The 5 Days Of Christmas: Riding In East Coast Winters

This post started out as a stab at documenting the Rapha 500, but quickly turned into a lament on riding in the east coast US during the winter, and an ode to cabin fever spurred on by the turbo trainer. In the end despite everything I still managed to get about 350 KMs in, although mostly done indoors, but also managed to do some nerve damage to the tip of my little finger because of riding in the cold.

Day 1 / 12.24.10

This is all pretty new to me up here in Litchfield County, CT, and in retrospect considering this may have been the only day I’ll get that stays above 3oºF (-1ºC), I probably should have picked a flatter route to eke out as many miles as my fingers and toes could cope with. Instead I ended up going over what seemed like endless hills, and whilst beautiful, were not helping me much in my R500 challenge.

Distance: 54.32km
Avg Speed:
20.96 kph (hills will account for the general slowness)
Feet climbed:
3oºF (-1ºC), with wind chill 21ºF (-6ºC)
Calories Burned: 1516 cal
Wine Consumed:
Half Bottle of a Cab and 1 glass of Argentinian Malbec
General Mood:
Despite the cold, happy to be out
R500 Prediction: Optimistic

Note: Wine consumed was not done during rides, please remember to ride responsibly.


Day 2 / 12.25.10

It just got colder, a lot colder. The air temperature was 27ºF (-3ºC) and the wind chill brought it down to a finger-numbing 17ºF (-8ºC). It is amazing how much difference the sun makes when it is shinning on your back. On the suggestion of a neighbor who thought I was insane for going out (I explained that there may be Rapha kit at the end of all of this as a logical explanation, didn’t seem to cut it, obviously not a believer) I went along the valley floor to hopefully clock more miles and less hills. Unfortunately leaving my embrocation back in Brooklyn meant my legs never seemed to get moving in any sort of fluid way. I dropped down gears to ride at a high cadence to try and elevate my circulation, which just proceeded to frustrate me at how slow I was covering ground. Alas, one hour out and my fingers had completely gone, to the point I was finding it hard to change gears, so I headed back. It is beautiful around here, but it is f#*king cold this time of year.

Distance: 43.4km
Avg Speed:
22.5 kph (legs frozen will account for that general slowness)
Feet climbed:
27ºF (-3ºC), with wind chill 17ºF (-8ºC)
Calories Burned: 866 cal
Wine Consumed:
Half Bottle of a very nice Chateau Leoville Barton
General Mood:
It’s Xmas! How could you not be happy?
R500 Prediction: Semi-Optimistic


Day 3 / 12.26.10 / Snowopolis

It just got really white and unridable around here. In the evening things weren’t looking too bad, and then we saw the “Severe Weather Warning“. The first picture above was just before it started, and the second picture is the 18 inches of coverage we got in one night. The day fast became a day of drinking coffee and sanding and painting walls.

Distance: 0 km
26ºF (-4ºC), with wind chill 17ºF (-8ºC)
Calories Gained: Lots
Wine Consumed:
Other half bottle of the very nice Chateau Leoville Barton
General Mood:
R500 Prediction: Doubtful


Day 4 / 12.27.10 / Snowopolis Day 2

It is amazing how quickly they clear the roads around here in Litchfield County, but still not enough to ride, so some indoor trainer time ensued. Looking out the window into this winter wonderland got old really quickly.

Distance: 51.4 km
72ºF (22ºC)
Calories Burned: 926
Wine Consumed: Started in on a nice Malbec

General Mood:
Still Hibernating
R500 Prediction: Fail


Day 5 / 12.28.10 / Snowopolis Day 3

We decided to take on riding of another type and take advantage of essentially being snowed in. We broke out the snowboards and hit the local hill for an afternoon of “Cross Training”. I crouched as low as my very tuned snowboarding style would allow to get as close to a squat simulation as I could. It didn’t work, but I did enjoy the snow.

Distance: 10 km
Temperature: 3oºF (-1ºC), with wind chill 21ºF (-6ºC)
Calories Burned: I think I may have added some by getting a Hot Chocolate
Wine Consumed: Finished the Malbec

General Mood:
Optimistic Again
R500 Prediction: Maybe I should just try and do it all on a trainer….never going to happen

Categories: Rides / Routes

  1. Great post. The ice party that has been South Philadelphia has kept me on the trainer the last few days. While a brisk walk to the grocery store and some Jillian Michael’s DVD have had to suffice as cross training workouts!
    Between that and the Root 1 Carminere we’ve been drinking, all is right as rain.

  2. You can’t beat a good Chilean wine for interval training. Although I like something a little lighter to go with the Zone 2 workouts. Maybe a nice Zifandel. Unfortunately I think this ice party may run for a few month yet.


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