What’s up slackers?
I went for a bike ride today. What makes this ride slightly more noteworthy than average was that the average temperature during this ride was somewhere hovering in the mid teens. Yeah yeah, not terribly interesting until you factor in the windchill and then recognize that the temperature I felt was somewhere in the -5 range. Yup, Fahrenheit. Nippy.
This brings me to a very important point that was brought up periodically during the King of Style reign of terror – namely, what happens to style when it’s WICKED FRICKEN’ FREEZING OUTSIDE, guy! Specifically, how does one maintain his or her semblance of looking ridiculously good while also trying to maintain all of one’s extremities and not sacrifice them to the single digits (hahaha. “Single digits.” Get it… like getting frostbite and having to remove your fingers/digits so as to not die? Oh man, I crack myself up sometimes.)
That was a very long introduction to this particular blog post’s subtitle, which reads: TUSB meets King of Style.
My loyal readers will fondly remember the TUSB series from a few years back. Part I featured the highly enviable ice faring and was documented back in my Rochester, NY days. Part II occurred back in New Hampshire exactly one year ago today. TUSB, to the fair weather crowd, means Toughen Up Sissy Boy. Mind you, TUSB was created before the TTFU phrase became popular, so they pretty much stole my thunder before the TUSB thunder even had a chance to growl.
–Back to the question at hand: How does one remain stylish while avoiding hypothermia and subsequent death?
–Brief Answer: You don’t.
–Longer Answer: It’s all a balance of style versus function and when the temperatures start to dip to New England-like lows, function always plays it’s trump card.
Let’s revisit my ride today, shall we? It was freakin’ freeeeezing. I woke up to a cloudless blue sky, and the thermometer read four degrees. Do you have aaaany idea what four degrees feels like? Seriously now, do you? (You’re welcome to say yes, but if you don’t know, then don’t even try.) For a bit of relativity, your kitchen freezer is probably four or five times warmer than that. FOUR DEGREES… yeah, chew on that for a bit.
Thankfully yesterday’s hurricane-like winds had subsided, so we merely had 10-15mph gusts to deal with. With relatively dry roads today, I was more than happy knowing that I would eventually tackle the open roads rather than another basement trainer session. Late morning rolled around, and with the sun seemingly almost ready to set (that’s a joke) it was time to kit up. As any tried and true New Englander will attest, I wasn’t joking at all when I said it would take about 45 minutes to bundle up. Moreover, all said and done, I end up wearing seemingly 10lbs more clothes than I will on a normal summer ride. More clothing weight = more of a workout = much MUCH more badass. Obviously.
Fortunately, Castelli kits us out to the nines (whatever the heck that means), so it actually probably only took me about 39 minutes to deck myself out. And when I’m done, I look like something of a gray/black/white ninja… with blue lensed glasses.
For style aesthetics, note the full face mask in combination with a lowly worn hat and glasses. Skin exposure: probably less than 1/2 square inch. Style points: high. Function points: extraordinarily high. Winner: Function.
So three hours of riding later, as any New Englander will again attest, my bike was salted more than a sweaty fat dude on Alpe d’Huez in July.
You know the worst part about riding in the cold, nasty winter is? It’s arriving home and having to clean off your bike when you’re already pretty darn chilly. Thankfully, sound thought won out the battle of what-to-do when I reminding myself how poorly the bike cleaning had gone the previous day. Instead of cleaning my bici, I hopped into a steamy hot shower.
But before I did that, I stripped down and snapped a photo of what it takes to survive this wintry mess. In truth, it’s surprisingly little again thanks to the folks at Castelli. For me, my core gets up to an adequately survivable temperature relatively quickly – it’s my face, fingers, and toes that are the true worry. Plus the heinously cold pains to those extremities are the ones that will bring you in from an otherwise pleasant ride. Big BIG mittens tackled the fingers. Wool socks, those chemically/ski-style toe warmers, and big ol’ neoprene booties handled the toes. And the aforementioned facemask and hat fielded any potential problems with the moneymaker (…my face).
Now if someone would just be kind enough to please clean my bike…