”On the 8th day God made the Merino sheep”. Seriously – I have no idea how the hell I was able to spend any time what so ever in weather conditions under 0° without this material.
It finally got cold in Stockholm and when the mercury is showing -14° at least I have parked the bike on a trainer. It was a fantastic November and December and most weeks I was able to get around 200km of the weekly 300km outdoors, which is very unusual for Sweden this time of the year. I know, it’s far from the 500km/week that any serious triathlete should aim for – but hey, Im old – give me a break – I might catch pneumonia…
Yesterday I went out for a nice crispy 16km trail run in -14° on the trails of Rindö. It’s always interesting to run trails in the snow as you have no idea what you will land on. I find that this makes you ”responsive and light on the feet” – even after all the fatty Christmas food when you feel like the reason you did not see Santa is probably because you ate him – in your sleep – as you where so used to chewing….
We spent Christmas at our cottage on Rindö and it so happens that this is the place which was the home to the Swedish special forces group called ”Coast Rangers” and my home for a year back in the day of 1985-1986.
When I was out there running I remember how we suffered and used to freeze our butts off during the winter and how we even bought our own high tech synthetic underwear to replace the army standard cotton and try to keep a little warmer.
I hated the cold so much after those years that I made it a life goal not to live anywhere near snow for the rest of my life. That worked well for 15 years, during which I met my wife, had kids and then had to decide where to bring them up. Like so many other Swedish ex-pats, we chose to come home and in 2009 we moved back from Sydney, Australia.
Feeling like Rocky Balboa in Russia, I had to adapt and put on long tights again, freeze my bony ass off and suffer, but then I found God – sorry, MERINO WOOL.
Man (and woman), it really changed my attitude towards winter training! If you have not tried it and are still using synthetic stuff – you have to try, it’s unbelievable.
Here are the main benefits:
1. It adjusts to your body temperature – possible to use in warm as well as cold weather.
2. Dries up in no time.
3. Keeps you warm even when wet (just like high tech synthetics – but without the side effect, see 4.
4. As wool is a natural material that has evolved over millions of years rather than invented in a lab 25 years ago, it doesnt have all the side effects that lab experiments have – like the smell you get (and cant remove) on synthetics. If youre like me and train 2-3 sessions a day and dont have the luxury of a Personal Butler who makes you protein drink and washes your training cloths – you need wool. I can easily do 10-15 sessions in the same shirt without washing and there is no smell. The only reason I wash it is because its getting too salty and instead of folding it I can just lean it against the wall… which is getting boarder line creepy…. even for me.
5. Merino Wool doesnt itch at all – not even after 10 sessions without wash… I have tried…. – Its noting like the crap we used in the army (the ”1948” uniform that that smelled ass – WITHOUT EVEN USING IT!)
Dont care about the weather – just get the right gear and enjoy!