Monday, December 03, 2007

Happy Monday

Standing, waiting for the light to change, I glanced at the sign for TCF Bank. It blinked from temperature to time, then back again to temperature 3, 5:34, 2… Ticking down that temperature as if mocking me.

Last week I struggled with being comfortable. I experimented and did not come to good conclusion of what was going to work for clothing. The experimentation continues, today with excellent results.

What I wore:
Head –
Tried something new. Since we had received 7 inches of snow over the weekend and fearing/anticipating an impending crash, I donned my helmet over a balaclava. I normally do not wear a helmet. (I don’t need the lecture, so please go elsewhere if you feel so inclined to offer your “advice” or anecdote telling me about how a helmet saved you, your brother, sister, mother, uncle, cousin, or pet.) It didn’t fit well over my balaclava, nor was there enough material to keep said noggin’ warm. So, I stopped a few blocks from my house and ditched the helmet in an Arborvitae. I’ll pick it up on my way home. Stocking hat over balaclava was just the right thing.

Torso –
Resorted back to what worked last year. Light weight wool, mid-weight wool, then miracle fabric top of unknown exact origin. I have two of these tops. I know that they are 100% synthetic, remarkably thin, and made by Terramar. They are marked with “Transport EC2, Resolute of America, a division of Terramar.” I bought them YEARS ago and have never seen anything like them since. Over these three thin layers I wore an REI wind-blocker vest, which I removed at the same time I ditched my helmet. (I was too warm.)

While this was not the “perfect” combination up top, it was much better than what I was wearing last week. I was too warm up top, yet not warm enough… I was sweaty, but the front of my layers froze to the hair on my chest. I think I need to drop a layer up top and add the wind-blocking vest again.

Legs –
The MUSA pants are too tight around the legs to fit enough layers, so I resorted to my old “rain” pants. They are much baggier. With a layer of mid-weight wool and regular cycling shorts, I was just fine. Ideally, I would like something that “breathed” a little more.

Hands –
Back to a thin weight Outdoor Research wind-blocking fleece glove. I was perfectly comfortable which proves to me that the effect of adjustments elsewhere can have a dramatic affect. Last week, I was surprised to find that my hands were cold. Today, they were just fine.

Feet –
My Lake Winter boots. I cannot say enough good things about how warm and comfortable my feet are. I’ve managed to learn to deal with the amazing amount of “toe-clip overlap” with a size 50 shoe, fenders, and riding fixed gear.

My ride in this morning was pretty uneventful. With the exception of the @$$holes that shovel and snow-blow the aprons of their driveways into the street, shoulders were in pretty good shape. I was surprised to find that the pathways through Theo Wirth Park were not plowed, so I took to the street. I will adjust my route and take a different way to work I guess.

One woman passed me south of Highway 55, taking the time to lower her window and yell “You’re crazy.” To which I responded a muffled “Thank You!”

She responded with the ever-popular “get off the road” and a streak of explicatives that would have made a sailor blush.

Happy Monday!


Me said...


A few things...

1. I know your route, I'm going to jack your helmet before you get there on the way home from work. It's gone buddy.

2. Not preaching to the Helmet'd Choir:
Why not wear the bala, the stocking cap AND the helmet... that's what I do with a simple adjustment outward of my standard none-stocking-cap-wearing helmet size. Again, nothing to do with safety... just wondering why you wouldn't adjust out your helmet?

3. Can you tell me more about the gloves? I'm wearing Shooter Mittens, and while warm-n-toasty, they are similar to wearing 2 rather HUGE parkas on my hands. Way bulky.

4. How are you finding the soft, gray snow that is on the roads around here...

does it grab at your front wheel, make you really tighten up your hands on the bars, feel a tug/slip & pull on the wheel, and then loosen up? Don't know if that's the best description, but for me, riding last night w/Chloe... I had a nagging feeling that this gray patch, or that white patch, was gonna put me and her down onto the road.

I have no MTB experience whatsoever but I wonder if this is similar to riding loose/fine dirt? If so, does one just power on through it? I always feel like I should slow up, stand out of the saddle and go super slow... which is also making me tighten my hands on the bars to the point of, with those mittens, coming home last night and literally having hand cramps for 3 hours after the ride.



Reflector Collector said...

1. Finders-Keepers ;)

2. I have a strange sized-noodle. My helmet would not fit "correctly" over a stocking covered head. A better solution would be to buy one of the myriad of "snowboarder" styles that are designed to offer protection and warmth.

As for the great helmet debate, I respect everyone's decision to wear one... Go ahead. For me, I would prefer to discuss the subject over beers.

For gloves I have been using a pair of Outdoor Research Windstopper fleece. Find them at REI Linky-Link

Perhaps I can address your other questions about handling and "technique" in a followup post... Stay tuned.

Me said...


I'm down for the beer/helmet/handling/technique chat anytime...

our new crib, with some hummus wraps thrown in for consumption too.

Come on by sometime...


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