warmers, a base layer, a jersey, and a thick vest. My feet had wool socks with shoe covers. My hands had two sets of gloves – the outer set being 30 degree gloves. Finally, on my head I had a balaclava and my helmet. In my vest pocket I had a thin windbreaker and a skull cap just in case.

When I first started out in the 37 degree weather, I started to think that perhaps I had overdressed. I was quite comfortable. Once I got going into my warm up I was feeling pretty warm. However, I noticed that even during my effort up the State Park side of the mountain I wasn’t even sweating.

The sun was starting to dip on the other side of the ridge and my temperature field was now reading 30 degrees. Still, it didn’t feel so bad. Where I was at this point there wasn’t much wind and the effort was keeping me warm.

Then I reached the top. The cold was starting to find its way into my gloves. My face was starting to feel tight. It was 25 degrees at the top. In under forty minutes I went through a 12 degree temperature drop.

Now it was time to go down! Besides the wind generated from the descent, I also came upon sections of the road where the wind was a howling crosswind.  I found myself having to lean my bike to keep from getting blown over by the gusts. By the time I reached to bottom all my extremities were getting numb.

At the bottom I adjusted some clothing and then started back up. Ahhhh, it was a relief to avoid the wind of the descent. However, after turning a few corners I found that the crosswind on the way down had also been a tailwind at times… this meant I was now riding into a gusting headwind.

At the top I pulled out the windbreaker. I knew I needed it as I headed down the longer State Park side. With the balaclava pulled over my nose and the extra layer I was feeling a bit better. At least now I was about halfway through. The workout wasn’t my concern at this point – I just wanted to get home!

I managed to finish it up. By the time I was done I had ice forming in my water bottle and the bearings on my front wheel were sounding like they were freezing together in the cold when I reached a certain speed. Still, other than my toes, fingers, and face I was doing pretty well.

Coming into the warm house my toes and fingers began to ache. I knew better than to warm them up too quickly! I changed out of my kit (that had hardly any moisture from sweat) into some warm clothes.

It was then I was glad I did it. I also knew that I would have done the same thing again. I also know that I can handle this cold… at least down to 25 degrees! I’ll probably need that knowledge on my Friday ride.