Monday, December 28, 2009

Another freezing ride

Well, it was a balmy 29 degrees with 64% humidity yesterday for my ride. Now cold and dry doesn't bother me much, but throw that humidity and it got cold in a hurry. No warming sun to help me along. No problem, managed to ride 8.25 miles with Ken Roberts, one of the Stella Guru's and had a great time. The ground was frozen solid and the exposed roots had frost on them too which made for a slick riding surface. I managed to stay upright but it was challanging.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

PNW Winter Riding Gear

It's cold outside, very cold for the PNW...but dry. This got me thinking about winter riding gear for mountain biking. I'd love to have a pair of winter shoes, but alas that is not in the budget. I do however have a pair of older Diadora shoes that are pretty loose fitting that become my winter mountain biking shoe because I can use thicker socks in them without cutting off circulation in my foot. On top of that, I also wear Gore-Tex oversocks for both waterproofing and for heat retention. My socks are always at least a 50% wool blend, man has yet to come up with a better sock material than wool. On my hands are usually my trusty Fox Polar Paws. They're about $40 but my pair are seeing their 6th winter and don't look worse for wear. They are warm without being bulky (I hate bulky gloves) and reasonably water resistant, only getting wet in the worst downpours yet still providing insulation. For my tops, I start with a synthetic mesh base tank top. Then I layer a wool jersey over the top of that and use my wool arm warmers. In heavy rain I have a Race Face waterproof/breathable (which is a farce mostly) jacket but most of the time I use a light LL Bean softshell jacket that is significantly more breathable than anything waterproof yet still repels light rain and mist. For my bottoms I start with my good cycling shorts or bibs. On top of that, I have a pair of thermal tights that work well. I don't bother with waterproof pants, not breathable enough and I generally am not bothered by cold legs. On my head I have a synthetic Helly Hansen LIFA skull cap that covers my ears and fits nicely under my helmet.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Winter Ride...and Hike

Woke up to a beautiful sunny morning with a dusting of snow on the ground. It was a chilly 34 degrees in the sun, much less in the shade. Hit Stella this morning for a group ride on the lightly snow covered trails. All bundled up, it felt great as the air was crisp and cold and the landscape was stunning. I lowered my front tire pressure to get a little better traction on the icy trail...maybe a little too low. As I set out on the Skeleton trail, I rounded a corner and rolled my front tire...CRASH! OK, nothing broken...flat tire though as the tire bead rolled off the rim. So I pull out a tube and my pump...shit where is my pump! Two weeks in a row my pack has ate something, last week no mini tool, this week no pump. I have no idea where they went! Anyway, everyone else already had headed down the trail so I'm on my own for a 3 mile hike out in cycling shoes through snow. Nobody came back for me, so much for trail etiquette.

Speaking of tires, I had converted back to Ghetto Tubeless using a split 24" tube as the new Michelin tires would not seat up using Gorilla Tape. With Ghetto they aired up right away and actually held air without sealant. I just ran my front too low (~15-20 psi) today...if I'd left it at 30 psi it would have been fine.