Friday, November 21, 2008

Man, am I cold.

            Tuesday was not a typical Idaho November day.  It was actually fairly warm.  The ride to work was in the mid 30's, and the ride home was sunny and in the low 50's.  Still, when I left the house that morning, I was cold.  By the time I hit the trail' I had a 12 mph headwind, and I was slowly sinking into the whine mode.  I figured that I would see Gym Teacher that morning, and I was already thinking about my complaints against the cold.  As I started up the only real climb of my commute, I saw Gym Teacher coming down the hill towards me.  In shorts.  Friggin shorts!  "Man, can you believe this is November?" he asked.  "I can't believe it's this warm."  Yeah, I know.  I'm a wimp.

             I grew up in the deep south.  A nasty winter day in Georgia is a nice spring day in Idaho.  And even though I have been in northern Idaho for a decade and a half, I am still cold blooded.  I love winter.  I love to ski, I love to snowshoe with the dogs, I will commute until the snow plows have buried the bike lanes, but the fact remains, I will be cold doing all of these activities.  When Gym Teacher is wearing riding shorts, a cotton t-shirt, a wind shell, a light weight hat and fingered riding gloves, I will be decked-out in mid-weight tights, a long sleeved synthetic t, a windproof vest, insulated jacket, a balaclava (or baclava, I never can remember which one is a dessert) and insulated winter riding gloves.  It is friggin cold, and this guy (Gym Teacher) is friggin crazy.  Or... I'm just a wimp from Georgia.

             There has to be a physiological explanation for this.  I'm sure that while he was growing up north of here, he was building massive capillary beds designed to keep him warm.  I, on the other hand, spent my youth developing more and more sweat glands.  (Just ask Marlene.  She could not figure out why all the thimble berry leaves were wet as she followed me up trail 257 on a mountain bike ride last summer).  Sweat glands are great for the humid heat of southern dog days, but they do no good when it is 20 degree and snowing.

           A few years ago, I read an article about how Conrad Aiken would take cold showers in preparation for climbing expeditions.   He stated that it helped prepare him for spending days and week in frigid environments.  So, to prepare for the upcoming ski season, I took ice cold showers every morning before work.  I lasted for about 3 days.

           Oh well, I guess I'll just put on more insulation.  Are you going to eat that last piece of baclava?

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