Hardest and Coldest

Yeah, so it was one of those days when a ride wasn’t really necessary. Except that it was. I can count the days without snow on one hand now. If the forecasters have it right, and I hope they don’t, then Tuesday may mark the forced return indoors. They’re indicating 15 cm, but on the bright side, if it rains right after, then it wont stick.

So anyway, despite the extremely frigid temperature (-8.5c) and hurricane winds (45 km/h W with gusts topping 70 km/h) I dressed and stepped out the back door. A normal person would have immediately turned around and gone back indoors and sat in front of the fire that I had just lit for Marie and Ollie, but no, I steeled myself and took the bike down off its hooks and checked the tyres.

I could still change my mind, I said to myself. No shame it going back indoors. No-one even knew I was planning on going for a ride, so it’s not like I’m chickening out or anything. How I debated with myself for several minutes! But in the end, I opted for the slightly stupid but only option of continuing with the ride.

Of course I headed into the wind to start. Always best to get the harder work out of the way first, although some would argue, and with merit, that a tailwind for the first few kilometres gives you an appropriate window to warm up as you should, but I had no time for luxuries today. I wanted to get the wind out of the way as quickly as possible and enjoy a rocketing ride home.

It was not to be that easy. The headwind, as you might expect, was brutal, and made only worse by the intense cold. My head positively ached for the first few minutes until, I suspect, it went completely numb and I could not feel it anymore. My feet suffered a similar fate, and actually I only started feeling them again once I had been home for about ten minutes. -8.5c at 30 km/h feels like -20c or so. Not sure what the true value is…wait, hang on. Environment Canada’s wind chill calculator tells me that at 30 km/h (my average speed) the temperature had a feels like of -18c. Bloody hell!

I don’t know where the tailwind went, but although there were moments where I was definitely getting a small push on the return journey, it was spotty to say the least. There were constant squalls which pushed me around, and often the wind came smacking right into my exposed face again to remind who was boss. By the time I got home, my eyes were bloodshot from the cold and the wind. I was not getting any sympathy from Marie. Should’ve stayed in front of the fire, she said!

A flock of birds resting on the frigid waters of Lac St. Louis this afternoon.

A flock of birds resting on the frigid waters of Lac St. Louis this afternoon.

I took the above shot when I was only a couple of kilometres from home. There were hundreds of birds floating on the water, seemingly not bothered at all by the cold. It could have been a warm summer’s day as far as they were concerned. Once again I showcase my newly acquired Photoshop skills to provide you with a screen shot of the Garmin to confirm the temperature. The calorie count seems a bit elevated for a ride of only 95 minuted or so, but then when you’re not wearing the HR monitor it tends to judge by the speed and the cadence alone I suppose. My preference is always to ride a slightly lower gear with a higher cadence, so that might end up inflating the numbers somewhat.

Tomorrow I hope to commute on the fixed down to the campus, and then as I said Tuesday may be the beginning of indoor pedalling for a couple of months. I do hope not, though. Watch this space.

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4 Responses to Hardest and Coldest

  1. Gerry says:

    Thank you for reminding why moving back to Canada is not an option till my knee totally gives out.

  2. “Of course I headed into the wind to start”, I like it. You’ve clearly done your share of bad weather riding – riding home into a block headwind with tired legs is never fun.

    • James says:

      I try and avoid the rain, only because I cannot stand having wet feet. Slushing about in the clips is not my idea of fun! But the wind? We get plenty of that here in Montreal and so it keeps us working hard! Thanks for stopping by mate!

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