one cold ride

as i was driving home i kicked off my mountain bike shoes while waiting for the light.  it seemed like a rather insignificant move, until the burning sensation in my toes started to overwhelm me.   all the heat in the world was not going to help me now.  i just had to endure the pain until the blood temperature stabilized in my feet.  it took a few minutes but i assure you that it finally stopped.

i am now sitting here in my house wearing my pj’s and wool socks and an old hoodie recalling the pain from just a couple hours ago.  what happened was not a mistake, nor was it regrettable.  i went out for a really really cold mountain bike ride.  it was about 14 degrees when i started, and about 12 when i finished.  frequently i commute in the really cold, and i’ll often run in the bitter cold as well…. i hardly ever mountain bike in such cold weather.

mountain biking in cold weather is a bit more difficult than running or road biking.  it is difficult to regulate effort in mountain biking. you never really know when you are going to exert yourself.  you could go for miles without ever exerting yourself or you could start right off the bat.  the effort is usually not constant and you are likely to have spells of unbridled frigidity.  what happens is that during the moments of exertation you sweat, and almost immediately afterward the sweat freezes and suddenly you feel a little colder than when you started.  my feet get especially cold for some reason. it must be because i wear my cleats, and they have a hard plastic bottom.  the other difficult thing is trying to get enough air through the balaclava.

it was a cold difficult ride today….i can’t really say that i enjoyed it very much either.  however, after finishing this ride i felt as if i had accomplished something really big.  i feel tougher as well.  i don’t get that feeling with every ride, but when it happens it makes everything worthwhile.