The cold is something to be endured. There is no way around it. You can dress in warmer layers, throw on a pair of tights and still there is nothing left to do but endure. The right clothes make it tolerable, but never fun. Maybe its because I don’t currently own a trainer. Maybe its the fact that a co-worker suggested I “harden the fuck up” . Whatever puts me out in the once a year cold snap we experience here in Portland doesn’t matter.
Yesterday’s three hours had me wondering what it must have been like before the advent of wicking fabrics, bib tights and functional jackets.The advent of high-tech performance fabrics allows us to go out and feel the cold wind brush our skin when perhaps we should be inside wearing just a pair of shorts as we pedal to nowhere on a set of rollers. For every minute I thought about how cold I was, I spent five thinking about how thirty degrees used to be a warm day. Nothing could stop me the first year I started commuting to school and work by bike full time. 20 degrees? No problem! 10 degrees out? Whatever! One day I rode in the nine miles in high winds, producing temps as low as negative 5. My friend told me my face was going to fall off. Still, I felt like nothing could stop me. Two years later a day would come when I would leave my job running packages early because I’d lost a glove and couldn’t stand to loose any more skin from my left hand. I gave up because my hand kept freezing to my unwrapped bars.
Now, as it did then, knowing others are out there suffering with you.Yesterday there were three of us, though I knew others who were out as well. Knowing that they were as cold as I was yet kept pushing made me shut up, put my head down and endure. Seeing another team, kitted out and keeping disciplined pace line, has a fire stoking effect as well. They’re training hard, so I need to be training harder.
The cold was endured, and though my muscles are wasted and my knees are sore from grinding too big a gear without being warm, I know that I’m stronger because we endured.