If you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Opportunistic Monday

I had been really looking forward to a ride today but contemplated blowing it off when I looked out the window and saw all the frosty white rooftops in the neighborhood. I ran upstairs and logged on to The Weather Channel page for our local zip code and confirmed what my eyes were bleakly seeing - a dreaded 29 degree number. NOOOOOOOOO!!! I screamed. I ran downstairs to let Sage out for her morning "potty", and yes, the outside air that greeted my face when I opened the door also confirmed The Weather Channel's report. Like I said earlier, I ALMOST blew off my ride. After moping around a few minutes and being cranky about the long cold winter heading our way, I realized I needed a serious "attitudinal adjustment". Instead of being negative about the arrival of cold weather, I gave myself a swift kick in the rear and decided to take a more positive view of the situation. Today is an OPPORTUNITY to start developing my thicker "winter" skin. So develop I did. Get out there and suck it up buttercup!

So here I am, above, decked out in my winter gear,and doing so quite happily, after my attitudinal adjustment. Here's a description of my winter wear: base layer is a lightweight merino wool long sleeve. Wool is, after many years of trying all the fancy-schmancy wonder fabrics, THE BEST next to skin layer. It stays warm in spite of getting wet and sweaty. Next is a Pearlizumi Kodiak Light bike jersey. Top that off with a Wind Pro Fleece Vest which blocks the wind and adds a bit of insulation. Tights are winter weight with a front wind panel. Socks are merino wool DeFeet Blaze - I love these socks for riding and running in the winter. Many a time last winter I ran in the Blaze through ankle deep snow and my feet did great each time. Buy some! On my hands, I've got REI's Wind Pro gloves. When it gets extra cold, I will put a pair of Smartwool liner gloves underneath (only when I ride. Usually, the Smartwool glove liners are all I need when I run in the winter). A Smartwool earband tops out the protection. Merino wool and Wind Pro are two of the best fabrics for cold outdoor aerobic sports like running and biking. I like wearing a vest in most cold weather situations rather than a jacket because a vest allows my arms to vent some of the heat build-up but still keeps my core warm. FYI: Sport Hill's 3SP is another MUST HAVE winter fabric, particularly for running. I have a 3SP pant and a 3SP top. Awesome pieces!
It ended up being a wonderful ride. It's amazing what a little swift kick will do!
I headed north on the Santa Fe Trail, winding through the Air Force Academy which is always enjoyable.
Although the weather was crisp and rather gray, I felt blessed to be able to get out and enjoy the day, ending my ride with about 26 miles. It was great!

One trick that works for me in the cooler weather - I always run and ride with an Ice Blue Throat Lozenge in my mouth. It helps to keep my throat and nose from getting irritated breathing in the cold air. The blue Brachs mints work well, too, although they are very difficult to find around here.

Here's a side note unrelated to running and biking: I am making my very own homemade vanilla extract! I will bottle it up and add the bottles to the Christmas packages/baskets I am putting together this year. It is super easy to do. The pictures below show the 3 stages my vanilla is in right now. The bottle on the right has been "soaking", "marinating", "fermenting", "stewing", whatever vanilla does, for 2 days. The bottle in the middle, 2 weeks and the bottle on the left for 4 weeks. Basically all you need to do is get canning jars, vodka, and vanilla beans. Mix the vodka and vanilla beans and let "marinate" for 3 months - shaking the bottles every other day or so over that 3 months - then you have wonderful vanilla extract! If you are interested, I've attached 2 links below. One is for the recipe I used and one is for the supplier I purchased the beans from. Enjoy!


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