It’s January in Alaska, which means that 1.) it’s colder than a well-digger’s ass, and 2.) the temperature’s about to drop. Any day now, we’ll hit another one of those -20F spells that are good only because when the temperature rises 40 degrees, we all feel great at 20 above zero.
It also means this is beardcicle season. OK pretty much all winter is beardcicle season, but when you ride a bike, colder air = bigger glacial facials.
That shot at the top of this post was taken by my friend Steve a couple of winters ago on one of those sub-zero nights that can make you momentarily wonder if the couch potatoes have a point when they call us nuts. My face got so iced up that night, I had trouble sticking food in my mouth. Hell, I had to find a gap just to get a drinking tube in there.
Riding in air that cold can hurt. There’s brain freeze to deal with, and your eyes water like crazy if the wind hits them. Exposed skin gets so cold it can feel like it’s burning.
Some people would think the last thing you need on top of all that is a mass of ice hanging off your face, right? But I don’t mind it, partially because I get a kick out of the weird looks it brings from other people on the trail.
But mainly, I don't mind it because it's a small price to pay for not being a slave to razors in the morning, or TV on cold nights.