Tuesday, February 06, 2007

12.6 degrees

Obviously, it's too cold to ride, so it's time for a countdown:
107 days remain.
Or 3 months, 18 days excluding the end date
Which is the same as:
* 9,244,800 seconds
* 154,080 minutes
* 2568 hours
* 15 weeks (rounded down)

Not to be TOO precise or anything.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Cold Weather Riding

This morning offered up the coldest temperature I've faced so far this year. When I rolled out of the garage for the "Birdfoot Lane to Hunter Station" loop the outdoor thermometer read "21". 11 below freezing. That's cold. Thankfully, over the last few years, I have gotten serious about acquiring the proper clothing. This should give you an idea of what it takes to stay warm for 90 minutes in truly sub-freezing temps (not counting windchill):

From the top down:

Gore Tex helmet cover

Pearl Izumi "Microsensor" Skull Cap: (under helmet);

Patagonia R1 Balaclava: Covers the head and neck and fits over the Skull Cap, under the helmet (only for absolutely frigid days);

Patagonia Capilene 2 turtleneck
: The upper-body base layer;

Fleeced LS jersey;

Craft Thermal Windstop Jacket; and

Craft Thermal Windstop Tight: Without these two items, the jacket and the tights, I would not be riding outdoors. They are that good;

Patagonia White Smoke Gloves: the warmest glove Patagonia makes, except for the gloves they make for Everest expeditions;

Giordana smart wool socks.

Trek Booties.

Don't get me wrong, at the end of any ride in these temps, you will be cold. But, even at 25 degrees, I was only wearing one pair of tights. No long-johns, just tights. To me, it's a total luxury to wear a single layer over my legs and still stay warm. It means the difference between feeling like an overstuffed sausage and being comfortable enough to move around and have your legs not feel constrained.

The same applies for the upper body. Essentially, I'm wearing a base layer, a thin jersey, and a jacket. That's less than half the lothing (and bulk) I've worn in past years. All of this is possible because the Craft outer layer is absolutely perfect. It's windproof and warm, but because it's designed specifically for cycling, it doesn't bind or constrict movement at all.

This coming week is going to be a real test for my gear. The predicted highs for the week are "mid 20's". I think the morning bike commute is going to be a bit chilly.

I can't wait for May.