Cold weather cycling hurts. Is it worth the pain? The jury is still out while my feet thaw. Here in Texas it is not that hard to avoid cycling in weather below about 50 degrees but yesterday I decided I was going to get outside no matter what. Family and work obligations dictate that about 90% of my workouts are in the early mornings so I forced myself outside at 7 AM on Sunday and the thermometer read 30 degrees. I was determined to do it because the last 3 weeks I wimped out and rode the trainer indoors. One can only take that for so long before going crazy.
The first 30 minutes were terrible but once everything went numb I did not feel any more pain. To give some perspective, 30 degrees really is not that cold when just standing outside, but if you hop on a bike and ride 17 to 20 MPH you are essentially creating a headwind of the same speed. Thus with the wind chill factored in, 30 degrees feels like about 18 degrees when on the bike.
Now to my question, is it worth the pain? I figure riding outside as opposed to the trainer is always better, if only for the scenery. I also think that it makes a person more mentally tough to ride in any kind of weather. If you can run or bike in cold weather and force the thoughts of quitting out of your mind your mental toughness increases. It is like a big hill or biking against the wind. You have to be just as mentally ready to take on these elements as you are physically. If you can do well under adverse conditions think of how much better you would do in perfect conditions. Plus, friends think that I am crazy. I probably am, but I like it that way. When people make excuses for not being able to workout I always point out that its not the time limits its the conscious decision to not start. If I can force myself out in the freezing cold then there are no excuses for not getting out of bed and going to a warm gym. Truth is I like the image of being the crazy triathlete, or is it dedicated triathlete? I guess it depends on your perspective. It's a fine line that I enjoy walking.