Wednesday, January 18, 2012

winter warmers (some practical & unsolicited advice from a girl who likes the cold)

What works for me on windy days like this:
  • Toko gloves  The best...if you've stuck with this blog for a while, you've heard me extoll the virtues of these amazing gloves year after year. And I am still on the same pair...they're that durable and completely wind-proof. Not only do they keep my hands toasty on the road and the trails, they allow my fingers to remain nimble enough to wrangle GUs and Honey Stingers out of my jersey pockets.
  • Smartwool base layer (midweight) Worth every penny...breathable, warm, soft. Mine has tiny holes from brambles and several seasons of wear and tear, but it's still functional and I'm far from retiring this glorious staple.
  • Defeet Woolie Boolie socks (charcoal gray) My go-to sock for spring, winter, and fall...and they freaking last and last and last. Made in the good ol USA, these are the toastiest socks I've tried. I don't own winter mountain bike shoes, but my feet rarely get cold when I wear these. In extremely cold temps, I'll use chemical warmers in my shoes, but it has to be ridiculously frigid for me to resort to those. I also use Endura shoe covers on the trail occasionally (like in the dead of winter when there is snow on the ground and the temps are negative Billion degrees below Zero) or Craft shoe covers on the road.
  • Craft windproof beanie Another staple I've stuck with for years...a very comfortable fit under the helmet and keeps my little dome piece warm and not sweaty.
  • Sports Balm Medium embrocation...again, tried & true. I've dabbled with other warming balms, but Mad Alchemy leaves me crying for mercy in the shower and Greyhound Juice smells like...Greyhound Juice. A generous slather of Sports balm on the legs pre-ride gets the blood flowing and keeps that initial chill at bay, but the best part is after the ride. Following a nice hot shower and a swig of Nestle's Quik, you can't beat that lingering embro-warmth under some cozy flannel PJs and a cuddly down blanket. Makes for a damn fine well-deserved post-ride nap.  
  • Lastly, I must mention this little trick imparted by my wise former prevent my bottles from freezing, I like to add a shot of Bombay Sapphire to my HEED (which, certainly has its own warming merits, too). 
With warm hands and feet, and something comfy covering my head, I find the rest is easy.

I like winter.
I don't like the shorter days and I don't like icy roads.
I do, however, like cold rides on frozen trails and snowshoeing and ice climbing and being snowed in and shoveling my ridiculous driveway and warming up with a hard-earned recovery Delirium and nights in with friends and a cozy fire and massive cups of hot tea and flannel sheets and bundling up and playing outside.
Happy Mid-January!

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