Its February, and since last year was balmy at this time, I decided back in December that February would be spring. Positive thinking, right? I'm told I'm an optimist....
So after spending the last two months on the trainer and a bit on the spin bike, Sunday was poised to be the first of a string of Sundays on the bike. Sure, there was a freak road ride in January, and we've done a number or great mtb rides lately, but nothing prepares you for road racing like....road riding. With April around the corner, there is work to do. And fun to be had.
Jamie, Nathan Underwood, and I met up at the gate for a foray to Wakefield and hopefully, beyond. Jamie, having been ill the previous night, was not up to strength, and opted to peel off at Old Chelsea. It was already quite windy, so one fewer wind buddy was not s great sign at such an early stage. Nathan and I plodded on and certainly got into Jens Factor 5. Always happy to pull forever, Nathan did an awful lot of work as I faced up to the fact that I wasn't feeling particularly good, and my right knee was beginning to hurt. Hmm. I opted to dial back my plans and turn back at Wakefield after a coffee. Better to avoid getting run down and get back on the rails for next weekend, weather permitting. Rolling back to town was much more pleasant with a solid tailwind; we made good time and parted ways at Gamelin. Overall, the roads were very good today, with just a few icy patches near Wakefield along the river. This is always the case in that spot, but there's less ice now than there was last March, and its easy to avoid. Good stuff.
For those like myself without winter shoes, I thought I'd share my method for retaining as much warmth as possible. This is not unique to me, but might be new to some.
Duct tape. This stuff is flexible, kinda stretchy. Its better for this application than more robust kinds. It does not have to be strong. Cover all the vented parts of the shoes. Do the job with the shoe on, otherwise, you'll likely make it too tight to promote proper circulation.
Don't forget the vents on the bottom if you have them.
Insulation layer next. These are merino socks that had holes. I cut out the bottom for the cleats and they eventually degraded to this point. Still working though.
Next are the booties. These Sugoi units are pretty versatile, but my feet have been numb with cold too many times for these to really keep me toasty below zero. I'd prefer more burly booties, but some find these fine below zero.
Close your tights over the top of the booties. This will keep the zippers from slipping, especially important if they are broken, as these ones are.
So today's set-up was Mad Alchemy Cold Weather embrocation on the legs and feet, Smartwool socks with the above, Sugoi Mid Zero knickers with Firewall tights over top, Brynje waffles polypro full-sleeve with Ibex merino baselayer over top, Verge Super Roubaix fabric jackey, Icebreaker neck tube, DeFeet merino liner gloves and Craft lobsters, capped with a Kona merino hat, helmet and glasses. -5 and -4 with sun, cloud and wind, this was a pretty good set-up. A little warmer still in the feet would have been nice in the wind. Here's hoping winter shoes fall into my lap soon.