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  1. #1
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    One Hour Threshold

    It's starting to get more winter like around these parts as of late, so on my ride this morning I was thinking about the one hour threshold. Has anyone else ever noticed that there can be a one hour threshold where anything after that and things start to get cold.

    This didn't happen today or anything, I was just remembering my last 3 winters of riding and how this never gets mentioned on this forum. It should get mentioned because it is important personally to calculate and allow for this phenomena.

    When we talk about what to wear, it is seldom taken into account how long it was worn for. For example, in the "what i wore" sticky the length of the ride is sometimes listed but probably not given enough attention.

    From my experience, what works for 30 minutes may or may not work for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Often for me things start to try and go numb after one hour. This seems to happen on the hands and feet, when i am wearing something that is marginal for the given temp. My Lake Winter boots are a good example. They can be toasty warm at 15 F for 45 minutes, but ask me again, at 1 hr. and 45 minutes. I'd have a different answer.

  2. #2
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    No matter what everything seems soaked after an hour. Yes, my skin is dry but the clothes seem to get heavier and heavier. After 2hrs seems like my threashold even in 20F

  3. #3
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Maybe if you stopped and went indoors for a few minutes you would be good for another hour. Like stop at a Mcdonalds or Speedway and refuel with a cup of cocoa or coffee with lots of sugar.

    Sometimes I get off and run with my bike for a couple minutes to get my feet warmed up.


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    a77impala a77impala's Avatar
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    Today I rode for 1 hour and then turned around, it was windy and 30 degrees. I was about a mile shy of my normal turn around, I was not cold but the ride home was against the wind so glad I did it that way.
    Treks, 85-420, 87-560, 90-930,92-970, 95-930, 96-1220, LeMonds, 2000 Zurich, 05-Etape, 06-Versailles

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I have found that if I am heading out for a long ride in winter (i.e. a century), that I have to dress so that I am COLD for the first 15 minutes or so. That part of the ride is incredibly uncomfortable ... everything hurts ... but then after 15 minutes it all warms up and I'm fine for several hours.

    I have also found that I'm going to sweat no matter what I wear, so my clothing choices are important. What works for me is a polypro base layer, which wicks the sweat into a merino wool layer, which wicks the sweat into a coolmax layer, which wicks the sweat into a fleece layer, which sort of half-heartedly wicks the sweat into my jacket. My jacket has a well-vented back and moist air escapes there, often leaving the back of my jacket quite frosty.

    The result of all that is that the polypro layer, the wool layer, and the coolmax layer are as dry as can be ... which is perfect because they are against my skin leaving my skin warm and dry ... and that's important for warding off hypothermia. The fleece layer is usually damp, but that's OK, and the inner lining of my jacket is usually soaked, but that's OK too because the windproofing on my jacket works to block the cold air blowing against the wet parts.

    With that combo, I can be quite comfortable out there ... except for the first 15 minutes.

  6. #6
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    I am having this issue with my feet. 1 hr to 90 minutes last year in 15F temps and I was fine. 2 hrs in sub 40F temps and I am not. However, it should be resolved shortly with some new gear.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie
    I am having this issue with my feet. 1 hr to 90 minutes last year in 15F temps and I was fine. 2 hrs in sub 40F temps and I am not. However, it should be resolved shortly with some new gear.
    That's primarily what i am talking about as well, the feet are always the thoughest. Not really a problem for me because usually when it is around 0F my waterbottles freeze up and I don't ride for more than 2 hrs anyway.

    Guess I started the thread to see if others shared my observations.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    If you're actually shivering (shaking with cold) I think you should get in ASAP. Otherwise you're just uncomfortable and can keep going. But if it's below about zero degrees F, be careful of frostbite on exposed skin.


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  9. #9
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    Yesterday I experienced this same problem with 2 layers of wool and softshell jacket. At 29F, comfortable until about 1.5hrs. After re-reading some very old posts in this winter forum. I found the people who rode all day and said they were comfortable were wearing similar layers.

    I'll try eatting after 1hr and then report back. So I'm wondering if the chilliness has to do with the body running out of energy. Maybe a precurser to a bonk?

  10. #10
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    I have also found that I have about a one hour threshold. Usually my feet are cold by then even if they have been quite warm for most of the ride. I think there are many factors and for me the psychology is one big factor. I just don't have as much fun because riding is so much more of a chore. So I don't have as much motivation. And yet I have had some great and fun 60 - 90 minute rides. Especially on frozen dirt roads around a local bird refuge.

    I do think that there is merit to the needing to eat more often because when you are in the cold your body burns more fuel to stay warm. Perhaps calorie intake needs to increase a little and more often. But since it is a pain in the cold to eat with gloves and more clothes I think that most riders are more prone to eat even less than when it's warm.

    I have also found that if my body is more warm and comfortable I can stay out longer but at the same time dressing this way causes me to sweat a little more. I'm not talking being way over dressed which also can sapp energy. My leg muscles just won't work well if they feel cold.

    I have a theory that the muscles don't convert fat and glycogen to energy as efficiently as whey do when completely warm and this combined with the higher air resistance from more dense air makes the pedaling more effort.

  11. #11
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    Maybe it's more dehydration that causes the one hour limit. I'm really not sure. Next time it gets down in the 20's, I'll try both theories and report back. Maybe somebody will beat me to it.

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