Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I hope this helps!!!! Itz what I'm all about!!!!!!

The undeniable political component of wool

I have made no secret of my yearning for very cold temps with the 2008 running of the Arrowhead 135; the reason being that cold temps are systemic of a hard, snow-free, and therefore fast race course. Hard pack snow with clear frigid temperatures translates into the kind of course that will essentially render the godless Clown-bike community impotent. But with cold temperature comes the problem of staying both warm and dry. Being both warm and dry normally is not a mutually exclusive bargain, but in winter bike racing the two are often at odds with each other. Personally, it is that zero to twenty-below range that offers one the most challenging of circumstances when racing a bicycle, especially during the daylight hours when the sun can really reek havoc by warming one’s back causing profuse sweating, while the front stays cold. If it is warmer than that, it is easy to simply race cold by wearing a very light hat and layers of manipulable breathable synthetic fibers (which can be unzipped if need be) and if it is colder than that (and at night), one can wear a down sweater or some kind of techy Gore-tex type outer wear that will trap the body’s core heat. The challenge, therefore in this mid-temperature range, is how is the rider to achieve a scenario where he can have his “cake and eat it too.” In other words the question becomes: How does one stay warm, but also dry? Because without being dry, warmth is but a fleeting pleasure of the flesh. For example, with last year’s super cold temps, I was able to regulate the sweat and thus stay relatively dry and therefore warm throughout the race. In contrast, in the 2006 version where the temperatures were mostly in the zero to ten-below range, I found myself continually soaked with sweat and thus chilled throughout the entire adventure. So to the point of this dissent—wool has its place, especially when one is confronted with a situation where sweat is an inevitable negative factor.

But alas, like all things, wool has its pros and its cons: Politically, wool is remarkably bipartisan in that it is appealing in many ways to both sides of the political debate. The pros are that the liberals embrace wool because it is good for the environment and good for the sheep. Also, sheep tend to be pro-union and embrace "change". The conservatives, (especially the evangelicals) like wool because its owners are mentioned throughout the Holy Bible. Plus wool products tend to be resistant to "change". The cons are that while wool stays warm even when wet, it absorbs sweat and thus can become heavy and itchy. It does not transport sweat out like the synthetic fibers do and it takes a long time to dry out. So wool has its place in a winter rider’s arsenal. In conclusion, I will bring my classic wool long sleeved jersey and I will use it if the conditions warrant…

Resting the Rat!

1 comment:

  1. Now I know the reason for that special twinkle in your eye the last time we met.....Sheep! Plus special lube. Yes Charlie, at your age one must defer to perfomance enhancers for longevity! So sorry. These could keep you out of the arctic bikers hall of fame.