The mercury in the thermometer claimed it to be a balmy 4 degrees yesterday morning but Garmin's electronic mercury had us only pegged at 3.2 degrees, whichever one you chose to believe one thing was certain; it wasn't going to be a warm ride.
11 of us set off from Cycle Works and we picked up Dillon, our 12th man, somewhere along the way, he just sort of sneaks in along the way and then all of a sudden he's there. We also had a new rider, Jason, come down from Omaha and join us... I couldn't tell you which one he was as we all looked the same all mummified like we were, with not an inch of skin showing you just had to guess based on clothing colors.
The plan was to head down to Wilderness and hide out in the trees, there wasn't much for wind yesterday but when the temps are in the single digits it doesn't take much of a breeze to make it feel significantly colder on exposed skin. Brisker breezes and you even feel it start to creep into the warmest of layers after a bit so it was nice that it was just a mild wind.
I know there are people who think riding in single digits is crazy but you really do warm up pretty quickly and layers start to get adjusted to allow more of the chill in. I think the key is to not over dress, a heavy sweat is your worst enemy in cold temperatures so if you're sweating profusely you need to wear less. I know that sounds like the opposite of what you want to do since sweat means your body is too hot but that sweat can quickly become frozen and rob your core of much needed heat. A little sweat isn't necessarily a bad thing but more is not a good thing in this case, the goal is to try to get to a pace where you are at the edge of sweating without going too far over that edge.
Speaking of keeping warm, if you tend to have a colder head and are looking for a warm helmet you can't go wrong with the Giro Discord. I've owned mine for about 2 years now and it's kept my head warm even on the coldest of days. It's sold as a snowboard helmet but works just fine for cycling and it's a "soft shell" design which mean unlike cycling helmets, it's intended to be able to take multiple strikes to it and still provide protection.
Wilderness Park is in great shape right now, maybe a little better on the west side where horses and runners haven't made holes in the snow so it's less bumpy, but both sides are a winter wonderland. Didn't get much for pictures in the Park, everything has it's limits and when the temps dipped down to 2.8 degrees the camera decided that was more cold that it wanted to handle and refused to power on for the most part. Once back in the warmth it came alive again but it got rather cranky there for a bit, can't say I really blame it I suppose.
45NRTH's Lung Cookie is an excellent Balaclava but it tends to make these upside down frozen Unicorn horns when the condensation from your breath runs down the back side of the wind proof layer. Doesn't really affect the effectiveness of the headgear as there is a wool layer that is actually touching your skins and then this windproof layer that floats just above the wool, two guys were using them on Saturday and both of them ended up with horns.
How did you get that picture if the camera wasn't working you might ask, well as you can see I had to break out the handy dandy iPhone for this one. The iPhone, as is an Android, is also pretty susceptible to extreme cold but I have found that if you put the phone in a waterproof bag of some sort, Ziploc freezer bag is my go to, and then tuck in in your jersey pocket underneath your outer layers it will stay nice and toasty and still work after you've been riding for hours. Leave it in an outer pocket or bag and it usually shuts down also, which can be dangerous if you need to make a rescue call.
We decided to hit up Blue Blood after the ride for a little warmth, food and beverage, we were not disappointed in any category.
Todd is a good friend and a man of many great qualities, decision making isn't one of those however and so it's not too unusual to see Todd with more than one beverage. Can't decide, just get them all.
Blue Bloods was the end of the official ride but several of us made the cold ride up to Method after for more warmth, drink and company. Bar Mitts was making a mint off us on in free advertising Saturday but I suppose a bit of free ad space is better than freezing hands.
The smokers from the Old Pub next door had their own ideas on how to stay warm by attempting to ignite the cigarette butt container, luckily it didn't catch fire but talk about a awful smell. Extinguish your butts people, this little blue boxes life might depend on it.
No ride next Saturday due to prior engagements but it's supposed to warm up over the next week, into the 20s, so it might not be a bad day to get out and ride if you can. Hope everyone has a Happy New Year celebration tonight and we will see you all next year.