Tuesday, September 12, 2006

After the Fall Comes…Winter: Part I

School starts…80 degree mornings turn to 50 degree mornings and the long sleeve jerseys come out of the closet…a weekend trip to the Minneapplecity reveals people are getting their snowmobiles out…and this morning I fetched the tights from a pile of clothing I left behind last April 5.

Raise your hand if you’re riding through winter.

I’ve got a series of posts in mind describing how I keep riding through the winter. Today I’ll start here with how I stay motivated.

For me, staying motivated is very closely related to avoiding getting overly cold on rides. If you’re a geek-boy like me you have geeky ways to manage these things.

This morning’s temperature was a calm 45. I haven’t ridden in 45 degree temperature since April 5. On that day I know exactly what I wore and how comfortable I was when I wore it.

Did I mention I’m a geek?

I keep a list on a spreadsheet: date, temperature, wind direction/speed, windchill, feet, legs, hands, body, head, a perceived comfort scale (-5 to 5) for each body section, and a cumulative perceived comfort scale.

It might be over engineered but here’s how it works. I wake up and learn the temperature is 15 degrees with an east wind of 10mph. Brrrrrr…that’s impossibly cold. I’ll freeze if I ride today. I wonder…

Sure enough, last November 30, 14 degrees and 6mph wind. My perceived comfort shows my feet were -2 and my body was +3. Everything else was 0 (perfectly fine) so with some minor adjustments I think I’ll be able to make it to work without major discomfort. Because I know this…

the temperature is no excuse to not ride today!

PS: the tights were good for 45 degrees this morning but it was 70 when I returned home. I remember thinking I should pack regular shorts for the ride home. I didn't. I rode home in my underwear. Practice, practice, practice.

12 comments:

Doug said...

I don't keep records like yours. Maybe I should. It hurts my brain trying to figure out how to dress in cold weather each fall. One thing I know for sure, I tend to overdress and arrive to work drenched in sweat. My approach for this year is to underdress and carry an extra layer. So far it's worked beautifully. I've been arriving to work with barely any sweat soaked clothing at all and barely a chill.

eayste said...

I've been feeling unmotavated to do anything.
Did I mention I dislike the cold?

Snakebite said...

This is good stuff, keep it coming.

sans auto said...

I just moved from Western Oregon to Utah. I want to know about riding in the snow. Great blog, keep them coming.

jg_38 said...

"I rode home in my underwear." To much information, but I still laughed. I would have laughed harder if I saw you riding.

Jeff said...

I think it's important to keep records of what's comfortable in different temperature ranges. Some days you feel like a sissy and want to overdress. When you do this and ignore your temperature chart, you pay severely! I hate the feeling of sweat running down the inside of my wind pants, or the feeling that you may spontaneously combust because you unnecessarily wore you wind blocker jersey!

My weakness last winter was frozen feet. I'm going to buy insulated neoprene booties this year. And just so you don't try and reinvent the wheel...wool socks with sandwich bags over the top doesn't buy you much!

tSD said...

The sandwhich bags provide windproofing. If you do this you still need an insulating layer beneath them. Seal skinz makes an awesome windproof thermal sock. This year i broke down and actually bought a winter riding shoe. It's the Chili by Diadora. They aren't vented and have a collar that comes up around the ankle. I am really looking forward to get them along w/ my other winter riding gear.

matt mccluskey said...

"Raise your hand if you’re riding through winter."

Hell Yeah! Gotta keep up my HR for racing season in the spring!

Dan Trabue said...

The solution is to move to more moderate climes! Louisville rarely gets down in the 0's - so you're mostly dealing with temps in the 30s for a couple of months with a few blessed exceptions (and a few accursed ones) and then you're good to go.

mytzpyk said...

Dan:

It's the strangest thing...our winters are actually becoming more and more like yours. I have no idea why.

:)

Pete said...

I just stumbled across my own pile of winter bike clothes from last April too. I thought to myself, "Won't be long before I'll need that stuff again."

Curt said...

Now, that, my friend, is what spreadsheets are for. Geek onward!!!