4:25 AM

So the string of terrible February weather continues unabated in Minnesota.

Wait, I mean March.  It must be March with all the wind, the random snowstorms, and sub-freezing overnight lows.

Nope, wrong again.  It turns out we are approaching mid-April, and looking down the barrel of 3-6 inches of accumulating snow.  Every Minnesotan is now partaking in their favorite pastime of weather complaining.

No, really, even as I write this at 3:45 in the morning (thank you, insomnia!) everyone in the L’Etoile du Nord (that would be: Star of the North) state is grumbling in their sleep about cold fronts, spring snow, and their broken snow blower.

Oooh, I hope my blower can keep it together for one more wet and heavy storm.

I know it will pass, but at this point I cannot wait any longer for optimal weather.  In the past two weeks I’ve put on every piece of cold weather cycling clothing I can muster and faced the biting wind on my road bike.  I’ve discovered that I can ride for up to two hours if everything goes my way.  The key is balance – I’ve got to balance the natural heat I produce as I work up a sweat with enough venting to keep the heat from building up.  Though it may feel toasty warm to zip up the jacket and hold the heat in, it doesn’t take long before the wind changes that sweat into a cold clamminess that quickly translates into uncontrollable shivering and numb extremities.

I’ve also discovered that Craft and Grabber gear is key.  Craft makes the best base layers in the universe, and when I combine those with all my other awesome Craft options (lobster gloves, jacket and hat) I get wicking and warmth.  Then when the ride extends into the second hour, Grabber hand and toe warmers keep the heat going. 

Am I ready for this weekend’s training camp?  No.  Will I be ready for the early mountain bike races in May?  Absolutely not.

But as a wonderful teammate reminded me on the group ride this past weekend, neither will anyone else!

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