One of the things on your off season to do list during might be get a neutral bike fit by a pro who doesn't benefit if you buy a new bike or aero bars. This is John Cobb*, arguably one of the best fitters ever, shown here helping a masters athlete customize his bike fit. This racer had very specific requests with regard to arm placement and potential positional back pain. This Cobb fit was most definitely worth his money.
The Navy SEALs say "there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear."
We used the same phrase talking last week about winter outdoor workouts in general. http://bit.ly/2CrA1gp
Today it's overcoming cold fingers and toes on the bike. I cover this topic each year as new readers sign on. Here's what you need to know for 2018.
Although it’s January, and because of somewhat unusual weather patterns, we in Virginia have yet to see our first snow of the year. Even so, it was 3 deg F at sunrise today, a good time to start this year’s discussion of cold fingers, cold toes, and Raynaud’s Syndrome in some cases. (No, even I didn't ride today.)
Raynaud's is pretty common. Many athletes have written to me and without knowing what they're describing, will have Raynaud's as an isolated phenomenon. In others, it accompanies a more global process. Those affected will have more issues in cold conditions than warm, their fingers will have decreased sensation and often turn white, almost snow white. As often as not there will also be a numb sensationin the digits as well. Physiologically, what's going on is a spasming of the small arteries in the fingers, often when cold or even just cool. About 5% of all men, women 8%, have Raynaud's and it can affect ears, toes, and even your nose.
When rewarmed by being placed in modestly warm water for 2 or 3 minutes, or down your pants while running or riding - the closest source of warmth - the digits turn every shade of red and purple you can imagine before simply settling on only mildly red. In a few minutes, as the fingers begin to warm, they can also turn blue then a purple-red with a "pins and needles" feeling before they normalize. This whole process can take from just a few minutes to an hour and can be quickened by immersing ones hands in warm water as noted above. Women seem to get this more than men, often in the 2nd to 4th decade of life. There are medical answers to this, and medicines to avoid, which might increase the frequency of attacks. Once warm, daily tasks like starting a car or typing become easy.
If you want to document this, next time it occurs, start taking pictures with your cell phone, and save them for your health care provider. You will be asked about a family history of certain kinds of arthritis, bowel disease and the like. You may find that your complaints are the same (or different) but it's a good starting place.
My sister and I both have this diagnosis to a greater or lesser degree and I think I'm the biggest local purchaser of chemical hand warmers at our local backpacking store. But, I ride outdoors all year unless there's snow or ice on the road. It was 27 degrees on a recent MTB adventure and my Raynaud's just wasn't a factor. Outdoor swimming in Fall or Spring, however, can present a certain challenge! Fortunately most triathletes avoid outdoor swimming unless at gun point and the thought of cold water drives them positively - well, indoors!
That said, I've been symptomatic from this for over 30 years, my Mom longer, so it's easy to follow long term, and mostly we just live with it. As mentioned, I use chemical hand and foot warmers biking in the winter, and when it's below freezing I have some Sidi rechargeable warming inserts for my winter biking boots (they're not cheap and don’t work all that well - read don't waste your money. There may be improved rechargeable warming shoe inserts of which I am not aware. Let me know!) Neoprene bike shoe covers, either just the toes to block the wind, or full booties can be useful. Ultimately, like anything in triathlon training, it's all just a matter of preparation. So, welcome to the world of winter riding/running and possibly Raynauds Syndrome. It's an inconvenience but not much more.
A number of readers have had excellent ideas about how to solve the cold hands problem that can accompany winter riding. Excellent suggestions have come forth about a variety of different types of gloves/mittens/socks, chemical hand warmers, etc. Some athletes have simply chosen to ride indoors until the bloom of Spring and give those trainers a work out. If, however, you want to stay outside all winter, depending upon your climate, some alterations may be in order to remain comfortable.
All it takes is a little trial and error. Well, maybe a lot of trial and error. I'd suggest you start by putting a thermometer outside your window to get an accurate temperature before you venture out. It's better than the Weather Channel as you may live a real distance from where they get their measurements. Then, get an idea of what gloves, layering of gloves, mittens and layering/lining of mittens you need at 50 - 55 degrees, 40 - 45 degrees, etc. If your mittens are so bulky that you may lose control of the bike, figure out something else.
The important thing is not to layer each digit as you might do with shirts and coats, but to provide a “den” for the fingers. Mittens, more than a single layer, with touching digits and some type of warmer seem best. One thing that many over look is a product called Bar Mitts (they also have Mountain Mitts for your mountain bike) should you train on a bike with ram's horn bars. These are sleeve-like neoprene that fit right over your handle bars and block cold, rain and snow...not that you'll be riding outdoors on 25 mm tires in the snow. I hope. You don't even need very thick gloves to stay toasty. I'll admit that they may look a little dorky but the bike group conversation will quickly move on to something else and you keep your hands warm. I'll attach a couple pictures from a local riders bike. I don't know of one for tribikes but you may.
So don't let the cold alter your training plan, it doesn't stop the SEALs for sure.