Lacing Up Day Thirteen: Cold Snap

We continue to feel the effects of “March Madness” not only on the court with our high flying, dunk happy FGCU Eagles, but also off the court as our weather continues to throw us a curve ball. Just as we start settling back into our normal sunny 80 degree days, Mother Nature sends us yet another blast of cold weather from the icy north, bringing morning temperatures down to the 40 degree range with stiff 20+ MPH winds tossed in just for shits and giggles.

The best dressed cycling club in SW Florida
The best dressed cycling club in SW Florida

We headed off to the islands yesterday for a picture day club ride, which weather wise was anything but picture perfect. Overcast skies, cold temperatures and gusting winds awaited us as we scaled the mighty mount causeway for a Kodak moment on the first causeway island. The large group huddled together, shivering in unison as our photographer snapped feverishly away. The sun peeked out on occasion for a few seconds while we vogued away, but it was far too brief to counter the winds cutting through our thin layer of lycra.

Lining up for that perfect Kodak moment
Lining up for that perfect Kodak moment

Photo session completed, we wound our way through the islands of Sanibel and Captiva until we reached the Latté Da for some warm drinks. By now the day was bordering on pleasant, still cool mind you, but at least the sun had finally managed to stay out. Little did we know that was due more to the high winds than the sun burning off the clouds…which of course meant a very stubborn head wind all the way back. So logically, instead of just settling into a nice easy cruising pace, I decided to hammer off the island with the lead group, driving hard into the headwinds, maintaining speeds well above 25 MPH. By the time I got to the causeway bridges the wind was gusting near 30 MPH, making the normally fun crossing a bit of a challenge, especially since I was chilled to the bone…I underestimated the day’s temperatures drastically, wearing only my kit with no additional protection against the cold and wind. Needless to say I slowed it way down over the three bridges as the buffeting wind made for a white knuckle ride across the “mighty mount causeway”.

Coffee break at the Latté Da
Coffee break at the Latté Da

Cold and wind is never appreciated by cyclists, particularly those of us here in the sunny south, but curiously, as a novice runner, it’s actually quite pleasant. Sure the wind has a generally negative effect on running, but it’s not nearly as pronounced as it is in cycling, where an unexpected gust can easily push you into the traffic lanes. The speeds we reach on our bikes combined with the already low air temperatures can drive the wind chill factor to dangerously low levels. Although this is the sunny south, it is not unheard of to get mild frostbite on your fingers, toes and ears from cycling.

Basking in the morning cold
Basking in the morning’s cold run

On the other hand, the same cold conditions (remember I’m using the Florida definition of cold) are actually very welcomed when running. For example, this morning’s temperature was in the high 40’s/low 50’s. If I was cycling I would have broken out a base layer, full fingered gloves, ear protection and a wind shell, but for today’s run I just went out in my shorts and a technical shirt. Sure it was cold standing still, but once I got running, it became very comfortable, as the cold and wind kept all my usual heavy sweating in check. Even my wife, who is no fan of the cold, prefers to run when it’s chilly. Now I’m sure running up north in the dead of winter is a different story, but it is much more tolerable than cycling. Heck most northern cyclists I know retreat indoors and break out their rollers instead of fighting the cold, while runners can be seen out there even in snowy conditions. Makes you wonder who upholds rule #5 of the Velominati better, cyclists or runners.

Tuesday, March 26
Route: Island Ride
Ride Time: 2:36:32
Stopped Time: 48:15
Distance: 47.30 miles
Average: 18.13 mph
Fastest Speed: 29.59 mph
Calories: 2383
Cycle This Month: 549.37 miles
Cycle This Year: 1706.61 miles

Click for Ride Data

Running: 5K Plan
Run Time: 35:00
Stopped Time: 0:40
Distance: 3.07 miles
Average: 11:25 /mile
Fastest Pace: 8:45 /mile
Calories: 382
5K This Month: 14.23 miles
5K This Year: 34.34 miles

Click for Run Data


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