Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Cold

Well it's cold out.  Has been the last two weeks.  I don't thinks it's been above zero for over two weeks and we have had the coldest weather in 30 years.  All the canals are frozen solid and ice skating fever is gripping the nation.

The good part is the first week was a rest week and I could afford some time off from training.  The bad part is it's gone on a lot longer than I'd anticipated.  I borrowed a trainer the first few days for some mind draining boring riding in front of a movie.  After this I just had to ride on a road or in a forest. 

So it was -19 Celsius in the morning but fortunately up to about -6 when I finally ventured out.  A blast in the forest for two hours was great.  We even managed to get the gang together for a three hour ride the next day at about -9 back in the forests..  I've managed to commute to work at down to -14 this week and learnt several valuable lessons along the way.

When it's cold and I mean really cold everything freezes.  The puddles that were in the forest that I'd forgotten about were rock hard smooth ice and now covered in snow.  Yes I bit the dust in a big heap.  No damage done but looked a fool.  Carrying water is useless as within 30 minutes it's frozen solid.  A sports drink does last a bit longer but not by much.  All week I've had ice freeze to my face.  People have certainly given me some odd looks during my commute.

I also learnt that riding harder and faster is not always the best way to stay warm.  At -6 I rode fast and starting sweating.  When we slowed down I got cold.  The next day I wore less clothing at -9 but steady all day and was warmer.

I've also learnt that it's impossible to keep my feet warm.  I tried two pairs of socks and two sets of boots over the top and still had cold feet. I've had toasty warm hands all week in Ski Gloves and the legs are only cold for 5 minutes.  My head has suffered and I've been wearing two hats under the helmet. A good base layer, Thick jersey, Windproof Jacket and Gilet has been enough for -14 and at -5 I remove the Gilet.

Looking forward we might even get above freezing by the weekend. It's been a long hard slog on the Mountain bike this week and I'm looking forward to getting back on the road bike very soon.