Snowy Dia de los Muertos!

Last season, I learned a really valuable lesson about winter riding: If you wear the right clothing, there’s no reason you have to stop just because the temperature drops near freezing. (Although I do stop once the snow starts accumulating on the roads.) The key is having the right layering. On Sunday I was excited to get back out on my bike after a little hiatus and give it a go again.

Getting ready to head out

On Saturday a nor’easter blew in, bringing with it cool temperatures, rain, and lots and lots of wind. We drove through quite a bit of that on our way to and from Lincoln Center to see Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera. (It was fantastic, by the way.) Here’s a fuzzy picture after the end of the show.

"Carmen" at the Met

I could hear the wind blowing against the house on Sunday morning when I woke up. So I put on a pair of thermal bib tights, an undershirt, arm-warmers, a JDRF jersey, and my thermal waterproof jacket. It sounds bulky, but it really isn’t. I also wore a normal pair of cycling socks and the waterproof cycling boots I got as a give last Christmas. Oh and gloves. I also loaded up with enough food for three hours of riding, my phone, and a bit of cash in case I got peckish or had to bribe someone.

When I walked out of the house, I was a little worried about being overly warm, but as soon as I started riding the wind dispelled that notion. I was actually quite comfortable. And then it started to rain a bit. And then it started to snow. For an hour of my two-hour jaunt I rode into and out of snow flurries, occasionally thinking thoughts like this: “I hope the drivers who see my don’t think ‘There’s a crazy person’ when they see me. Or, if they do, I hope they also recognize that this is the kind of craziness I must embrace in order to be ready for next year.” And then it happened; about an hour-and-a-half into my ride I was waiting at a light to make a left turn onto highway 109 (the most boring road in the Commonwealth) when I saw a car approaching with two bikes atop it. The driver slowed and gave me a big thumbs up as he passed. It kinda made my day.

After a bit of snow

A few random observations from my ride:

  • My full-finger gloves are not waterproof. So my fingers got cold.
  • Rainwater ran down my legs into my shoes. Because they’re waterproof, I finished the ride with standing water in my shoes and rubbery feet.
  • The chia-based energy gel Victoria sent me was . . . interesting.
  • I forgot how firm Clif ShotBloks get when it’s cold.
  • I think I have a non-race-day diabetes plan that I can use when I’m riding. My BG barely budged over those two hours.
  • The last time I washed my bib tights, the spin cycle didn’t get all of the soapy water out. My knees started foaming a bit in the wet weather. :-)
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One Response to Snowy Dia de los Muertos!

  1. scully says:

    ugh. welcome to hell!
    I think you did pretty darn good. I’m guessing this is what prompted the “to embro or not to embro” question on FB.
    I use latex gloves under whatever is on my hands. It gets sweaty and wet with nowhere for the moisture to go BUT it contains the heat in amazing ways and is worth the pruned hands post ride. Sucks to try and test bg during the jaunt though, i’ll admit to that.
    clif blocks are impossible to chew in the cold and gels turn to a thick molasses like substance. I still use my chocolate balls and keep em in my jersey pocket that is closest to my body so they stay pliable.

    Sometimes I wear my clear race rain jacket UNDER my thermal windproof jacket. It really helps keep any extra wind out that gets through the jacket and again.. it’s not very breathable to it contains some of the heat.

    and embro. a nice thick layer of it. and toe warmers in addition to the embro. I go all out because there’s nothing worse than freezing for 3 hours. I’d rather come home sweaty.

    your soapy knees made me laugh!

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