Thursday, January 24, 2008

Seriously Wrong

There's something seriously wrong with me. I woke up this morning at 4am without the alarm excited because it was supposed to be SO cold last night/this morning. When I looked at the thermometer at home, it said -12 F or almost -25 C. The radio is saying -15 F.

My wonderful and lovely wife seemed angry with my excitement last night at the prospect of -15. I believe the quote was something along the lines of "reckless and dangerous."

Because of the bit of snow we received the other day, my bike has been covered with snow all week. Brakes clogged with snow and ice and as a result dragging. Fenders stuffed with snow and occassionally rubbing on the tires. Cold nights and days and storage outside or in the garage have all combined to make riding feel slow and difficult this week. For a treat, the bike made a rare inside appearance last night for a de-thawing.
I was quite comfortable on the ride to work. Too warm in fact at times.
Head: fleece facemask, wool balaclava, stocking cap.
Torso: thin-weight wool top, Ibex Shak, Softshell jacket... Pits and vents all open
Legs: Ibex El-Fito knickers, wool tights, and Novara tights
Feet: Smartwool hunting socks, chemical warmers, Lake Winter boots
Hands: Outdoor Research wind-blocker fleece gloves, nylon gator mittens over that, chemical warmers for good measure.
I do not know if I am getting to be a wimp, or if the insulation in my boots has been compacted to the point of being less effective. Regardless, my toes have been getting cold. (Granted, temperatures have been hovering or below zero.) I have been adding the little chemical warmers to the tops of my feet to keep my toes warm. I have been placing them back in a plastic bag and squeezing out all the extra air once I get to my destination allowing me to use one set of warmers for several days.

Forecasts call for warming temperatures on the horizon. Good, that means I can return to actually being able to drink from my coffee cup in the morning, something I miss most with the cold weather.

-No such thing as a bad bike ride.


Me said...

Was able to swallow down a 21-miler last night after midnight... but the feet were bad, really bad for the last 5 miles.

Can you point me toward the chemical warmers you mention??

I need something.

Thanks, Brother...


Reflector Collector said...

I bought a whole box of chemical warmers several years ago. I have seen them at sporting goods stores, home centers (Home Depot, and Mendars), as well as the local hardware store.

The ones I have are called "HotHands-2" Hand Warmer by heatmax. They are air activated and seem to work well. I keep an extra set in my pannier of extras JIC. (Just In Case)

When I am out, I am thinking of switching to electric socks with rechargeable batteries. I HATE cold feet!

Way to go riding 20+ miles. I really enjoy riding at night, it seems SO much quieter.

-d said...

Been using the warmers for a few years. Find the inexpensive ones, as they are exactly the same as the ones at REI or an Outdoor retailer for $2 each.

Never thought of using a plastic bag to stop the chemical reaction, THANKS!

...and I was excited to see the low in the city at 12 tonight. Should be close to 4 near the river by my house. My wife thinks I am crazy as well.

Doug said...

I buy my chemical warmers from Sierra Trading Post. Full retail is $2 a pack, last fall I got them at 40 cents a pack with free shipping. I bought three dozen. They are currently 70 cents a pc if you buy 12. I've been stretching the use of mine with a plastic bag for several years. Works great.

I don't bother with the toe warmer version. I use the hand warmer in my boots. I've found the hand warmers are hotter and last longer. Keep in mind a tight shoe with no wiggle room will cut off the air and stop the reaction. You have to have some air space in your shoes for them to work.

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