Reporting Matt Brickman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s the kind of cold that takes your breath away and grinds some things to a stop.
It was a rough start for many of us dealing with the coldest morning we’ve had so far with temperatures dropping below zero for the first time this winter.
“It’s just part of the job,” said Mark Carlson, a construction worker.
For a lot of construction crews, that’s the harsh truth. They’re expected to work outside, even when it’s cold. There are limits, though. Public Works said they pulled a crew off a site at 44th and Longfellow in Minneapolis Thursday morning with the wind chill hovering at 30 below.
Carlson is a part of the crew working on the Regions Hospital construction site. With the wind dying down a bit and the afternoon sun warming us up above zero, he didn’t seem to be too bothered by the cold.
“Thank God for Thinsulate, Polarfleece and insulation in your clothes,” Carlson said. “I’m very comfortable, my feet are warm, my body is warm, the only thing that’s cold on me right now is my hands because I have my gloves off.”
If you have a job that requires you to be outside, that’s one thing — it’s another to choose to be out in the cold.
But, we caught up from some bicyclists that weren’t deterred by today’s frigid start.
Ice beards and snotcicles — the cold weather broadened our vocabulary. But, it also scared away otherwise dedicated cyclists.
Rebecca Spurr’s morning commute is about a mile and today she didn’t have much company.
“Nobody, it was completely dead out there,” she said.
Christine Balsley has a farther to travel.
“It’s three and a half miles, each way,” she said.
This is her first Minnesota winter, but she’s taking the appropriate precautions — plenty of layers, four up top, two on the bottom.
Sounds standard, but there are some concerns.
She said she wears goggles so her eyeballs don’t freeze.
Still, cyclists argue it’s a lot like other winter sports.
“It’s not that different from cross-country skiing, really, if you think about it,” said Sam Olson. “You get your heart rate up, so you stay warm.”
On top of that, Balsley said, there’s a real sense of accomplishment to cold-weather biking.
“You feel like you’ve conquered the weather, and conquered Minnesota, a little bit.”