The Chainlink

I haven't dialed in my cold weather gear yet so I seem to be getting cold a lot. I'm starting to get used to being cold but when I get home... I took the hottest shower. It was wonderful. Fingers and toes nicely wrinkled. I think the post-cold weather ride shower is one of the best feelings. Ever.

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My next recovery meal adventure ended up being a favorite cold winter recipe - chili. Ok, I went off the grid on this one. I love chili and play with my own recipe a lot. Instead of vegan, I did add ground beef BUT it could definitely be vegan minus the beef (and still tasty!). 

I added a cup of frozen corn, a cup of frozen quinoa, one can of northern beans, one can of kidney beans, two cups of chopped baby carrots. I used a grass-fed hormone-free lb of beef. I love chili with a smoky flavor so I added a large can of fire roasted tomatoes and smoked paprika. Also, I created this on the stove but once the onions are browned, this can move to the slow cooker (if using beef, I'd brown that on the stove too). 

You can find BICYCLING magazine slow cooker recovery meals here: 

http://www.bicycling.com/food/recipes/7-healthy-slow-cooker-recipes...

Chili without cumin or chili powder? Blasphemy! ;-)

 I made a giant pot of miso soup with oyster mushrooms, bok choy, green onions, firm tofu, seaweed flakes, miso broth (duh), a splash of soy sauce and sesame oil, and a dash of salt and black pepper. Bring to boil then simmer low (covered) for 2 hours and warm them bones.

I went beyond the Bicycling Magazine recipes to find another slow cooker recovery meal - Mexican chicken. This time I actually used the slow cooker (and avoided the stove top). It turned out perfectly.

 

I love this recipe - healthy, easy, and I was able to start it this morning and have it ready and waiting by the time I got off the trainer. I had it with brown rice but you can also make tacos with it - just use less chicken broth. 

Note: I don't think they have enough seasoning in the recipe so I added smoked paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, and more garlic. Here's the full recipe:

http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/slow-cooker-mexican-chicken/

It's hard to go wrong with a slow cooker and meat. This is good weather for things like pozole.

Oxtail Soup is excellent for Winter. It is the perfect warming comfort soup. 

http://www.healingandeating.com/2014/03/slow-cooker-oxtail-soup.html

For sub-20-degree weather, I've been doing a three-layer system of a Champion "Gear" long-sleeve T (that is a heavier-weight baselayer) under a Nike Therma top (a very low-profile fleece grid fabric) with an Endura Pro SL shell on top. I'm cold for maybe the first mile but then I'm sweating after that point. However, the minimal fabric of the layers and the (amazing) breathability of the shell leave me suitably dry post-ride (and I won't freeze if I break from cycling for, say, a couple of minutes mid-trip). 

The lower half is Champion warm-weather tights with Under Armour stretch tights over the top. No problems there. 

The very bottom, though, gives me trouble: I ride in Chucks, and I've been wearing Smartwool PhD medium-weight socks, but my feet have been going numb the last 2 miles of my ~9-mile ride. Wondering if it's wise to invest in some wind-proof shoe covers. 

I have some Keens that clip in. In general (clip or no), they are a good option/upgrade from Chucks if you wear smartwool socks with them. 

Tribune article on the same subject:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/sc-safe-winter-exer...

Winter workout: How to bike and run in the cold

I'd say if you need something to warm you up you're not doing it right.  

My winter gear from top to bottom:

Lazer Dissent ski helmet

Active Transportation Alliance Gaiter

Ski goggles (I hate cold air on my face)

Bike jacket (forgot the manufacturer but it's just a shell)

UnderArmour base layer (or LL Bean merino wool)

LL Bean flannel lined jeans

Smartwool socks

Ecco Goretex shoes

Lobster mitts (not pictured)

This keeps me toasty warm down to 20F.  Below that I'm a no-show.  

I love the way you put this together! Thanks for sharing. I need to check out the fleece-lined jeans. Those look amazing. 

I've been loving my Moose Mitts (bar mitts, pogies) lately. When it gets down to the single digits I need to wear thin gloves inside them, but nothing keeps my hands as warm

Article in Red Eye, "How to ride your bike through a Chicago winter and enjoy it"

"With more than 200 miles of on-street bike lanes and many more miles of off-street paths, Chicago is known as one of the best cities in America for bicycling.

"But many commuters who enjoy a bike ride in the summer sun think they must chain up their cycle when temps drop below freezing. That’s simply not the case. You can, in fact, cycle year-round in the city. And no, I’m not crazy, and neither are the people who do it. With proper preparation, cycling in Chicago's winter weather can actually be more enjoyable at times than riding in the blistering heat of summer."

Full article: http://www.redeyechicago.com/news/redeye-chicago-bike-winter-prep-t...

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