I do believe today was the coldest day of riding for me. I was not sure how long I could go before my toes and fingers lost all feeling. But I finally got it right when dressing for the occasion of 20 degrees. Now to put what I wore in writing so as not to forget for future reference: 5 layers up top, Gavia cycling tights, beanie, neck gaitor, booties, hand and toe warmers. And I also put my Camelbak under my jacket (learned that one the hard way).
Zeke and I rode the singletrack at Chilhowee, figuring we would have more shelter from the wind as opposed to riding fireroads. We ended up getting in a little over 3 hours; it was truly a gorgeous day. Sunshine and blue skies always seems to make it a little warmer than what the thermometer reads. At least with the freezing temps, we had it all to ourselves. I kept my heartrate up enough to stay warm, but low enough not to sweat. That was the trick for me.
We did have a few creek crossings. This caused a small problem for my bike. My lower derailleur pulley froze after I stopped for a pee break. Hmmm! How do I fix that? Zeke comes up behind me and immediately gets down on all fours and starts blowing on it! Not quite enough hot air (although sometimes I think he has enough to power a balloon!) so I get down on the other side of the wheel and start blowing too. That is the closest to a man's lips, other than my husband's, that I have been to in 18 years! Thank goodness for the spokes between us. And thank God no one else came along and saw us. What a sight that would have been! Here we are, on all fours, on either side of the wheel, huffing and puffing, trying not to get spittle on each other, unthawing a pulley. I never laughed so hard! Well, it did work, and we finished up the ride in good spirits.