Some follow up reviews from previous posts:
I have been "training" (obsessing) so to speak, using heart rate since September. Now that winter is here and lots of snow, wind and cold the ability to measure improvement is hard. My mileage of running and riding have gone down but the time out there has increased. Amazing how snow biking and winter running is, comparatively, incredibly slow... or I'm turning into a slug with HR. I use the Movescount program to monitor all my activity and it is depressing to see mileages go down. However, one nice thing using HR as an objective, as opposed to distance, I can maintain the measure regardless of the variables. Even while sick my HR increased about 10-15 beats from my usual average and as long as I stay around the 145 mark I can still train without much adverse effect.
Things I've noticed using the HR monitor daily:
1. Sickness increases my HR by about 10-15 beats.
2. I start sweating at 120-130 beats per minute.
3. At extreme cold (-15 and lower) to get blood warm to my extremities I have to get above 145 at least. Once I fall below I seem to get numb fingers and toes (unless I put on puffy gear).
4. According to the Suunto watch and HR at 145 BPM I burn almost exactly 1000 kcal an hour.
This has turned into an interesting experiment and may have much value if used correctly. What's revealing, though, is that there really is no ideal solution. When dealing with serious cold and ultra's it's just plain hard to get it right. Experiment with what works is the only way. I tried the VB "shirt" recently and while I was warm all the sweat leaked down into my pants. My pants and legs have most recently just been dialed in with an awesome soft shell by Mountain Hardwear so this is a step back. I've also noticed at below -15 F one can't skimp on layers just because there is a VB. Once your foot or body is wet you *need* the insulation to protect it. Although I am doing less laundry with VB's, which is a plus.
One additional observation about VB's-- I can't get over how much I sweat thus reiterating hydration and electrolyte replenishment.
The Fatcyclist had a fantastic entry on nutrition with Dr. Lim, an exercise physiologist who works with pro cyclists. I couldn't help but read the comment on how important salt was in the article. The way it was stated as general knowledge verifies my "duh" moment in that I was not providing enough sodium in my ultra's leading to hypoanatremia. That article will be bookmarked and definitely worth the read and possibly buying the cook book.
Clipless versus platform for snow bike
The verdict is still out. It's getting more intuitive but I still crash a lot. During the week riding to work I stick with platforms and when I make the switch to clipless for longer rides the "feel" of them (before I crash) is markedly improved when grinding through snow. The problem? My standard shimano shoes are insufficient at below zero temps even with a VB and Goretex cover. Back to the drawing board, Lakes are hard to come by cheap but I if I want clipless I think it's the only way.