Oven Mitts....

Unlike Nick, I have never struggled with cold hands. I'm usually happy with three layers less of glove then what he's using, or my heavy gloves if he's got his bar mitts on. In the spring and fall, that's fine. I can wear my thin wool liner under a heavy pair of gloves and be happy - despite the lack of dexterity and other issues. Even at the Leadville Winter Bike Series last year, I tried to avoid wearing my really heavy gloves. Had slightly cold hands a few times, but didn't think much of it. But for whatever reason, when Nick and I went out on the fatbikes on Sunday, I wasn't happy with the glove situation. It seemed like no matter how I tucked in cuffs or layered gloves, I just wasn't comfortable. My hands were warm for sure, but I couldn't manipulate the shifters or brakes like I wanted. And I made my discomfort evident to Nick, even mentioning that maybe I should try the bar mitts we had at home. What could it hurt?

When I got home from work Monday, my bike was decked out with our spare pair of bar mitts. Made for an ATV, they don't necessarily fit the best, but for a trial run, it was perfect. Would I have the comfort and dexterity I wanted to and have nice and toasty hands? I got to test it out on Tuesday. Sure, it wasn't super chilly - but I had my lightest gloves on and some comfortable hands. I also didn't have the extra pressure around my wrists from layers of gloves in addition to my jacket. Even better, I could feel the grips and manipulate everything without struggling. I did a few short intervals to see how it felt riding hard - awesome. And then I decided to ride down Columbine, knowing that the stretch of trail down in the canyon has always been a weak point for my hands. Got into the shady part along the creek and while my nose and ears were rightly cold, my hands were still warm. Win!

Today was another snowy fatbike ride with plenty of climbing and descending. Amber and I headed up the Chutes, Gold Camp and High Drive, with assurances from Nick that the boys had gotten Jacks well packed in the prior night. It was mostly packed in - the wind had formed some new drifts in spots. But for the most part, it was the best Jack's has been riding all fall. Just stay in the tracks and let the tires float! I had my summer gloves on again, but my hands were warm. And I had no issues with riding fast on the descent. I could get my hands in and out of the mitts easy enough. We did Columbine again and the same result. Where my hands usually go numb, I was perfectly fine. And I was wearing a layer less then normal for the temperatures today!

So I'm a convert. From making fun of Nick and his bar mitts, I'm going to get a nice pair for my bike. After all, if I'm going to be riding that bike all winter (and racing!) I might as well have happy hands and be able to feel my bars. No more making fun of the oven mitts on other people's bikes - I'm right there with them now!

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