Friday, January 30, 2009

Today's workout

Skated 15.75 miles in 1:08:01 (13.9 mph), HR 71%, temp 42-40.* Tonight's skate was significant because the temperature was similar to the average low temperature on the date I've been considering for the WR attempt (47 degrees and September 5-6). I was interested in whether I could skate comfortably at this temperature in clothes that I could change without removing my jersey or skates, and that weren't too cumbersome.

The answer: a quite definite NO. I wore light stretchy gloves, arm warmers, a bandanna under my helmet, and a pair of sweat pants I cut off just below the knee -- and I was uncomfortably cold the entire skate. By the time I finished, my toes were numb and my arms and fingers were stiff and cold. I had planned to skate for 2 hours but I saw no point in continuing the misery. I have skated in much colder temps than this, but only with a warm undershirt, heavier gloves, and skate covers, none of which I want to contend with during the WR attempt.

It appears that temperature will be a problem. There is no 24-hour time period at any point of the year in Colorado with acceptable temperatures at both the high and low ends. Our dry, thin air doesn't hold heat well, so even hot summer days can be followed by cool nights. For example, if I go for the record on August 8-9, the average high and low are 88 (warm enough to affect performance) and 54 (cool enough to need arm warmers at nighttime). There is no way to get around this without a radical change in location, so it appears I have a choice to make: do I want to face the heat or the cold?

* Explanatory note for Canadian readers: temperatures on this blog are given in "degrees Fahrenheit," -- much like the "degrees Kelvin" you use, except better. The conversion is quite simple: 1 degree Fahrenheit equals 2.54 degrees Kelvin, so 42 degrees Fahrenheit equals... uh... divide? multiply? Anyway, if you can find one of those banks with the signs that show the temperature in both scales, just wait around till it says "42F" and the answer will appear shortly thereafter.


  1. I was worried that this blog wouldn't make me smile like your old blog did. But that last bit is spot-on. Cheers, mate.

    I can't tell you how much I'm rooting for ya on this World Record thing.

  2. Try adding a helmet cover to your kit, you'd be surprised how warm such a little thing can be. It has the added benefit of being easily removed.

    Why skip the heavy gloves? I use a pair of wind gloves over liners on the bike, and they tend to work well, and like the helmet liner can be removed easily as needed.

    Do you have a heavy wind vest?

  3. I’ve been wearing a bandanna or skullcap under my helmet, which does a good job of stopping heat loss from my scalp, although of course I have to remove my helmet to put it on/take it off.

    A wind vest would be a good buy. As for heavier gloves, I don’t like the way they feel when I clasp my hands behind my back, and they make it hard to handle bottles, gels, phone, etc.

    Dressing for the cold during training skates is one thing. But during the WR attempt I don’t want to stop to slap on a bunch of heavy gear that makes me feel clumsy and slow, and then stop again in the morning to take it off.

  4. Good point on the gloves, since most of my rides either start or end cold I usually have the heavy gloves off before I'm reaching for food supplies.

    I've got a few wind vests, they are well worth having, especially if your move your arms a lot.