A few weeks ago, I read a news report about a father and two sons who went out hiking and subsequently froze in 20-degree weather. A tragedy, to be sure, but I was curious how it’s possible to die of exposure in the 20s–after all, we regularly spend 12, 14, even 16 hours outside in that sort of weather with no problems.
Well, now I know…
I set out on a planned 40-mile ride. It was snowing lightly, but still above freezing at the start.
Then the snow turned into a sloppy, wet, nasty mess.
Which ended up soaking my gloves. And then the temperature dropped well below freezing, the wind kicked up, and the last 10 miles of my route was mostly descending.
I seriously thought I was suffering from frostbite. When I touched the ends of my fingers, I could hear a crackling noise–they were frozen. I spent the last 10 miles of the ride stopping every mile, unzipping my jacket and jersey, and warming my fingers by putting my hands under my arms. Two fingertips still hurt, so I must have gotten some mild frostbite.
I think I might have been better off with wool gloves, instead of the synthetic gloves I was wearing. Wool continues to insulate even when wet, apparently, but the Assos gloves I was wearing–which are ordinarily too warm even at 35 degrees–lost all insulating characteristics after getting wet.
That’s all I have to report right now. My wrist is getter, and I got in 110 miles of riding this week as it was healing. Now, however, we’ve had another 8-12 inches of snow dropped on us. Soon, very soon I will be able to get out for real rides–meaning at the very least 50 miles.
Oh, and one more thing: Thank you to everyone who has sent me e-mails about the blog, it’s very encouraging. Given that the blog is getting 150-200 views per day, I expect to see a lot more people riding up here next year. Most of my routes pass by my place at some point, so if you get chased by a giant black Cane Corso or Rhodesian Ridgeback, don’t worry, they don’t bite.
If you have any questions or requests, my contact information can be found via the about page. And again, if you’re just looking for routes, click on “Worth the Trip” in the categories to the right, or just go to my Ride With GPS page.
I’m pretty sure I suffered from hypothermia while on a bike camping trip a couple years back. We had ride all day in pouring rain and 50 degree temperatures. We were fine while climbing along the river. Since. Didn’t feel cold, I set up camp in my wet clothes and then drank a beer… really dumb. A few minutes later I realized I was shivering uncontrollably, so I crawled into my sleeping bag. It was at least an hour before I warmed up enough to stop shivering.
A reminder that exposure can be dangerous even in mild temperatures. Be careful out there.