Tonight I am feeling satisfyingly tired and actually a little sore.
After a couple of lazy days at the beginning of the week I was able to pick things up a bit the past three days. Thursday's workout consisted of an easy 45 minute morning run. Yesterday was an early morning 45 minute run followed by a brutal 75 minute spin class with Staci. I've come to appreciate her hold nothing back approach to working out. It was one of the hardest Friday morning classes I've done. As usual I devoured any food that was within arms reach the rest of the morning.
Today turned out to be a fantastic day for riding. I logged three hours and eighteen minute of riding time for just over 31 miles. The first part of the ride was rather slow because I decided to throw in a little adventure by heading out onto Eagle Lake. I found the conditions much better then they were two weeks ago. The road created by the ice fishermen was solid and fast, but venturing off still proved difficult. Most of the real rough icy areas have been covered by a couple of snow falls. Snowmobile tracks were the best bet for getting around away from the fishermen's road, but some areas were still difficult to navigate and the going was rough and slow. Once back on the ice road I was able to fly across the lake. I'm looking forward to heading out there some night this week after the really cold air settles into the area.
Once again I tried to avoid streets, roads, and traffic as much as possible. I did this by riding primarily on the biking trails and walking paths. Most of the trails were plowed but were still snow and ice covered for the most part. Some spots were really difficult because the hadn't been plowed after our most recent snow and other areas were clogged with snow plow debris.
When I left the house the temp was right around 0 F. I tested out a bit of a different layering system with my clothing which I found to be quite comfortable. All I wore on top was a winter weight Under Armor base layer, my Moonstone fleece sweatshirt, and a Mountain Hardware softshell jacket. On my legs I had on a pair of very light Specialized tights, biking shorts along with knee warmers, and over that my Pearl Izumi windproof tights. I also made sure that I had toe warmers in my hiking boots. This system worked out surprisingly well considering the windchills were close to or below zero much of the day.
I did notice some cold spots in my hiking boots which didn't really surprise me since they really aren't designed for extremely cold weather. My hydration system is still a great concern. I ordered a Camelbak StoAway hydration bladder from my sponser US Outdoor Store. I was excited to try this out because it is compatible with most backpacks that have hydration sleeves and also because the reservoir and drinking tube are insulated to protect them from freezing. Well, to my dismay the hose still froze and I went the last two hours of my ride without fluid. Not a good or acceptable situation.
Maybe if I drank more consistently while riding it wouldn't freeze. I've also thought of putting warmer water in it to keep it from freezing for a longer period of time. The next test will be to wear it under my jacket. My concern is legitimate because next weekend I'll be riding the Sawbill Trail on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Temps are forecast to be well below zero and I don't want to be out in the middle of nowhere unable to drink fluids. I'll be going to REI this week to purchase an insulated water bottle holder or two. This way I can keep a 32 oz. nalgene bottle attached to my handlebars.
One other thing I will need to purchase for the ride is a pair of larger platform pedals to accommodate my hiking boots or my Columbia winter boots. The Shimano pedals I have on now are good for warmer riding and feature a clip in on one side and the other side is a platform. Unfortunately, when the temps get below 30 degress I can't keep my feet warm in regular cycling shoes even with an insulated neoprene cover and toe warmers.
I'm feeling really good about my fitness level at this point in time and I'm hoping to get in some solid miles next weekend. Daytime temps are forecast to be in the single to double digit below zero range. Night time temps could be -20 F to -30 F. I guess this will be a pretty good test of what I can handle for a prolonged period of time.
Tomorrow is my day for a long run. I would like to do another 90 minute run followed by some strength and flexibility work. Then the rest of the day will be spent on school work and taking down Christmas decorations.