I rode up to Nyack on Saturday morning to increase my 'holy shit it's cold and windy outside' threshold. Total elevation gain was roughly 3,500 ft over the 70 mile route. Surprisingly there were a quite few brave souls out on the road who also felt the need to ride no matter what. I like that it gives me some bragging rights for suffering it out in the dead of winter. It was cold to say the least. At 30º the entire day I had to be prepared. I had on a thin base layer, a thick long-arm jersey, a soft-shell jacket, thermal 3/4 tights, shoe covers, winter gloves, a cap and a new winter collar, all from Rapha. What can I say, I'm a brand whore, but they make really great stuff, unadorned with flashy graphics. Here's a good blog post from Rapha about winter attire. I get cold really easily, and layering is essential for cold weather riding. I like to be able to regulate my heat by zipping and un-zipping things, rather than having to stop and change.
“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” - Sir Ranulph Fiennes
It was so cold in fact that my water bottles began to freeze. At one point I had to stop to unscrew the cap just to get a drink of water. Not only did my water freeze but my Clif bars and my Garmin did, too, which is why you'll see on my Strava page that the ride was broken into two parts. It was so cold that I didn't even bother to take a single picture of my ride, which I usually do.
I also decided to take a new route towards the George Washington Bridge by cutting through Long Island City in Queens, over the Queensboro Bridge, up through Central Park and along Riverside Drive. It was my first time riding through Queens as well as Central Park, which I found to be quite beautiful despite the massive amounts of people crisscrossing the lanes. There was definitely a lot more climbing involved compared to my usual route along the flat and rather boring ride along the Hudson River Greenway.
The ride itself was nice as usual, and it's a bit further than I usually go. I began to feel fatigue later on, as my effort getting through Queens and Manhattan was intense yet really fun. My energy level was plummeting fast, and thankfully I hooked up with a group on 9W that pulled me back into the city at a very fast pace, averaging at least 20-24 mph.
I missed my turn back into Central Park, but managed to snake my way back halfway down through the park. At this point all I could think about was taking a hot shower and eating something non-frozen. Even at 70 miles I felt really good afterwards. I could tell my endurance has picked up over the past few months as well as my power. Old man winter, bring it on.