Wednesday, January 12

(W)CHC Day #3 - Morning Commute

Today the commute went a little more smoothly. I didn’t stop for photos, the paths were mostly clear and I think I've sorted out my single digit temps attire. The ride was smoother, but it took me a long time to get in. I was wearing the pack and still had to navigate around piles of snow (and now sand), ice and some of my shortcuts were still impassable.

It was cold this morning. The local news was reporting -2°F when I woke up and by the time I left it had increased to 4°F. When I passed the digi-sign at Youngfield it read 9°.

A little about my routine/dress: This week I've been waking up and showering at home. Because its so cold I've been wearing long polypro under my work pants. I can get away with khaki cargo pants, so that's what I've been wearing for a couple of weeks actually. My slacks proper just aren't comfortable for riding. I put on a thick, long-sleeved polypro shirt, a cotton tee over that (because the poly shirt is clingy) and over both of those I wear a long sleeve button-up 70% wool shirt. That's it! I have been taking my shell in the backpack in case I got stranded somewhere or have to stop for an extended period of time, but that's my attire to ride in. It has worked on 40° rides and now low single digit rides. I definitely sweat less today.

I carry a button up dress shirt for work in the pack, and when I get to the building I lock my bike up in the stairwell, then go to a bathroom where I change shirts. Because I've been wearing the polypro pants I also take those off. If it weren't for the underpants I could probably get away with changing shirts in my cube.

My hands and feet get the royal treatment. I've been wearing my winter boots (waterproof Columbia Bugaboots) and discovered I've had them tied too tight. Loosened them up a bit this morning and my toes did better. I've got some Gordini waterproof gloves I bought a few years ago and they do pretty good. I'm considering buying a pair of silk socks and glove liners for really cold days. The only concern I have is that my frigid digits seem more to be a result of restricted circulation, whether from poor clothing or riding position I'm not sure. I'm willing to give silk a try in case my popsicle toes are not circulatory in nature.

Today I went back to the neoprene face cover, thin poly balaclava and fleece hat under my helmet. The ski goggles work with the neoprene face mask, as it has breathing holes and the nose hole diverts my breath down and away from the goggles. I only had a little fogging today. It's funny how the thin polypro balaclava alone causes more problems with my eyewear than anything else. I guess it has a pretty dense thread count or something and doesn't really let the air through the fabric, directing it up and typically into my eyewear. Because it causes such fogging problem I usually pull it away from my face when I start breathing hard. Not a huge problem on 40° days, kinda a big deal when there are frostbite warnings.

So I was happy that I made it all the way to work without exposing any skin.

Tonight is going to be a dark ride home. It looks like the temperature is going to be warmer than last night, and I'm hoping for some beneficial thawing through the day today. We'll see. I've decided if I had studded tires I'd be unstoppable. But I don't know if I need to be unstoppable.

ADDENDUM

I mentioned that I've been wearing only a long-sleeved polypro and long-sleeved wool shirts. I want to clarify- I am a heat engine. I'm always overheated, always sweating even when I'm cold and I am typically comfortable in less clothing than a lot of other people would be. I wouldn't recommend my mode of dress for others. But I would encourage you to let your body keep itself warm while riding.

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