November 23rd, 2008


I Do Like Gravy

So I took some of the leftover roast chicken from last Sunday's dinner, and made a chicken pot pie last night. Mmmm, pie. I used Pillsbury crusts, which were on sale, and used a cast-iron pan as a pie plate, because the other pie plates I had were too small. The pan worked perfectly, and did an excellent job of browning the bottom crust as well as the top. It was very good, and I'm having some leftover pie for lunch as I write this.

I got the pan last year, and it is the first piece of cast-iron ware I've ever used. My mother never had any, and I don't ever recall seeing her mother use cast-iron. The ex bought a set of cast-iron when we moved into our house, but I never used any of it, and now that I think of it, I don't think she did much, either.

It is very cold today, but it's sunny, and I'm going to try to ride. I was thinking about it yesterday, but it never did get above freezing here, and it was windy to boot. I have the week off, so if today's attempt is successful, then I might be able to get in a couple more before I head to Jersey Thursday.
Bike Snow

Honey, Where's My Super Suit?

Never did get much above freezing, but it was sunny, so I decided to give it a try. I added a new base layer to the ensemble, a spandex compression shirt and pants set, which is basically a super suit. No capes! After squeezing myself into them, I looked sort of like Mr. Incredible just before his first trip to the island. Not pretty.

Fortunately, nobody was going to see them, as they were, apart from my athletic briefs, the bottom-most layer. Over them I had a moisture-wicking shirt, a t-shirt, a thermal shirt, a fleece lined nylon pullover, and lined wind-proof athletic pants, plus two pair of warm socks. I also wore a winter headband around my neck, an ear clamp, and my usual baseball cap on my head, and my full-fingered cycling gloves on my hands. The headband thing is a trick I learned from my brother. It makes for a great scarf without any cape-like dangley bits that can get caught in tree branches or jet engines or the like. Eventually I pulled it up over my chin, and that worked even better.

It was still cold. My legs and head were fine, but my arms and hands were chilly. After the first lap I pulled a pair of fingerless gloves on over the full gloves, which helped some. Next time I'll try either wearing regular winter gloves over the cycling gloves, or else try to find some kind of liner for them. I'll also wear another long sleeved shirt instead of the T-shirt, maybe even another thermal.

The other issue was my toes. I need a better solution. As I was riding I wondered if there were such a thing as battery-powered electric socks. I wasn't sure how much heat a battery could produce. Turns out they do exist, but apparently they don't work very well. As I suspected, even D batteries don't have enough juice to be effective. And who wants to ride around with D cells strapped to their legs. Another option are disposable heat pads, which apparently work great. I'm not crazy about the whole use once thing, though. I suppose I could also try warmer shoes instead of sneakers.

After the initial feelings of blimpitude, the compression suit was fine, especially the pants. I used to wear compression shorts under my softball pants back in the day, both for support and as sliding pants. I like having the extra leg support, especially for my knees. I was happy to get out of them when I got home, though.

All in all, it was a decent proof of concept ride. A couple of tweaks, and I should be good to go for rides down to the mid-thirties. Fortunately, tomorrow is promising to be up in the high forties. That'll feel downright tropical.

I used up the rest of the leftover chicken by making a big pot of soup, just the thing on a cold autumn night.