As I sat at the dinner table watching my son take off layer after layer of clothes I began wondering what kind of person it takes to put all those clothes on to go play in the snow. Seriously, he had on an under-shirt, t-shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, coveralls, and a winter coat. 6 layers on top....jeans and only coveralls on bottom. Unbalanced maybe, but at least his body was warm. When he came in the door his face was red, and not from the cold....he was overheated.
So...what kind of KID does it take to load up on layers and go out into the snow. A kid that simply wants to have fun. So it relates to cyclists as well. I have had people ask me what is wrong with me after I tell them I raced 30 miles in 22 degree air. My story starts with the line "it was 22 degrees at the start, but the only problem I had was when my tears started to freeze". When I read that.....I start to wonder what is actually wrong with me.
But then I remember what my friend and teammate Pat said last year on a Barry Roubaix training ride. I was struggling up a monster climb.....heart rate peaking near max and totally out of oxygen. He looked at me and told me to slow my breathing and find a rhythm. Once I got settled in a bit he smiled at me. I told him I must be crazy. He smiled again and nodded his head yes stating : you're right....we are crazy. we are out here on a Sunday morning in the fresh air, getting exercise, and having fun. Think about the people that are just getting out of bed.....or eating biscuits and gravy for breakfast.....yeah....we are the crazy one's".
So what kind of person are you? Are you a person that will put on numerous layers and head out to play in the snow? Are you the kind of person that will put just enough layers on to be warm...and then race for a few hours while your water bottles are freezing? I am....but not all the time. Only when I need to be.
Today I stayed indoors on a cold Michigan day. I still managed 90 minutes on the stationary trainer, but all I had to put on was a pair of shorts and a jersey. No extra clothing. In fact....I turned a fan on. Funny thing is...I was watching a video from a race last November that I was unable to attend. Iceman. I got sucked in and felt like I was in the race....only warm and cozy in my house.
In the coming weeks I will turn into the other kind of rider. I will brush the snow off my car and load my bike onto the rack. I will take a pile of clothes and drape them on my body. Balaclava, shoe covers, wool socks, wool jersey, neoprene gloves. And I ride. Whatever the distance it is cold when we get done. First thing you do is start the car and crank the heat. Then all of the clothes come off and you try to warm up your toes and fingers.
On the drive home I think about the ride....and just how crazy I may be. I will tell you this much.....the asylum I am part of has a lot of people in it.....and the only medicine we take is our bikes....with a huge dose of motivation and support.
What kind of person are you?