Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The stresses of winter cycling

The wise people at the winter bike clinic with the CBN back in the fall told us that winter cycling would be more stressful on our bodies. In the past couple days, I've been finding out about this. It's nothing disastrous; don't worry. It's just a little dose of reality.

After my weekend bike ride, then commuting on Monday, I've been feeling pretty tired and achey. I've taken a break for a couple days allowing me to sleep in an extra 45 minutes. Today would have been a beautiful day to be pushing my pedals through our urban forest, but I'll have to hope for good weather Thursday and Friday.

The feeling after getting home from a ride in the cold is similar to when I first started commuting to work. Fortunately, the morning ride always gets me feeling good and awake. After the ride home though, I usually want to lay down on the couch and eat as much food as I can find. It can be completely draining, especially since the food always seems to be in the kitchen and the couch in the living room.

As surprising as it is to non-cyclists, the cold doesn't bother me in the least once I actually start riding (as I've said many times). As long as I'm not getting frostbite or hypothermia, I don't really care if some cold air is blowing on my ankles or my knees. Exercising in the cold just seems to take more energy, although after looking at this article on winter nutrition, it's not as simple as having a higher metabolism to warm myself up. What this doctor says makes sense. To paraphrase her: unless you're shivering, the main difference from warm weather exercise is that warmth and moisture are expelled through your lungs instead of your sweating skin. The reason for the hunger has more to do with your brain's demand for food since it expects to need it for fuel in the near future.

The other stress I've been faced with is dry skin. I was thinking of posting a macroscopic photograph of my dried out knuckles, but I like it better if you come and read here again. On Monday night, I banged my knuckle and it started bleeding way too easily. I bought a big bottle of moisturizer to keep at work to try to change this. I've been reapplying liberally, so now my mouse and keyboard are developing a nice shine that should discourage others from interfering with my work.

My skin's shine, however, doesn't seem to last very long. There must be a better way. I like inside-out solutions better. Maybe I need to start having shots of olive oil.

Darren J 2/22/2006 01:30:00 p.m.


"It can be completely draining, especially since the food always seems to be in the kitchen and the couch in the living room." That had me laughing a lot, as well as the shiny keyboard thing. My hands are dry too, but no more than usual in the winter time. Hmmm. I agree though, the colder the weather, the harder the ride seems to be. Sometimes I think it's just the more layers of clothing, etc.
I used to get terrible problems with dry skin on my hands (particularly the knuckles), but since I started riding with wool liner gloves they've cleared up. I can only assume the extra sweat that gets generated moisturises my hands and stops them from drying out. The gloves need washing at least once a week, because my god, the reek, it burns my nose, the pain. It really is that bad. Also, they need to be hung up to dry nightly - I hang mine up behind one of the servers at work (go HP!) which dries them nicely, and then again on the line inside when I get home.

The gloves I got are the Auclair ones from MEC, which at $4 can't really be beaten. Just washed. A lot.
I found that since I started to eat peanut butter honey on multi grain bread for fast snacks at work and bannana's when I get home I am not tired as I used to be ( Big Turk candy bars are great for a boast too ).. I'll show ya my gloves next time since I got them I have had no more skin problems. maybe you could try wearing some Gators on really cold day's I found I am not as tired after I drive my bike home at 11 pm when I have them on ( not sure why ) , I need coffee, ride safe Bro

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