Fighting the elements … and losing

A cold snap is on its way. As ever, the newspapers and radio are being sensational about it (even though it happens every year and is rarely much more than a week or two of cold weather and a bit of snow). However, in preparation for a period of not cycling I decided to take advantage of a free afternoon and went out for a ride. The temperature was just below zero but once I got moving the added wind-chill factor made it feel much colder. My face was stinging and my fingers froze beneath my thick gloves.

Conditions at the foot of the climb appeared ok

Conditions at the foot of the climb appeared ok

I headed for a long climb hoping that it would warm me up. It seemed to be doing the trick, but the higher I climbed the icier the roads became – to the point where it became impossible to get enough traction on my skinny road tyres. I decided to turn around. Not that I had any other option really.

But the top was impassable

The top was impassable

IMG_1137

The descent was miserable and chilled me to the bones. I was going almost as slowly as I’d climbed through fear of hitting ice, and then I got a puncture. My second in a week.

Black & blue hands

Black & blue hands

Again I spent time checking the inside of the tyre for anything that might have penetrated it but found nothing. So I put in a new tube and pumped it up. By this point my hands had gone purple and my teeth were chattering. I decided that I’d taken enough punishment and headed home to sit in front of a nice warm fire. I’d been out for an hour but had only covered about 7 miles. I probably would have been quicker if I’d just gone for a run.

Tomorrow I will be ordering a new tyre, and will probably contemplate the turbo trainer before going for a run instead.

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