… Wherein I Buy More Stuff

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.

this needs to be me. but with toasty toes. and brakes.

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.

 

* * * * *

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.

seriously  - look how think it is!
seriously – look how thin it is!

 

 

4 thoughts on “… Wherein I Buy More Stuff

  1. Here’s a crazy idea: If you hook up a 9v battery to each of the steel cleats in your shoe will the cleats then become heating elements? Little duct tape. Little wire. Next thing you know those warmth sucking steel pieces have become warmth giving little pieces of OMFG that is hot!

  2. Today I won’t be cycling since it’s just too rocky ice on the roads and paths. But I’ve been able to cycle 70% of the days this winter, with our snow-melt-snow weather cycles in Alberta. Temperatures plunge down to -25 degrees C. I have cycled as low as that but only for 10 km. trips or less for work, shopping. But that’s enough!

    I find cycling at -15 degrees C with little ice on pavement just fine. I don’t wear booties, but wear an ordinary (older) winter weight hiking Gortex jacket, wind pants on top of tights, etc. No, I haven’t invested in Merino wool undergarment layers.

    1. I was looking at wind pants to go over my thermal tights, as I’ve noticed the parts of my thermal tights that are not wind-resistant tend to get chilled on longer rides. That would definitely allow for cycling comfortably in lower temperature conditions.

      Push comes to shove, I can always wear my L.L. Bean parka (fleece with windbreaker overshell) over my base and wool jersey if it’s that cold out.

      Thank you for your feedback!

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