Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Baby It's Cold Outside (but I'm Not)

The forecast was clear for Saturday. Not a drop of rain in sight. The only caveat was chilly temps. On Tuesday an email started circulating the office seeing who wanted to ride. The message included a suggestion to “dress warm”. When I got the invite, I sent HS a text to see if he wanted to ride. His response was “It is your birthday, if that’s what you want to do.” Yes, that’s what I want to do! The past few months of marathon training had left me longing for my bike. I was thrilled that the group decided to ride. I told HS that I really wanted to ride and added that I had ordered some new Pearl Izumi gear that I wanted to try out. “Then we’ll go for a ride” he answered.

The group finalized our plans. We were going to do the “Clements Loop” as we call it. It is roughly a 40 mile route with a coffee stop about half way through and some nice rolling hills. We would meet at the boss’s house and head out at 8:30am. Only a few of our group’s normal riders opted out due to existing plans. Nobody opted out due to the weather.

On Thursday, HS, who must have been checking the weather forecast, sent me a text that read “Are you wanting to ride in freezing weather Saturday?” According to him it was going to be around 28 degrees. I got online and checked for myself. My forecast showed a low of 35 with a high of 50. That doesn’t sound too bad. Besides, my cold weather gear was scheduled to be delivered that day and I really, really wanted to try it out...

My Order

Thursday afternoon I was thrilled to see the familiar black and white packaging sitting on the kitchen counter. I tore into the bag and started pull stuff out…wool socks, thermal shoe covers, wool long sleeve shirt, and thermal tights. HS walked over and looked at my pile of gear. I proudly held up each piece and told him what is was.

Lots of good stuff!

HS: “No wonder you don’t care that it’s going to be freezing on Saturday! What am I going to wear?” 
IN MY MIND: Uh, oh. 
ME: “You have stuff.” (Lame) 
HS: “Not like this” (referring to my pile of cold weather gear) 
ME: “We could go shopping” (Weak)
HS didn’t want to go shopping and said that he would find something. 

I followed him into our room and into the closet as he started looking for something warm to wear. Thankfully, we had both picked up a pair of  Pearl Izumi AmFIB Cycling Tights (good for temps between 30-45) a couple of seasons ago at REI during their end of season clearance. The tights were a steal and normally a bit too warm for our rides. I decided that I was going to wear these tights on Saturday and save my new pair for warmer weather.

Once HS was able to cobble together a warm enough outfit, I felt a bit better. The only problem was his gloves. I thought he had bought a pair at last year’s REI clearance sale, but he didn’t. I guess I was the only one lucky enough to find decent pair at that sale. I had been itching to try out my gloves for a while, but it just never seem cold enough. The gloves have a temp rating of  0-40 degrees. Usually, if it dips below 40 I stay home and ride the trainer.


Lets Ride!

Saturday finally rolled around and I was up early airing tires, filling water bottles, and laying out my new gear. My only disappointment was the fact that the striking, screaming pink and yellow jersey that I ordered was shipped from the east coast and would not be arriving for several more days. Meh! I put on my long sleeve wool base layer shirt, my cycling shorts and my wool socks and went to study the thermal jerseys hanging in my closet. 

I considered a white Louis Garneau jersey with pink and black piping that is cute but not very warm. Next up was a vintage Skittles jersey that is warm but fits sort of weird. My last option was a red Performance Bike store brand jersey...it’s warm, but not very interesting. I decided to play it safe and picked the warmer jersey. I then decided that although I was feeling nice and toasty in the house, things would change quickly once we started riding. I decided to wear my Women's ELITE WxB Jacket over the red jersey. This would keep the wind out and hide the red. Problem solved.

Everyone was on time and ready to go. Once we were all out of our vehicles and getting into our cycling gear the question started circulating the group… ”Who’s idea was it to start riding at 8:30???” It was definitely cold. I popped the tag off of my shoe covers and placed them over my shoes. I made quick work of the transition from street shoes to riding shoes. I then zipped up my jacket and snapped on my helmet. Last but not least were my gloves. They may not have matched my outfit, but they were definitely warm. I had a bit of a chill as I waited for everyone else to get ready, but it didn’t seem unbearable.

Ready to go!

HS Bundled Up

The boss's wife came out to see us off. She was on her way to a nice warm yoga class and clearly thought we were crazy. We hit the road and within minutes the pace picked up. I quickly found myself playing "catch up" and wondered if my legs would hold out for an entire ride at this pace. Luckily, I think it was just the guys' attempt to warm up because about a mile or so into the ride the pace settled down and everyone started chatting. Whew!

Nice and Warm

It was a beautiful, clear winter day. To make things ever better was the fact that I was not cold! As we rode along I would hear comments from the guys about cold feet, not being able to feel fingers, and freezing faces. Iced over mud puddles along the road reminded me that we were riding in very, very cold weather (at least for us). I decided to not mention that I was feeling quite comfortable.

Views like this make it hard to ride on the trainer
Having the right gear made all the difference for me on this ride. I've done cold rides before and have been absolutely miserable. That was not the case today. Today I was prepared!

This scarf (from my IRONMAN Vineman goody bag) kept my face warm

My first pair of thermal shoe covers. Why didn't I buy these sooner?

Warmest gloves I have ever used
After completing my first cold weather ride with appropriate gear, I can honestly say I would do it again and again and again. Being outside, riding with friends is so much nicer than being on the trainer!

Post ride beer.
The guys left it outside to chill while we rode :-)

#endureandenjoy365 #ride365 #pearlizumi #REI

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