Hangzhou: Rapha Worldwide Challenge Day 2

The weather today took a dramatic turn, after yesterday’s sunny crisp day,  it was cold and raining for my entire ride for Day two of the Rapha Festive 500 challenge.  The official temperature was three degrees with a windchill factor of minus two!  It was always important to wear the right winter clothes so that the ride would at least be somewhat enjoyable.  So, out came the unused Pearl Izumi winter tights and neoprene booties.  If it were not for the persistent rain throughout, my feet and hands would have been warm as toast!  If you are riding in this type of weather (sub-zero and raining) for too long, you become depleted of glycogen and the body then loses its ability to hold heat effectively.  The rain on the roads slowly found its way into my shoes from the underside of my shoes, resulting in slowly freezing feet.  Riding the final 5kms seemed more painful since the roads coming into Hangzhou were full of traffic and this prevented me from the steady spinning I was doing resulting in a dramatic loss of core heat. By the time I stepped inside, my body was shivering violently.  It was a painful experience in the shower with the hot water and once in warm clothes with my fingers wrapped around a HOT Usana Nutrimeal shake, my body slowly stopped shaking. But this took a good 30 minutes or so!  Early stages of hypothermia I guess.

One of several picturesuque villages I passed through...

The route I took was one of my regular training routes nearby Hangzhou and the loop typically takes just over 3hrs for the 94kms of undulating terrain through some countryside and small villages. The route is also used by the odd truck illegally overloaded delivering goods to Fuyang City (they do this to avoid the highway tolls).  Photo opportunities were scarce today due to the weather and fingers losing dexterity. It became a chore to actually take the camera out of my backpack and take pictures – besides I did not want to stop for too long in the cold!  I did get several pictures though to illustrate some interesting spots along the way.  If you want to view large-size, you can click on the photos.

These huts full of wood are common site in the winter...

There was snow at the top of the climb....

At this point I was getting pretty dang cold...

Quite muddy...

Summary

The roads today were quite a bit rougher in places, providing for good testing on Velocite’s Magnus.  I was pleased with her rock solid performance and the Duro tires I just put on for winter riding are working very well in the slippery conditions.

Gear used: Pearl Izumi winter tights, Pearl Izumi woolen blend socks, Pearl Izumi neoprene booties and skull-cap to keep my head warm. Had the Merino Wool jersey on again with Champion System’s clear vest and custom-made Winter jacket, which was perfect!  For the hands I used Pearl Izumi’s carbon pittard gloves which were not really suited to the rain/cold.  I felt pretty good in this winter gear, but felt that I probably another layer around the knees (they were ok – but could have been warmer) and need something to cover the face more as I was feeling the biting cold! If it does not rain tomorrow, the gear I have will be sufficient to combat the cold 😉

Rapha Festive 500 Distance covered today: 94kms which brings my total to 203kms.  297kms left remaining to reach the 500km goal.  But I still somehow need to add some more miles somewhere to get closer to a 1,000kms, its starting to look a little daunting now!  I made a rough google-map of the route to give you an idea of where I went.  The map states 89km but having done this route many times, I know it is 94kms…
View Hangzhou-Fuyang Training Circuit in a larger map

Xmas Day tomorrow! Hoping its a white one here in Hangzhou. Merry Xmas to you all and wishing you luck for clocking up the miles for the Rapha Festive 500 challenge!