Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Case of Cold Feet

Yesterday Jenny and I went for another bike ride over to Snohomish. This time we planned on adding some additional mileage and hills to our ride for training purposes. This week it’s been cold and dry in our area so extra layers have been in order. As we got ready for the ride I put on enough layers for a ride in the upper 30 degree range, pumped tires, filled bike bottles, put the rack on the car and packed the bikes. These are my normal riding duties.

The one thing I forgot to do before we left was check the thermometer. Big Mistake! About half way to our destination I looked up at the temperature reading in our car and it said 27 degrees. I really didn’t panic because it was only 10 lower than I had dressed for so I thought I would probably be all right.

As we started our ride I really wasn’t all that cold except for my fingers but after a couple of minutes they were hurting pretty good. I tried to do my old standby trick of hiding my fingers behind the drops of my handlebars but it didn’t work. Thankfully, Jenny had worn her Cookie Monster gloves so her fingers were toasty warm and she had a spare pair in her seat wedge. She let me use her spare gloves and I slipped them over the two pairs I already had on. That did the trick and I was in business. If you’re wondering what Cookie Monster gloves look like here’s a shot of them. Don’t they look like something Cookie Monster would wear?

It’s interesting how people get cold in different ways. When I’m cold the first thing to get cold are my hands. When Jenny gets cold she always battles cold feet. This makes for interesting car rides switching the heat from the floor to the vents. Luckily, we also have a setting where the heat comes out both of these areas.

Since my cold issues were now solved it was time for Jenny to get cold. You guessed it. Her feet were cold. I had worn some heavy socks for the ride but Jenny only opted to only wear two pairs of fairly thin socks. Not sure what she was thinking. As we rode along her complaining of cold feet started as a small mention and got increasingly louder and louder. I guess her complaining was warranted since by this point in the ride our water bottles had frozen. The only thing I could think of to help her was offer to exchange my thick socks for a pair of her thin ones. I didn’t think she would go for it but when I offered this up she jumped at the chance. So, the next park bench we came to we stopped and switched socks. Honestly, it felt kind of weird sitting on a park bench exchanging socks but luckily it was so cold no one was around.

With the great sock exchange now complete we headed back out for Snohomish. You see we were on a mission. The Snohomish Bakery sells some great muffins and both of us wanted one even if it meant a mild case of frost bite. The rest of the ride I let Jenny draft off of me and she said it was a lot warmer to be out of the breeze.

I must admit it was really nice to walk into a warm bakery. We made our order and Jenny and I sat down at a table. Jenny took her shoes off in hopes that her toes would thaw out. It took quite a while for Jenny’s toes to warm up and she said it was really painful. I guess her toes really were cold.

What happened next reminded me of a cyclist pulling off the road and letting their team car pick them up in the Tour de France or Roberto Doran uttering No Mas when he just couldn’t fight any more. I offered to ride back to the car alone then drive over to pick Jenny up and she reluctantly agreed. I don’t think Jenny was happy about this situation but I’m sure she was relieved that she didn’t have to go back out into the cold.

Lessons Learned:
Mike needs to wear bigger gloves on cold rides
Jenny needs to wear thick socks stuffed with hand warmers on cold rides
Always look at the outside temperature before you ride
Baked goods from the Snohomish Bakery are good enough to risk a little frost bite for.

Temp 27 degrees
Mileage 36 miles


Anonymous said...

Might I suggest winter shoes? My toes always got really painful in the cold no matter what socks and bootie covers I had on. I was always afraid that my toes would STOP hurting and then I would really be in trouble. But the winter boots are really really really nice. Well worth the horrendously expensive price.

LVP said...

I'm not a Biker, so I really don't understand doing what you do - winter weather and all. Reading your blog makes me think I should try - during summer, of course.

Jenny said...

Lizzylou~do you have boots with clips for your pedals? ~Jenny

jasonk said...

I love that you earned that muffin with a bike ride. That's awesome. Here is my suggestion for cold feet--and it works for your hands too.
Shoe covers work very well, if you get the right kind. I use Pearl--they are made of neoprene on the outside, blocking the wind and rain, and are lined with fleece on the inside. One particularly cold days, I will slip hand warmers in my shoes and gloves. Hunters use them, and you can buy them very cheap right now at places like WalMart, since cold weather hunting season is over. These things are great! It takes about 30 minutes for them to reach their maximum temperature, and then they stay warm all day, up to ten hours. Riding to work recently with temps in the mid teens, my feet and hands were toasty, even sweaty at times.