Local Road Ride
+23F and falling, very windy
Having gotten my intensity workout in for the weekend on skis yesterday, today was going to be a LSD (long, slow, distance) ride. I've been mostly skiing on the coldest days this season. Feeling a little wiped out with wind chills around 0F took extra motivation to head out today. I think blogging you're going to do it, knowing many acquaintances are going to read it, provides additional incentive.
Really, only the first 2-3 miles are rough. I bomb down a 250ft vertical drop in 2mi from my house to start any ride. Without any time to warm up, an instant ice cream headache results. Eyes tear up so bad that blinking splashes the tears against the inside of the glasses. Even though I was going easy today, I went fairly hard starting out to get past the initial discomfort hurdle. Then it was 20 miles straight into the wind. Once blood started flowing, feeling came back to my nose and risk of frostbite vanished.
I went up to Manchester airport, where it must have been 5-10 degrees colder. I passed another rider near the airport, thinking I wasn't the only wacko roadie out today. It was Glen (NorEast Cycling). He thought same about me. Ironically, we just missed hooking up to ride together this morning with emails that crossed paths. Then later we literally crossed paths riding. He was doing CW loop, I CCW loop.
So how do you stay comfy on days like today? On top, I wore a Castelli MicroSpitech fabric jersey. This must make continuous skin contact to shuttle moisture away from skin properly. I have four such jerseys (different labels, but all based on Castelli fabric). They make superb base layers. Next is Pearl Izumi Kodiac jersey. This is heavy weight. It too must hug the base layer without excessive voids to continue the wicking process. Outer layer is Pearl Izumi Zephyr shell. It is polyester, blocks wind, wicks moisture. On bottom, I wore Pearl Izumi AmFib tights. Normally these are enough by themselves, but I wanted extra knee protection today so I put on lightweight nylon-based shell. It is windproof in front, spandex in back for moisture control. Feet were covered by standard cycling socks, Sidi Dominator MTB shoes, and Performance neoprene booties. The booties are best around IMO, and on sale are only $19.95. They are fleece lined, have rubber soles, and will last at least one season. It is very important to not clinch down shoes tightly when it is cold. You must maximize blood flow. I used Pearl Izumi lobster mitts on the hands. Gloves don't work for me. The PI mitts work well if you don't sweat too hard, as they tend not to wick well but do block wind well. Topping things off, I used a WindTec balaclava (no longer available) and additional windproof ear band since my ears are sensitive to cold. I applied Dermatone to exposed facial bits to prevent windburn and reduce chance of frostbite.
I managed to stay completely comfortable for 95% of the ride. Just starting out and one bit heading into gale force winds by the airport had my face hurting. Roads were clean. Could have taken a good bike out today.