Monday, March 3, 2014

Biking gloves

Anyone from a rowing background knows that wearing gloves while sporting is not allowed. It's a bit like mounting a rear view mirror on your helmet (Rule #66) or wearing a camel pack on a road ride (Rule #32)  It's just something you're not supposed to do. But for mountain biking, gloves (and hydration packs for that matter) are ok. In fact, when I didn't wear gloves during my last off-road race and ended up with huge blisters, everyone poked fun. 

While biking gloves offer good hand protection, they also have a habit of going missing. At Highpoint CX Team relay a few weeks ago, Jeff dropped one of his gloves into the port-a-potty toilet. He was going to leave it there and buy new ones, but when he came out and told us, we said he had to go retrieve it. Those gloves cost $50! So Jeff walked back over to the port-a-potty, but it was now occupied by another customer. Without even knocking, a voice from inside said "Don't worry dude. I see your glove. I'm only peeing. It's sitting right on top of everything!" The guy inside finished his business, and Jeff pulled out the glove, saturated and dripping with pee and blue antiseptic water and maybe a bit of pre-race nervous poo. He put it in an empty 6 pack cardboard box to carry home. After a few weeks of sitting in the back of his car, the glove is now washed and wearable. It still smells a little bit like chemicals. Maybe that's from weeks of stewing on the car floor, but I'll chalk the smell up to multiple soakings in oxyclean.

Another day, I was up early in the morning to meet some teammates for a MTB ride. Mornings before biking are always a bit chaotic. Are my clothes dry from the day before? How many layers should I wear? Step outside, still freezing cold, put on every layer possible. Fill up water bottles. How many GU's should I bring? Do we have cliff bars? Find helmet and shoes. Make sure tires are pumped up. Think that I really must wash my bike at some point. Put some lube on the chain just in case.  Eat breakfast. Drink coffee. Where are my sunglasses? Or should I wear ski goggles because it's so cold? Oh no. Need to leave in 5 minutes or I'm going to be late. Where is my balaclava? Where are my gloves....hmmm, where are my gloves.....uh oh, where are my gloves? Ask Jeff. "Oh, they're in the fridge." Wait, what?  "I put them in a bag of groceries to bring them in from the car last night. Then I just never took them out." Haha, that was pretty funny. We put them in the dryer quickly and everything ended up fine. My fingers always start out freezing on rides anyway so who cares about a little extra refrigerator coldness!

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