I’m thinking with nostalgia about those cycle lanes I love to ride in winter, going around lakes, along seashores and rivers, is the perfect choice when it gets cold and climbing a mountain became challenging, not much for the uphill part, but when it comes to the downhill it could be so cold to became even painful.
But this year we changed our habits and we had to redesign our tours to stay close-by our hometown, due to the restriction regulations necessary to overcome the pandemic, that is affecting our life since February 2020.
I cannot plan to cycle for 2 days and I cannot go along a canal in Veneto and follow it up to the sea. I know that I shouldn’t complain since at least we are still free of cycling around, but I miss the spirit of the tour, I miss packing my bags and travel for at least a few days, leaving everything else behind.
In addition to the unexpected time, which is something that will change our way of being for a long time, we are having a very cold winter. I mean if I compare this winter to the last two, when the thermometer rarely went below 5 degrees, this winter I found myself cycling with no more than 2-3 degrees for hours. I’m not climbing the Alps or Dolomites, in winter, but the temperature dropped easily around zero in town and also in the countryside close by most of the days was very freezing.
Sometimes was challenging to keep going with frozen feet, cold and hurting hands. I can imagine for who is less passionate than I am, how easily would have been saying “I’m not cycling today”, but I know that our body can adjust a lot if we just keep going. So the first couple of days I felt very bad, I was so stressed by the cold and I wasn’t really relaxing on my bike, but it came to a point that cold became part of the ride and I don’t know how, I felt better, my feet and my hands were not hurting anymore and even if I could see it was cold because of the hoarfrost, I’m wasn’t in pain anymore. Acceptance, maybe or stubbornness perhaps. What I really think is that we can overcome even more extreme conditions if we don’t give up. Cycling is teaching me so much, I’m used to riding a bicycle in all seasons, in the cold and in the hot weather, with rain or snow, but every time unexpectedly I can raise the bar higher.
At the beginning of the winter, I googled solutions for the cold, heated gloves and socks, heating gel with essential oils, thermal underwear, and so on. The only way to stay warm is to stay dry and have a good wind-stop jacket for the downhill, so with a technical long-sleeve t-shirt below my usual t-short, the wind-stop 2 layers jacket, ski gloves, winter socks, and neoprene cycling overshoes, I was able to keep going and enjoy the season.