Cool Weather Picks
The équipe is taking the off season extra seriously this season. We wrapped up a mini team bonding and training session in the Blue Ridge Mountains logging adventure miles, sharing laughs and prepping for the 2019 season. To say we are excited is an understatement!
Lori and Stef ventured south to pay a visit to Jennah. But, for some reason those two brought the cooler temperatures along for the journey. Jennah was not impressed, but the shift in weather did offer us some incredible views of the fall foliage. Lori’s wishful warmer climate training plans had her longing for a few additional items for this training block, which got us all to sharing our must have gear and tips/tricks to battle the chill and still enjoy the ride. Now, if Cat was here, she would have been rocking shorts and no gloves because she’s a Michigander and layers don’t exist until way below freezing.
Surprisingly, this is the easiest way to keep you hands warm in the winter! I am a chemistry professor, so it seems obvious to me, but you can slide a a pair on under your heavier gloves and you create a very effective wind & water barrier. You can buy a box of 100 on smile.amazon.com (supporting Amy D. Foundation, of course!) for less than $10. Definitely a lot of bang for your buck!
A wind and water proof jacket is a must. I don't think it needs to be insulated, because you can layer all you want under it. But, having technical gear that keeps out wind and water effectively is crucial. I currently adore the Castelli Perfetto long sleeve for this purpose.
Wait, what? Year round, I won't go riding without sunscreen, but when it gets cold I still find myself susceptible to wind burn. Coconut oil is my secret to keeping my face protected from the wind.
Run away. Have Bike. Will Travel.
Go visit friends or teammates (like Cat or Jennah) who live in a warmer climate!
The Gabba is a go to item as the temperatures dip and the elements range from drizzle, slush and snow here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The jersey is designed to breathe all while providing protection from the wind and repelling the inevitable moisture that comes with winter weather. The jersey is easily used as an outer shell with enough room for technical layers to keep you rolling comfortably as you log those brisk base miles. If you’re looking for functionality, definitely add the Gabba or Stef’s Winter Pick (Perfetto Long Sleeve) to your collection.
The Roka SL-1 Performance frames are extremely lightweight and keep the peepers protected from UV rays and block the wind like none other. As someone who wears contacts, I am always in search of a lens that keeps the rush of wind, especially when descending, at bay and these Roka’s fit the bill. Want to be extra matchy, matchy with your kit? You can fully customize your SL-1s lens type and colors. Our squad is all about the details!
Ornot Bar Bag
Once you go handlebar bag, you never go back. Sure, you can stuff your fuel, tools and layers in your jersey pockets, but when winter rolls around it’s easy to start looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Welcome the Ornot Bar Bag to the rescue! I use this accessory to store my ride trinkets and collect all of the snacks along the ride. Handlebar bag: it’s a lifestyle. Get on my level...Ornot.
Thick wool socks
I know, you've painstakingly curated a museum-worthy collection of cycling socks that perfectly complement your kit. But in winter, ditch the beautiful, breathable, stylish socks for some hardcore wool ones. I don't care if they match. No one will see them under your tights and booties anyway.
Santa annually brings me wool socks from Costco, but if you're not as lucky, I also suggest Darn Tough.
Wool base layer
I love my Craft base layers, but I hate paying full price, so I found a few at places like Sports Basement.
I think the material is the most important thing here: wool. Sometimes, you can find merino wool for a great deal outside of the cycling bubble. I picked up some wool Uniqlo merino wool long sleeve shirts that, while not technically base layers, are incredibly insulating and I wear them all the time.
Ornot handlebar bag
Have you ever tried stuffing lobster gloves in your jacket pockets? If it's actually cold out, your layers are made of neoprene, down, or wool. They're not packable, and in spite of your numb fumbling, they're never going to fit in your pockets. You need a bag. A real bag.
"But it's not aero!" Okay, well, people who say this are usually on the trainer by this point. Tell them to "woman up" and own it.
The cute version of this is the Ornot handlebar bag. My friend teased me about mine a few weeks ago and then, later that ride, asked me to carry his legwarmers in it.
These gloves save my hands in freezing temps. Everyone dealing with riding in real winter weather should get a pair. And yes, I second Stef’s advice of lab gloves for insulation underneath!!
During the winter, your body uses more energy to help stay warm which increases caloric needs. The natural fat from coconut & nuts in these bars along with the 10g of protein make them ideal at fueling long case mile rides. Also, when I’m freezing for hours, I want to eat something that makes me happy and these bars are delicious (cinnamon is my favorite flavor!).
CycleOps Hammer Smart Trainer
There are days in Minnesota when riding outside is impossible. It might be icy, thick snow or -11 degrees and trying to train outside is just dangerous. On those days, I take it inside so having a good trainer is key. I am a huge fan of my CycleOps Hammer Smart Trainer which I connect to Zwift to do workouts, not get bored, and track efforts. Read an indepth post I did covering this item HERE.
Winter is about enjoying less daylight by getting more sleep. I take SWISSE Ultiboost Sleep supplement before bed most nights because it helps gently coax me into a deep, restful sleep without the grogginess when I wake.