Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A glorious day, but very cold

Today is one of those days that make your heart sing. It is sunny and clear and the views are just spectacular. Unfortunately, it was also pretty cold.  Upper 30s this morning. By 10 AM, mid to upper 40s on the hills, brilliant sunshine, but very cold shady spots. By noon it was 48 at our house, and 54 on the flats. Definitely below normal for this time of year.

I went for a (relatively short) mountain bike ride. There is only so much gym stuff I can take before I go bunkers, and the pool is still closed. I layered up today and I really needed it. Wool socks, tights, two layers, long-sleeved, plus a thermal vest, my old helmet (the one with just a few ventilation slots) and two pairs of gloves.

I am really not suited for cold exploits. My sympathetic nervous system is over-reactive leading not only to profuse sweating in almost all weather conditions, but also a Raynaud-like response in my extremities. My hands and feet just freeze even when my core is warm. So much for those movies showing people with warm cores working barehanded in freezer rooms. Not me!

So here I was, all toasty but with frozen fingers and toes, passing a guy wearing no gloves, but booties -so I am not totally crazy. Fortunately it was cold enough and I kept my intensity low enough so that I did not sweat too much.

The trails were mixed. At times the mud was deep and very sticky and I had to stop twice because my front tire picked up so much mud it could not pass under my fork anymore. Even when the bike did not ground to a halt, there was so much mud I got pelted constantly. The mud also turns my tires into slicks and it makes staying upright a challenge.

In any case, due to the cold I was not tempted to go flying down the hills. I noticed other people too were taking it easy. 

Not everything was muddy and many areas were Ok. There were some wet spots but most puddles I saw were covered with thin sheets of ice and some shallow ones were frozen solid. The hills and canyons have areas that stay in the shade for most of the day, and it can get really cold there, especially when there is no wind to even it all out.

I rode about 20 miles and had a great time.

No comments: