Cotton Kills!

During my mountain climbing years, I learned many things.  How to self-arrest and stop my butt from sliding off the side of a mountain.  How to rest step my way up a 45 degree slope without stopping.  How to put on and take off a 40+ lb back and NOT pull a muscle doing so.

However, the most important thing I learned, bar none, was the value of the right clothing.  Any good outdoorsman knows the phrase: Cotton Kills!  This means, if you are in the wilderness, and your cotton shirt and jeans get wet, it will not dry, suck the heat right out of you, and, if cold enough, bring on hypothermia.  I was thinking of this lesson just tonight…

Back in the early days of climbing and hiking, outdoors people solves this problem by wearing wool for warding off the cold.  It maintains it’s ability to keep you warm even if it gets wet.  (I am NOT a fan of the wet wool smell though!)

Nowadays we have polypropylene shirts and pants, polar fleece, gortex, soft shells and, at least for my feet, still the option of wool to fight wet and cold.  I use these same types of items when I ride in the rain.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, I will tell you.  I’ve just finished drying off from walking 7 flights of my favorite stairs (300 steps up 300 down).  I had to work off the burger I ate with the Manchild for dinner. I normally stop at the stairs to work out after our dinners, as we aren’t known for always eating healthy.

However, for the first time in months it was raining.  I don’t mean just a drizzle, it was the first soaking rain of the fall.  It was raining hard enough to consider breaking out the rain gear.

One problem though.  Rain gear, when you work out, can quickly get hot and uncomfortable.  A cold wet rain keeps this from happening, but tonight it was balmy!  65 degrees at least and no wind. This meant rain gear woulda sucked!

So I sat in a the car a bit there, watching the rain come down, and weighed my options.  I could suck it up, and put on the rain gear, and melt.  It wouldn’t be fun, but I could make it happen; or I could just skip it and go home early.  (Maybe burgers don’t have extra calories on Tuesdays!)

I didn’t like either of these plans.  So I went for plan C!   Having known there was a chance of rain I planned ahead.  No cotton here for me!  A polypro quick dry shirt and nylon shorts.  Neither would keep me dry, but I wouldn’t get cold and clammy either.  I was using my work out sandals instead of running shoes, which meant my feet would be dry before I got home after I was finished.

My one concession to the rain was the urban sombrero (seen here in a work out earlier this year)



It’s a gortex hat made by Outdoor Research (OR) and I’ve had it for years! Its one of my favorite hats. The main reason I wanted it tonight, though, was NOT to keep my head dry, but to keep the earbuds from getting wet (The iPhone I put in a baggy).

It all worked perfectly!  The warm rain was almost like a soft shower at home.  After too many days over 80 (45 of them this summer!) it was time for liquid sunshine.  In fact, it felt so good, I added the 7th flight to the work out!

On the way home, I opened the windows for fresh air, and turned the heat on high for my feet.  Sure enough, I got home, the feet were dry as a tater chip, and the shirt/shorts were getting there!

It was a great workout for the second day of fall, and it is keeping  on task to be more consistent with my exercise! There won’t be many shirt sleeve-gully-washer days, but I am darn glad I got my lazy butt out there tonight!

Thanks for coming by y’all!


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