What a winter it's been. Since the first day of the New Year I have put in about a good solid two weeks worth of riding. It hasn't been a straight through two weeks either. I am talking about pieced together days here and there. Between the two weeks of being sick and the Northeast weather it's been hard to find motivation. I made a new year's resolution that, after one 4 hour session on the rollers with a headwind fan, that I would under no circumstance ride a trainer the rest of this season. Well now that the year is only one month old I am starting to rethink my resolution and see why so many people have a hard time keeping them.
To keep the fire going I've been running a bit when not on the bike. It's been a good diversion and something I haven't done in about 10 years. It's a weird feeling getting back on the bike after spending a good week just running. I don't feel completely jacked, but it takes the legs a few miles to get up to speed. And this running thing might just be what I need when the season starts because I don't see the trails drying out anytime soon with the amount of snow, ice, and rain we've been having.
If there is a positive to the slow miles on the bike this time of year it's getting to try out the new sponsor product. The most prefered method to test new stuff is to do it in a way where you can think about it when you're using it. This way if there are any problems it can all be worked out before the race season starts. Nothing worse than getting two hours into a race using a new product your all jazzed on just to find out it doesn't work as mentioned. You are literally stuck. The sport is tough enough when all goes well now add to the frustration of components, clothing or any other accessories not working as planned, and, well, you get the idea.
This brings me to two new products we are using for 2011. One is the Polar Insulated Water Bottles. I've never used an insulated bottle before, but that's all changed. Usually when I ride in the cold (note: below freezing tempatures) I would dump a couple of spoonfulls of salt in the water to keep it from freezing. It would work most of the time, but not always. I got a couple of the Polar Insulated bottles filled them with water, sans salt, and headed out with a couple of friends for a lovely 3 hour tour in 19 degree weather. About an hour into the ride one of the guys reached down to take a drink only to find a one pound block of ice in his bottle cage. My bottle never froze. It got cold, really really cold, but did not freeze. We stopped about mid-ride to warm up and, for the other guys, rehydrate. I did fill the one bottle with coffee and enjoyed a nice hot/ warm beverage on the ride home. Now when the race season comes around and the temps reach 99 degrees I know which bottle I'll have in my cage to keep the core tempature cool.
Product number two is Enzo's Button Hole Chamios Cream. The last time I used chamios cream was way back in the day. It was not the most pleasant experience and like riding the trainer inside I vowed to never use it again. The past few rides have been in super cold weather so wearing a couple of layers of tights is not out of the question. With all those layers sometimes the chamios do not sit right causing chaffing issues. I've had this happen on several occasions and it usually means a quick end to a ride. I got the Enzo's, applied as directed, and headed out for a good multi-hour epic. No issues. No chaffing. All around comfort. With all the snow melt on the roads the water finds its way through everything and still no chaffing issues. After 4 hours of riding through snow melt, dirt roads and lots of climbing I ended as refreshed as I felt (except for the legs). Enzo's has a great smell, like the old Assos cream, so nothing offensive there either.
What a great way to start a new year. Two new sponsors with products that make the riding in this weather actually enjoyable or at the very least more tolerant. As the saying goes "There are no bad days just bad equipment". So, until the next post, fill your Polar bottle with some espresso, lather your chamois with some Enzo's Button Hole and go drop your friends on the next hill. They will appreciate the cool minty smell as you go by........