For those of you playing along at home, you know I am not a fan of freezing my toes into fish sticks when I ride in sub-freezing temperatures.
This past weekend we rolled out at quarter-to-9 in the morning under cloudy skies and 28*F with winds around 15mph, gusting to 25+. In an attempt to keep my toes from freezing, I covered them into two pairs of wool socks and then stuffed my toebox with plastic bags in an effort to keep out the cold under my toe covers. By our first bathroom break a mere 10 miles in, my toes were gone. Fortunately the bathrooms were inside so I was able to warm them a bit.
In all, we rode about 35 miles (I shut off my Strava after 32mi and enjoyed the short ride home) – Great ride with great company!- but I had the worst re-warming pain yet this season.
Thank G-d spring is around the corner. I don’t know how much more I can take of wearing a million layers and still freezing my toes off.
So last night I broke down and bought Shimano MW81 winter cycling shoes. They were on sale, which means they cost as much as my road shoes and commuter shoes combined. I also bought some thermal insoles and thermal sock liners.
This sounds like overkill but I will not accept that I am unable to ride in the cold.
I also did a bit more research and came across this helpful page with Tips for Keeping Feet Warm. A couple of gems stood out, such as keeping your core warm and being mindful if you have steel cleats (like I do). When I am out in sub-freezing, I wear four layers on my core:
- long-sleeve base
- wool jersey (men’s cut so it’s looser)
- fleece-lined softshell jacket
- lightweight windbreaker
It occurred to me that perhaps I should invest in a high-quality fleece-lined hardshell jacket. Three of my riding friends this weekend had hardshell jackets on over varying layers. They certainly did not look like an overstuffed sausage like I’m sure I did.
(Recommendations anyone? Please comment – I’d love your thoughts!)
I also have steel cleats … and it makes perfect sense that the metal plate is literally sucking my toes’ will to live.
Happily this weekend won’t be prime for testing my new gear as it’s going to be something ridiculously awesome like 50*F and sunny.
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In other news, I also picked up a Garmin 510 so I can track my rides and Even More Data (like cadence!) without killing my phone battery or carrying a portable charger. Hooray!
In saddle news, I’ve now put 135 miles on the Specialized Ruby and am still not convinced I need to just keep riding on it to make it better. So back to the shop this week to hopefully swap it out for something that doesn’t make me feel each individual sit bone move with every pedal stroke. Seriously – that just feels weird.