Challenges coming

The last two days seemed a little bit challenging, for biking.

Sunday came in at 4F, on the heels of some light snow the night before.  Since I really didn't have any idea what the snow did to the roads, I had to ride the hybrid out of caution.  Oh, and on top of that temperature, there was a wind chill warning, saying that it was -20 - -25F with wind chill.

I'm not a huge believer in usage of wind chill, but that was enough wind to make me a little bit cautious.  Plus, I didn't want to do a hard ride.

So I wore my amfib tights, with leg warmers under them (that was a new tactic), my under armour hood, my warmest base layer, my fleece coat and hardshell (with pit zips closed, for the first time ever), liner gloves under my heavy mittens, and liner socks with heavy socks.

All in all, I was more ready for cold than I've ever been before.  The one mistake I made was that I forgot that I was going to wear my ski goggles (just for the wind), and was only reminded after I locked the door.  I didn't want to wake anyone up, so I just went without.

While I wish I'd had the goggles on, it was bearable without them.  My cheeks were a little chilled, but that was plenty manageable.

While my fingers weren't horribly cold, my toes did start getting cold, with the result that I shortened my (planned) 14-mile ride down to what ended up being only ten.  And yeah, that wind was brutal, when I was riding into it.

But on the hybrid, that was all an hour's ride, so I was still out there a pretty good length of time.

Thankfully, the snow didn't end up being much of an issue (though I have no regrets opting for the spiked tires).

Really, though, other than the cold, it wasn't bad.  There weren't any joggers, or any other bikers, and damned few cars.  So long stretches of the ride were almost completely quiet, which was really nice.  My one regret is that I didn't use my (off-brand, and unused) Bar-Mitts to try to keep my hands warm.  I wonder if I could have gone further with them.  I don't know if there's anything else I can do for my feet, however.  Will have to give that some further thought.

Today was a much harder ride, which mostly went well.  I did the huge hill on Walter Reed, above Shirlington, for the first time in a while.  I did well, but not as well as I'd hoped.  The hill up S 31st went a little bit worse, as well.  Couldn't maintain my cadence all the way up.  But I did have some very good stretches.

The one bit that was weird, and which I was a bit reluctant to try, was wearing the fleece and hardshell on a hard ride.  As expected, I got a bit sweaty from that, but not as much as I thought likely (it was only a degree or two warmer than yesterday, but didn't have as much wind).

The next two days, things get really challenging.  We're expecting 8-12 inches of snow tonight, with the temperature expected to be just below 20F when I'm riding.  I don't know if riding is even feasible in that much snow, but it's a certainty that almost none is melting (and the only reason even a little is likely to is that there's so much salt on the ground).

Anyway, I'll get the hybrid out and give it the old college try.  And I'll hopefully remember to try the Bar-Mitts.  And hopefully there will have been at least a tiny bit of plowing by the time I try.  It'll definitely be a hard ride, regardless of the plan.

And then there'll be another challenge the two days after.  First, we get single-digit temperatures again, and then we get negative single digits.  Not looking forward to that at all.  If the Bar-Mitts do well tomorrow, I'll use them in the super-cold temps, even if it means using the hybrid on cleared roads.  There's tough, and then there's stupid, and I know on which side of that line I want to be.

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