Was planning on the usual 50-mile Brands route this weekend but a glance at the weather forecast last night started to but some doubts in my mind. Predicted temperature of 24F and 20-30 MPH winds, wind chill of 12F! I do have cold weather gear but 3 hours in sub freezing temperature and high winds gets uncomforatble no matter what you're wearing on the bike.
I settled on a planned 25-mile ride up to the LIE and back, via Round Swamp Rd. Going to see the cyclocross races in Southampton this afternoon and I figured if those guys could race an hour in this cold then I should be able to get my ride in too! Depending on how I felt at the halfway point I could extend to 30 miles by doing the West Hills loop or 40 miles by doing the whole service road. Since this was going to be a shorter-than-normal ride, I skipped the pre-ride meal and kitted up for a 7:00 AM start. Broke out all the cold weather clothes: balaclava, ski gloves, barrier jacket, windproof bib tights, full shoe covers.
Started right off into the headwind. Tough going but at least it kept my core warm. Predictably, fingers and toes were the first victims of the cold. At the LIE, I felt okay and decided to go for West Hills. I took my last sip of water at mile 14 as the water bottle froze up at this point.
Got the tail wind for the return loop but it actually seemed to be colder coming back, maybe due to the increased wind chill or maybe because I wasn't working as hard without the headwind to fight. Back home in under two hours and fumbled to get out my house key with numb fingers. First order of business after peeling off all the extra layers...get the coffee going!