Ok, so yeah, I know winter’s almost over and Spring is coming and we had Daylight Savings Time and the days are longer and blah blah blah. (Spring ahead, my ass. All I know is I lost an hour of sleep that day.) Almost over doesn’t quite cut it for me, because saying something is “almost over” means it is still here.
Why am I in such a strop? Because winter is not quite gone, it’s still cold, and for the umpteenth time I damn near killed myself trying to get out of my Under Armour. You know what I mean, the base layer you wear in the vain hope that you won’t freeze your ass off. . You come home from a ride and you’re all sweaty and you have to be a flipping contortionist to get out of your sweaty Under Armour. It’s bad enough trying to get into it in the first place, but getting out of sweaty Under Armour requires the skills of a Chinese acrobat. Seriously, when I try to take my winter weight turtleneck off the neck hole is so tight I feel like I’m trying to hang myself. Inevitably during the struggle to get my top off I trip on something and go down like a box of rocks. So then I am writhing on the floor, still trying to extricate myself and swearing like a sailor. Cue the inevitable trip to the chiropractor, where I feel like I need to make something up because saying I threw my back out while trying to get out of my workout gear just sounds wrong.
My winter riding apparel usually consists of a base layer (Under Armour or something similar) and then a long sleeve technical shirt and a 1/4 zip pullover, which is usually made of fleece or technical fabric. Which brings me to another issue. Why does every piece of technical/workout clothing make a mildly-fluffy middle aged women look like the Michelin tire dude?? Seriously? We’re trying to deal with work, the kids’ schedules and the onset of hot flashes and hormone changes and you want to piss us off by making us feel fat? You know one day we’re gonna crack and force those skinny stick figures who design this stuff to eat dozens of donuts. An hour. For a month. And then we’ll make them stuff themselves into their sadistic creations.
Another issue riders who spend their winters in the frozen tundra face is shrinkage. As in, when you put on a base layer under breeches and a top, it feels like everything is a little bit smaller. If you are already shoehorning yourself into a pair of breeches that are a size smaller than you really need (because dammit, you’re not going to go out and buy the bigger size, you’ll duct tape your mouth shut before you’ll go there) this can be difficult. As in, Chinese acrobat difficult.
For example, ever try to go to the bathroom with 2 layers on? You can’t wait until the situation is dire, because you know it’s gonna take five minutes to wiggle out of your layers. Then when you’re done, you have to wiggle struggle back into them. This is why I hate wearing side-zip breeches in the winter. Everything’s tight, so I have to suck my stomach in. Then I have to turn to the left side while trying to use my arm to push my boob out of the way so I can see the hooks and zipper. Then comes the suck-in-shimmy-curse-pull-say-heartfelt-prayer-last-yank-before-you-pass-out maneuver and for a moment I’m giddy with success. That lasts for a split second until I realize that I’ve given myself the mother of all wedgies and my underwear is halfway up my digestive track. Sigh.
Then there’s the whole temperature management thing that happens when getting the horse ready. You curry, you brush, you comb, and suddenly things are getting a bit warm, so you take off your jacket. You’re fine for a few minutes until you actually get on the horse. While warming up at the walk you start to feel the chill again, so you put your jacket back on. That doesn’t last long, because after five minutes of trotting you’re breaking a sweat. Off comes the jacket. Although it’s never that easy. Nope, because you try to pull the jacket sleeve off over the glove, where it gets stuck. So then you’re holding the reins with one hand while trying to pull the glove off with your teeth. You get the first arm off and proceed to the second one. This involves additional contortions where you then find yourself blinded because you’ve gotten your jacket caught over your head and the other sleeve is stuck on your glove and you’re pulling and swearing and praying to God that your horse doesn’t decide to spook at the cooler that’s laying over the edge of the arena wall. And now you’ve given yourself another wedgie.
So you’ve groomed and ridden and groomed again and where does that leave you? If you’re me, on the floor of my bedroom, kicking and pulling and yanking and cursing as I try to remove my sweaty Under Amour/sausage casing. So yeah, I’m looking forward to Spring, mostly because my breeches will fit better without the extra layer underneath and I can indulge in the fantasy that I’ve lost weight.