|Heading out at 7 degrees Fahrenheit and dropping|
I know that in the grand scheme, that isn't really unbearably cold. In fact, having grown up in northern VT, as a kid I was used to being out all day playing in the snow in temperatures like that. As an adolescent and young adult, I would often alpine ski in temperatures below zero and recall the tribulations of trying to start my '77 'vette with morning temps of 30 below for a week straight in the valley where I grew up. Even recall as an adult I recall (briefly) skiing Sunday River one morning with air temperatures at 25 below. We would often sled in the far northern reaches of the country in temps well below freezing as well.
I've come to realize that spending all of this time in the extreme cold has contributed to making me really, really intolerant of the cold. I'm not sure if it is because of the residual damage that I have done to my extremities as a result of the cold or the fact that I lost a bunch of body weight and insulation but dang, I get cold in the summer shade and have no end of trouble keeping my hands and feet warm. This of course poses trouble on the bike when trying to do a nice long ride in the cold.
The flip side of this strange weather pattern that we have been having this winter is the rain. It has been a year of amplified peaks and troughs on the weather map, where by we either have frigid arctic weather or wet tropical weather. Often it seems it will be one backing right up against the other with no stability in between. This has meant lots of snow and cold then rain and mild that tears the snow pack down only to then refreeze and leave ice in its wake.
|Pouring rain, ice and 34 degrees|
The last part of the weather equation has been rain. We certainly have had our fair share of precipitation in the form of rain this winter. More in fact that we had all fall I think and for that matter, probably more than the summer either. Solid days in a row of steady driving rain. It is one thing to have this type of weather in the summer, when it is warm. That can actually be novel to ride in, but when it is pouring and 40 degrees, riding is all that much fun.
No matter how well you dress, nor how good the fenders are on the bike, you inevitably end up soaked. Your shoes, which are moderately good at keeping water out are excellent at holding water in. You overdress in material that doesn't breath effectively and so what water doesn't make it's way in from the outside, comes out from the inside.Over the past five days I have had two days of riding in absolute pouring rain. One was also on ice in Maine with 34 degree temperatures. Tough to stay warm let alone stay upright, say nothing about staying dry, which was impossible.
Last night, after working on projects all day and dragging my feet about riding I finally came to the realization at 5:45PM that I just had to jump in. I dressed and saddled up on the fendered CX bike then took to the road. It was unbelievably dark, pouring, 44 degree rain and foggy. I wore a ton of reflective stuff, had a headlight and two blinkies but was still nervous riding the road. My glasses were useless and I ended up pulling them down to the bridge of my nose and looking over them, using them as a shield of sorts from water flying up from below. I literally could not see more than 20 yards ahead of myself in many places and even when the visibility was better, the reflection and road glare from oncoming traffic was pretty much blinding. For the most part I was on back roads though with little traffic so not a big deal.
|Fenders only go so far in a steady rain|
Stop dragging your feet and thinking about it and just do it. Do it now, take the plunge. It's really not as bad as it seems.