Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Straw That Broke The Camel's Back--part 2

Pretty nice turnout for such cold/windy conditions--8 total

It was one year ago, almost to the day, that winter broke me.  I had given it a good fight, rode throughout one of the coldest winters on record--alone and in groups--even enjoying some of it, until the end of February when I had a sub zero ride and got frost nip (my first taste of this since dogsledding in the BWCA many years ago).

I remember the day so clearly, as if it were today, oh wait, today was almost exactly like that day last year.  This morning, as we rode down to the lake to meet up with our Sunday winter crew, I had a bad feeling.  I looked up at the flags and what I saw was them whipping in a 15-20 mph wind.  Sure the actual temperature was warmer than last week by a good 5-10 degrees, but there was no wind last week.  Since I hadn't had any "mishaps" with frostnip/bite this year, I thought I'd be okay.  Yeah, I won't be trusting those instincts again.

ice shanty hooked up to a bike on lake Monona
This all started with my cockiness from yesterday.  In our one "warm" day during a two week period--it hit 31 degrees--I fled the house with enough pent up energy to fuel ten people, and hit the farm roads.  Between my commute to a friend's house and the road ride, I covered a bit over 40 miles.  This would be a short ride in the summer, but in February, on 45mm knobby tires, it felt more like a 60-70 mile ride.  Feeling pleased with myself I didn't think too much about the following day.

As our group made its way around the lake, about half way through my feet started to lose feeling.  I lightened up on my pedal mashing (hard to do with flats and winter boots),  and started to wiggle my toes as much as possible but it was no use.  I silently fell off the back after telling my husband to go on without me and chose to walk a couple blocks--this normally does the trick.  After walking into the wind for several minutes, with no relief, I mounted my steed once again and pushed on around the lake.  When I hit the hospital, fitting, I know, I chose to warm up in the lobby.  I thought I was okay but the worst was yet to come.  A long stretch heading back into the cold wind sucked the life out of my feet again.  My heart rate and blood pressure began to redline and I actually got a bit concerned.  How could this simple little spin--one I do in a sundress and sandals in the summer for gods sake--zap me this much?

Hiding out in an apartment lobby--waiting for my toes an camera to thaw
Fast forward a couple miles and I got so bad I hid inside an apartment lobby for at least twenty minutes.  Here, I even took my boots off and massaged my feet.  Did I care if the security cameras were focused on my sorry ass?  Nope!  Again I mounted the bike and somehow got home.  When I took my socks off to hop in the shower I saw the damage.  My right pinkie toe was waxy and completely white.  Oh oh.  After a very long lukewarm shower (I was afraid to go hot knowing it could cause more damage), I saw some color come back into my toe--this after the searing pain of defrosting.  But then I noticed the color wasn't quite right.  It was dark purple bordering on black.  Shit.

So here I sit, hating winter royally and waiting/hoping for some feeling to come back into my toe.  Stick a fork in me 'cause I'm done.

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