Cold Cycling

[caption id="attachment_4690" align="alignright" width="234" caption="This will not be tomorrow as I will not have buddies with me"]cold_cylcling_winter_gear[/caption] Tomorrow I am planning on heading to Texas Motor Speedway to get in a one hour recovery ride.  This one hour will yield approximately 4 laps around the 5 mile loop.  The reason I am going there is that there is no traffic, but the downside is that there is a 2 mile stretch on the backside of the track that is always straight into a headwind and this time of the year that wind freezes you to the bone. I am kind of nervous about going out there for fear of this cold (us Texans don't do well below 45*) because it was earlier this year that I rode with Shannon of IronTexas Mommy and felt like a popsicle while we were riding.  When we got there I had a fleece lined dri-fit shirt on, gloves, pants and was ready to ride for a few hours.  Shannon asked me if I would be cold and I told her no that I could handle it.  One loop (approximately 15 minutes) and I had to stop and layer up.  We looked like two homeless people riding TT bikes.  There were all kinds of clothes in all kinds of different colors.  Maybe a better description would be cycling rainbows. It was so cold that when we rounded one corner Shannon read a word that was not what she said out loud.  What she said out loud was 'SOUP' and I wish I could remember the word but it was nowhere near SOUP, although hot soup in my Speedfil would have been perfect right then.  One positive that I remember from that day was drinking hot coffee when I got home.  The best coffee ever. As we near the colder and colder temps and we take our rides inside on trainers I cannot only ride on the trainer.  I need to get outside and ride as there are things that you cannot replicate while riding the trainer.  This means that I need to check my inventory of cold weather training gear and make sure that I am prepared before I head outside.  Luckily enough for me there is a Strategy Guide and Gear List on for me to follow. Here are the tips from the article, but click the link above to read the entire article:

Knowing Is Half the Battle

Often, however, problems occur when the temperature is in the 40- or 50-degree range and people are unprepared for sudden weather changes; like an approaching storm that makes conditions wet and/or windy. For example, a 40-degree Fahrenheit ambient temperature changes to 34 degrees on your skin with the addition of a 10-mph headwind. Add a cycling speed of 20mph into that headwind and the wind chill takes the temperature to a burr-cold 28 degrees Fahrenheit. You can increase the fun factor on these long rides by protecting yourself from the outside elements, like wind and rain, and keeping sweat off of your skin. Starting from toe to head, here's a shopping list of gear to get you started:
  • Make sure your socks give your toes enough room to move. Cramped toes are cold toes. Be sure your socks are made out of moisture-wicking material.
  • Wear booties to keep the wind off of your toes. For cool temperatures, try the wind-stopper booties. For colder temperatures, neoprene materials are great.
  • [caption id="attachment_4689" align="alignright" width="120" caption="Fortunately We Don't Get Much Snow Here In Texas"]winter_cycling_tips_gear[/caption] For your legs, wear tights or leg warmers, with or without wind protection on the front.
  • Wrap your torso with a base layer that wicks moisture away from your body, a second layer to insulate, and a third layer that provides wind protection, yet allows moisture to escape.
  • Gloves or lobster-claw mittens with wind-stopper material on the outside and moisture-wicking material next to your hands.
  • Use an oil-based moisturizer for your face. Water-based lotions wet the skin, increasing the likelihood of frostnip or frostbite. Or consider a balaclava to cover your face. For athletes with asthma, a balaclava can slow moisture loss and help pre-heat cold air before you suck it into your lungs.
  • For head protection, a helmet cover and ear warmers is my favorite combo. If it gets too hot, I can easily peel off the helmet cover or pull down the ear warmers. Others prefer a skull cap that fits under a cycling helmet.
  • Fill your insulated bottles or hydration bladder with hot energy drink. A good apple flavor mimics hot apple cider.
  • In your pocket, carry small chemical packs such as Sports Heat. These are little packages that produce heat once the outer wrapping is opened. Carry a package of these to warm fingers and hands that have changed a flat tire.
  • If you ride in remote locations, carry a cell phone in case you need to call for help. While you are waiting for your ride, keep warm by putting the chemical packs in your shoes or gloves.
  • Find buddies who are willing to ride in the cooler conditions. Looking forward to riding with a group is much easier than facing chilly temperatures on your own.
I have long cycling tights, moisture-wicking gloves, socks, booties (Thank You Shannon), and oil based moisturizer.  What I don't have tomorrow is buddies who are willing to ride with me.  I asked two friends to join me and both gave me a resounding:  sure I'll let you know.  Hey guys just tell me no from the get-go as I know you are not coming with me.  So tomorrow I will brave the cold/wind and get my recovery ride in and begin to face the cold weather rides head on.

Do You Have All YOur Cold Weather Gear Up To Date?

What Is The Coldest Temperature You Have Ever Ridden In?

==================== I am hosting a giveaway on my Facebook page.  Provide the best name for my shoes for the Las Vegas Marathon and you will receive a CTER Shirt and a 6 pack of HoneyMilk
Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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