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Cycling: How I Stay Fast – It Isn’t Always S#!ts and Giggles

December 2014

I woke up at 6:30 this morning, refreshed and happy to have gotten to sleep in for once, I’m usually up at 4:30. It’s cold out but the roads are clear and the forecast is dry, cold and cloudy with nothing more than a decent breeze (5-10 mph-ish). Mike called me yesterday afternoon and we’re set to head out at 10. Temps will be below freezing but only by six or seven degrees (F, so call it minus 3-4 C).

I don’t know anyone who looks at cycling in freezing weather with the same affinity as a sunny and room temperature day. On the other hand, with no snow, and therefore no salt on the roads, it’s going to be a Venge day. My “A” bike is, without a doubt, the only material possession I own that I truly love having – God forgive me.

At 8 am I’m starting to get ready. I lay out my jacket, my shorts, compression shorts, wool socks, base layer, jersey, neck warmer, hat, two layers of gloves, foot covers, clear glasses (the good ones with the gaskets so they don’t fog up), shoes, etc. etc.. I eat some Mom’s Best Blueberry wheat squares with whole milk (don’t even go there with that Godforsaken skim water-milk, your comment will fall on deaf ears). At 9 I’m thinking of calling in dead or something… Man it’s cold outside.

It’s 9:15 and I’m layering up. It takes like ten minutes to put on enough clothes to be some form of comfortable. I load everything into my car. Funny thing about 26 degrees, it doesn’t feel so bad standing there but at 20+ mph on a bike, it’s freaking cold. I know the suck is coming.

It’s 9:35 and I’m in the car. Fire it up and give it 30 seconds to warm up and I’m off… 12 minutes later and I’m in the parking lot. Thankfully it’s only me, Mike and Phil so we’ll be happy with an 18 mile an hour average instead of a full-on 20+. Brad pulls in a few minutes later. Even better.

Tires pumped, all of my crap on and we’re rolling. We rode well, keeping it just under 18 average and had a great time. Sure it was cold and plenty sucky but it sure beats an hour on the trainer. We ended up with 38 miles in just over two hours and I finished with a smile on my face. Having four buds to share the pain with is the best.

There’s no denying the trainer is better than sitting on the couch but taking advantage of every opportunity to get winter road miles in matters come spring time. Interestingly, and this was a bit of a surprise, my cutoff for riding outdoors has dropped every year. My first year it was 50. Last year was 40 (F of course)… This year? 23 and I lower is definitely doable – and with no newer clothes than what I had last year. Go figure.

Now that I’m finally starting to warm back up, it’s nap time. Man, that cold sure takes a lot out of you.


  1. bonnev659 says:

    if no salt on the roads i can go up to 10 degrees… i use the trainer once salt is on the roads… like what it is now over here sadly. enjoy the outdoor riding while you can!

  2. I have to agree with your cutoff temperature, although thirty degrees with a stiff wind is probably reason to stay indoors with the trainer. I was out yesterday in 28 degree weather (when I started) but I was in the woods. That is not the same as riding the road.

    I only worry about my feet after five minutes of riding. The rest of my body warms up just fine under the layers. Once the temperature gets under 25, though, the insides of my thighs and my knees also freeze. One ride in 8 degree weather this past January, on the road and also a lake using the MB, caused my unmentionable(s) to turn blue. That was a bit scary and very unpleasant in the shower after the ride.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Yeah, i’ve had the same thing happen a few times… Though on a road bike the boys are a little more protected, especially when you ride in the drops. Thanks man.

  3. Sue Slaght says:

    You are a lot tougher than I. Good work!

  4. Good do hear you’re still getting the miles in despite the cold!!!
    12 minutes in the car? Why not a few extra miles on the bike? 🙂

    • bgddyjim says:

      Speed limit’s 55… That’s ten more miles each way. 38 in the freezing cold, when everyone else is snuggled up in bed, is good enough. 😉

      • Fair enough! I something think about throwing my bike in the car and driving to the Sunday club ride (also 10 miles each way) but I have such a small car it’s easier just to ride. Have a good Christmas!

      • bgddyjim says:

        I used to have smaller vehicles, where I’d have to take the front wheel of and so on, but when I bought my new truck, I specifically had carting my bike around in mind. Fold down the back seats and I can fit the bike in there without removing a wheel and with room to spare. This is, of course, just a winter gig with the car. During the spring, summer and fall, we do ride to the meet whenever possible.

      • I hate having to take both wheels off and fold the rear seats down just to put the bike in the car. So then, is your truck colour matched to your two Specialized bikes? Hehe! 😉

      • bgddyjim says:

        It’s a white because there’s no way I’m taking care of a black car – too much washing to keep it nice… The interior is black with red trim though. 😀

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