This winter seems to be going on forever. It’s been 2 months since I’ve ridden outside and although I hate the cold weather, I just had to get out today.
Yesterday I noticed that the roads were pretty dry and you could feel that the temperature was rising. It seemed like I could get a ride in if I would suck it up and brave the cold. Last week at the Toronto Bike Show I made a couple of purchases that it was time to put to the test… a Pearl Izumi balaclava and some thick neoprene shoe covers by Ekoi.
Although I didn’t get as much work done as I had hoped this morning, by noon I could see the sunshine making an appearance through the clouds. It was time for a lunch break. I checked the weather and it was -2 Celsius. I have never ridden outside in these conditions before, but I know that many others do, so I just had to figure out how to dress for it. I went with tights, a long sleeve compression base layer, a long sleeve cycling jersey, and a Louis Garneau Wind Dry jacket. The Ekoi shoe covers were size XL, but it took a lot of stretching to get them on… I actually broke a nail in the process! But once they were on, they fit nice. I opted for lobster mitts… a pair I bought more than a year ago but have never worn. It proved to be overkill on the gloves, but I did not want to risk the pain from frozen fingers.
As I started off down my street I actually felt quite comfortable. I accelerated on the gentle downhill that leads me out of town and the wind chill at 45 km/hr did not seem to pose any risk of hypothermia. It actually felt quite refreshing. Hey, this winter riding wasn’t so bad after all!
I took a familiar route down Watson Rd with the intent of looping back if it got uncomfortable, but it didn’t. The only problem was some difficulty shifting gears with lobster mitts on. The sun was shining pretty consistently now and I decided to do one of my favourite 40 km routes. Although my pace was pretty slow, it just felt so good to be riding outside after so long. (Do you really get that sluggish after winter?)
By the time I reached the Col de Watson my feet were starting to feel cold… although my body temperature was fine from the exertion. The sun also disappeared on the last 15km, making the cold more noticeable, but it wasn’t too bad overall. I arrived home with cold, but not freezing, feet and I was ready for a hot shower.
Since there’s no better way to end a day like this than with a warm, hearty soup, I decided to make a chunky chipotle chicken and black bean soup. This is a very nutritious and satisfying meal that’s low in calories and really fills you up.