Except for when they do.
On far more than one occasion while living in Santa Cruz, I would regularly have my friends from anywhere east of Nevada scoff at my claims that Santa Cruz winters were among the coldest I’d experienced.
To prove my point I generally relied on my friend Eugene Paul Oberpriller, unofficial mayor of Minneapolis and impresario of One On One Bicycle Studio once describing a Crusty Cup race he did there back in ’98 or so as one of the coldest bikes races he’d ever done. And that was during the summer.
I don’t know where the arctic temperatures come from, but I know they’re compounded by humidity levels that tend to hover around the 100% mark.
It’s a bone chilling, and impossible to warm up from kind of frigidity, so it was with great pleasure when one morning as my hands were so cold I was barely capable of peeling off my stretchy suit after an early morning speedcycle ride, Joe Parkin Has Nice Hair imparted a few words of wisdom to me.
“Stuff a plastic grocery bag down the front of your shorts. It keeps your junk insulated, and ads the extra benefit of making you look a bit more endowed.”
Considering he’d done time in the pro ranks in Belglandia, who was I to argue?
Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, and besides the plastic bag trick, I’d long heard of pros back in the old timey days stuffing newspapers into their jerseys to cut down on the windchill as well.
Similarly, prison inmates have been known to fashion vests of magazines under their shirts to protect themselves from getting shivved, (or if you prefer, ‘shanked‘), but I digress.
It was with this knowledge, that I was intrigued by an email several weeks ago from a fellow named Matt, who was making contact on behalf of a company called Warmfront, whose product serves the same purpose as the old timey pro’s newspaper (but not the prison magazine armor), yet is a bit less cumbersome.
Anyway, Matt sent me one to try, even though since returning to the Bay Area, I’ve experienced a grand total of zero rides cold enough to really take advantage of the goods;
I might have thought that Matt was a bit off his rocker, if it wasn’t for the note he included;
In all honesty, I think this is a reasonable idea. When riding in frigid temperatures, maintaining a higher body temperature is key. I prefer a wool under layer, but coupling that with a Warmfront I think might be just the ticket.
Though as I said, I haven’t had a cold enough day to give it a true go, so instead I’ve used it as a bib;
When gardening I’ve found it to be useful neck protection from harmful UV rays;
And on lonely weekends, it’s been a cape for Buddy;
If such an item might strike your fancy, give Warmfront a go.
In other news of clothing and such- I think it was in 1996 when Robert Ives, Scott Berg, and Sean Hunt invited me to be on their one speed mountain bicycle racing team called The Amigos;
They presented me with a set of orange coveralls displaying various sponsor’s logos screen printed on them, naturally Paul Components being one of them;
After a year of smelling like shit, and getting cut in half from the taint, up, I traded a random Caltrans worker a six pack of beer for a new and better fitting set of coveralls for myself. Eventually Scott and Robert followed suit (no pun intended) and I updated the graphic;
I redrew and painted this same design several times over;
Even once, on the tiniest Amigo;
The little fellow’s colors aside, the last time I drew it was at the 2008 SSWC and it was then that I hit the wall.
We all had at least a sixteen years racing in the updated suits, though we all longed for a change.
Enter BradO and his spiffed up rendering of my own crappy scrawl;
We scrimped and saved and between the now six of us, (Robert, Scott, Sean, the aforementioned GenO, and the newest inductee former Retrotec honcho, Smed) we were able to get new suits, complete with Brad’s artwork screen printed upon the back;
And finally, after waiting for months to extract them from their box, I finally have an excuse to dirty up my new kicks;
It’s been a fun and particularly pungent seventeen years. Here’s to another decade at least;
Photo courtesy of John Shafer.