Winter Rides

Originally uploaded by sipclip&go

I am not a wimp.

Really I’m not. But I admit it, I will seek out warmth over cold. Soft over hard. Comfort over pain. Which is way I’m not a fan of winter rides.

But to prove Heather wrong (because I cannot back down from a direct challenge–it’s against my genetic code), I went out for a ride this week.

When I first struck out, it was cold, 32F. Gaining speed, the wind bit my face. I made the mistake of leaving my earrings in (double pierced) and rediscovered what a wonderful conductor of temperature gold is. By the end of my 2nd mile, it felt like I was getting my ears pierced with icicles. My lungs coughed with the shock. My toes grew numb. This was not just uncomfortable, it was distractingly painful.

At mile 5, that all stopped. My body had reached a state of adjustment. My cheeks felt thick and solid, like chunks of wood–but they did not hurt. My toes and fingertips were chilled but constant wiggling kept blood flowing. I was working hard on the bike which warmed me up. I stayed in this state of adjustment for most of the ride, and it occurred to me the parallel between physical and emotional response to changes in environment. It’s not the state itself, it’s getting there. Humans find comfort in the predictably familiar. Transitions are painful–physical or otherwise.

At the end of the hour I was transitioning again. The happy medium I had found was slipping away and I felt the numbness in my toes pass the balls of my feet and approach mid foot. My gloves couldn’t hold anymore heat in, and I was getting tired just staying warm. I cruised into my driveway and stumbled off the bike, footing compromise by my cleats and lack of feeling (where’s the floor? I can’t feel it). It took me an hour and 1/2 to feel normal again, another odd, yet more pleasant transition.

Then I had one of the best naps ever.



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2 responses to “Winter Rides”

  1. jpo says :

    Fingers and toes are the first to go for me, too, and they seem to last about an hour in this weather. The rest of the body can maintain temp more or less indefinitely if you’re working.

    A pair of handwarmers ( in the gloves buys lots of extra finger-time. A pair of toewarmers ( in the shoes helps too, but not as much as the handwarmers. I’m definitely going to have to try the electric socks (!) that I just spotted on Amazon (

    • Karen says :

      I have handwarmers and should have tried them. I was wearing a skull cap but should have worn the earwarmers too (did that today and it made a huge difference!). Toe warmers have been on my list of things to get for years now, I just always seem to forget them. Electric socks? Sign me up!

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