The Art of Keeping Toasty on a Bike

Winter is finally upon us here in Wyoming and Colorado, which means it’s actually cyclocross weather for cyclocross!  No more thin time trial skinsuits half unzipped in the 80 degree heat, that’s for sure!  I race tomorrow and so far it’s predicted to be about 19 degrees when I race at 10am at the Mile High Urban CX Chaos.  As I was rounding up my gear today (had to locate most of it as it’s the first time I’ve used it since CX Nationals last January!), I decided I’d make a little post about what I wear to race a bike in 10-20 degree weather.

The gear for winter
The gear for winter!

Starting at the top we have:

  • Specialized RBX shorts
  • Specialized Therminal winter tights
  • Specialized thermal leg warmers
  • Thermal/fleece Buff
  • Specialized thermal skullcap
  • Specialized Deflect neoprene shoe covers
  • Specialized Sub Zero lobster claw mittens
  • Endura fleece lined long sleeve jersey/jacket
  • Giro helmet
  • My team kit jersey and thermal jacket
  • Specialized Motodiva shoes
  • Specialized Winter Wool Tall Sock

Missing from the photo is a thermal Under Armor long sleeve base layer.

So it all goes:

  • On top:  UA baselayer, Endura jersey, team jersey, team jacket (if I need it for the actual race), mittens
  • On bottom: RBX shorts/chamois, leg warmers, tights, socks, shoes, shoe covers
  • Head: skullcap, Buff (either just around my neck, or up over my head like a balaclava), helmet, glasses/goggles

Yes, all of this will be on my body!  Sounds like a lot, but it worked out well for both days of Altitude Adjustment Cross in January (25 and 10 degrees, respectively)!

Keeping toasty last January!

I also might throw my ski goggles in my bike bag, as I’ve seen people wear them during cold races to cover more of their face.  Feels like a crash course in winter after a cyclocross season filled with 70-80 degree days!  But I won’t lie, I am excited for some crappier conditions!  I had three of my best races last season in snow, and it definitely brings out a different skill set.  Just not looking forward to the drive down to Denver 😦

I may have added a “winter specific bike” to the bike family recently, so last night I did order some Patagonia heavyweight long johns and Showers Pass storm bike pants to add to the mix… but I’m hoping it doesn’t get that nasty that I’ll need them during cross!

So that’s it!  I’m sure everyone has their own level of clothing that they were.  I know a lot of people use embrocation to keep their bodies warm, but honestly the stuff is rather scary to me!  I’d rather pedal with 3 layers on my legs than worry about messing up some chili pepper solution and getting it in my eyes or something.  Clothing is also going to depend on a person’s tolerance to cold.  I’m really comfortable in shorts and short sleeves in 50-60 degree weather, but you can go to other parts and people are piling on winter clothes for those temps, so it’s all relative!  However you accomplish it, there’s plenty of ways to still get out on a bike in less than ideal conditions 🙂

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