Question: I’ve heard that you should cover your legs when the temperature is below 65F. I live in the mountains and we have several feet of snow, but last weekend the sun was shining, the roads were dry and the thermometer said 67. So I peeled off my leg warmers — and now I have sore knees. What happened? — Barry M.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: The number you see on the thermometer isn’t always the temperature your knees feel. You were done in by several deceptive factors.
At altitude in the mountains, the sun is so bright that thermometers often register warmer than the actual temperature as felt by the skin.
Also, the snow by the side of the road creates an “air conditioner” effect. It’s not uncommon for the temperatures two feet above a snow-lined road to be 15 degrees cooler than the temperature 10 feet up. Add wind blowing across the snow pack and it can be even chillier.
Then there’sterrain. In the mountains, you’re either climbing or descending. Climbing, especially early in the season, can strain tendons if you don?t use low gears and spin. Then you rocket down the hill at high speed, increasing the windchill on your knees.
I’d guess that all these factors combined to strain your knees. Moral: Be extremely protective of your knees in the early season. The tan can wait!