Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cold November rain

Date: Nov. 15
Mileage: 29.0
November mileage: 430.4

No one appreciates the tyranny of 34 degrees and raining.

There's just no way to stay warm when it's 34 degrees and raining. Warm some of the time? Yes. Warm most of the time? Maybe even. Warm all of the time? No.

Eventually you’re going to hit a slow technical stretch or an extended downhill, and your energy expenditure is going to plummet. And where energy expenditure drops, so follows body temperature.

There’s just no way to avoid it. Wear waterproof clothing if you want to be soaked in sweat. Wear water resistant clothing if you want to be soaked in rain. Either way, you’re soaked, and eventually, hyporthermia’s going to get its icy fingers around your skin.

When it does, you have two choices: Surrender or fight. Surrendering’s easy. Go inside. Take a painful shower if you must. Fighting’s harder ... and in the end, more fun.

Imagine that you’ve just arrived at the bottom of a five-mile descent. You’ve spent the past 10 minutes blasting through dagger-like sleet as downhill windchills of 20 degrees needled through your wet coat and rain pants like they were tissue paper. Your muscles feel like they’ve been injected with ice water. You go to shift down your gears, but your fingers are rigid. Your arms are sluggish. Your legs are so heavy and numb that they feel like they’re half detached from your hips. Your whole body feels like it’s locked in slow motion, and you alone have to rally these half-frozen parts into high burn if you want to get your body temperature back to normal.

And that’s the fight. It’s comical at first. Sort of like a drunken race: battling sluggish motor functions and a slight urge to go to sleep. You shimmy the front wheel on flat pavement, stand up and heave back and forth. But then your heart starts to beat a little faster. Icy blood flows in and flows out a little warmer. The warmth filters into your muscles and finally bubbles out on your clammy skin, still exposed to the rain, still covered in soaked clothing. But warmth returns! It really can. And when you feel that warm tingle, you know it’s working.

Defeating the tyrant of 34 degrees and raining is a wonderful feeling. You feel like you could go out and conquer the world, any time, any weather, until you go to work and a co-worker says something like “Feels kinda warm outside today, doesn’t it?”

No one understands.


Thanks to those who have bought my book. Really. You’re awesome. If you’re interested in international shipping, bulk orders or signed copies, please contact me at by Sunday night. I’m going to put in an order Monday morning. And you can still purchase it here. It’s worth it. Really. ;-)

Also, I wanted to thank my sister, Lisa, for the sweet tribute that she posted on her blog. It made be tear up a bit. Thanks, Lis :-).


  1. You have the amazing ability to turn everyday life into high drama.

  2. Hi Jill,

    I've started keeping up with your blog after doing a trans-con this summer, and found merino wool to be the best all around for thermal regulation. I'm sure you're aware of how awesome merino is!



  3. I guess now I understand why winter in Vancouver sucks. It's always raining and it hovers around 5C/40F.

  4. Yup 33-40 and wet just sucks old dog balls...

  5. 34° and raining, west coast east coast when you're by the ocean in the damp it's the same.

    We in Nova Scotia know what it's like.


  6. Start the ride from the club and end in the hot tub

  7. One recommendation, put a permanent link in your blog to buy the book.

  8. your sisters blog is very sweet.
    Nice fam you have.

  9. We're at a new low for today's morning commute in Georgia: 28deg. I get all sorts of looks because I still ride the motorcycle in. The record low I've ridden in is 18deg. I tell everyone to check back with me then. Perhaps I'll beat it this year.

    No one understands.


Feedback is always appreciated!