Tuesday, December 7, 2010

OMG...what to wear???!!!

Sorry. Could not help myself. It's just cold. That's it and it sucks.

This is the time of year I tend to try and convince myself that other activities will help me get in shape for riding next season.

I'm jealous of runners for about four months of the year. They stay warm. They get to run on sidewalks and tracks. They don't have to wear lights. It is over with quickly. Makes my knees hurt...no go.
Weight lifting for the winter is also an option. It seems intuitive-legs get stronger and stronger legs make bikes go fast. Seems is the key there, the year I lifted I was still small and weak but also slow come March. I can do without all the Bros and Cougs at the gyms anyway.
This is actually pretty fun but Melissa's entry into grad school has curtailed four hour hikes this year. Fun and I miss doing it. Dog walking is a good substitute.
Cold. Traffic. Dark. Traffic. Really cold. Time consuming. Perfecto.

Have been perfecting the winter clothing system for road bikes for years and still don't have it down (mountain biking is easier to dress for-less wind). Here is what I have found to work. I want to get this written down somewhere I won't lose it.
Helmet only til it drops below 40 then add a scarf. Hat or earband thing below 30.

Arm warmers at 55. Make it a long sleeve wool jersey at 50. Add another wool jersey below 40. See a theme here? Below 30 add a vest. Easy.

Knee warmers below 60. Thin tights and baggies below 45. Thick fleece tights below 35 with the baggies.

Hands and feet
This part really sucks. Have not found a good cycling specific cold weather glove and refuse to buy more this year. Got Moose Mitts instead. They came today and are warm and should keep the sweat from building up. Stoked. Feet are the toughest part. While the rest of your body works hard the feet dangle like icicles ready to sweat then freeze as soon as they can. I have some Shimano MW80 winter SPD boots which are good BUT once they are sweaty get cold. This can be solved with a vapor barrier system. The goal of a VBL is to keep your insulation dry so it, er, insulates. I did a ghetto version yesterday with a thin sock, grocery bag, wool sock, then shoes on. Warm feet at 35 degrees on a road bike. Awesome. Went ahead and sprung for an actual VBL sock from RBH Designs last night. High hopes and all.

Important points:
Sweat is the enemy, start out cold the first 20 minutes and the rest will be better.
I don't like Windstopper stuff, it just makes me trap sweat. Wool rules.
Layer, layer, layer. Champion sells good baselayers at Target. Skip the fancy shit.
Chemical heat packs do well.
Get off and walk to unfreeze feet.
Bring extra gloves. They will get wet at some point.


  1. As you posted this I was shopping for bib knickers, jackets, and baselayers. For now I will stick with my tights over my bibs but I think for Southern Cross I am going to invest in some nice Gore Bibs and some burly shoe covers. That is all. Carry on.

  2. Gore has good bibs and the shoe covers are solid just $$$$$$.