If I Was Riding

November is here!
November 12, 2017

If I Was Riding

This is not to be confused with Kelly O’Mara’s amazing triathlon(ish) newsletter that comes out weekly, “If We Were Riding.” You can sign up for that here if somehow you haven’t already.

But what this is really about, is winter riding. I live in Virginia, where (generally speaking), our winters are mild. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get cold! I find winter cycling to be a bit cathartic — you’re going to go slower (science), and because we *know* that (seriously, the science), you can just bundle up and get out there to do the work. I put a lot of the numbers aside during this time and just ride based on effort and feel during these rides. When the sun is shining, even the cold winter can be one of the most gorgeous times to ride in the Blue Ridge.

But, it’s all about what you wear. And often I hear “I don’t know what to wear when it’s XX degrees out….” So, here’s my comprehensive “if i were riding” clothing guide. I realize these things add up, but it’s worth the investment if you are going to train in the winter. And, if you spend the money to get good quality stuff, it’ll last forever anyway so it’s worth it!

If it’s 30 degrees or colder (note, this is just plain cold and really even with all this stuff it’s going to be cold. But, you’ll feel like a badass for doing it. And if you need motivation to go out when it’s this cold, read this piece. I like to bring that one out every winter to remind me

Outside was hard: winter is hard like the truth is hard. But the only place in winter where a bike rider can find warmth isn’t under the sheets with their head turned to deny the day, it is in the moment that you walk back through the front door with the harshness of winter defeated behind you. Only there you will find your warmth; only there you will find your comfort.

  • Smashfest Queen Jacket
  • Smashfest Queen bra
  • Thick mock-turtle baselayer (I like Under Armour)
  • A wool baselayer tank (I like Rapha)
  • Smashfest Queen Vest – The extra tank and vest here *could* be a bit of overkill, but both are thin and I find that it really just helps to keep my core toasty. It’s all about core, hands and feet for me!
  • Smashfest Queen cycling shorts
  • Good winter gloves (I like Pearl Izumi)
  • Thin gloves to wear under those gloves
  • Good wool socks
  • Good neoprene overshoes (I like Rapha)
  • Balaclava
  • Winter bib tights (I like Rapha)
  • Embrocation balm – I use this one. (I like to put this on my feet and my hands before putting them in socks/gloves)

If it’s 30-40 degrees:

  • Smashfest Queen Jacket
  • Smashfest Queen bra
  • Thick mock-turtle baselayer (I like Under Armour)
  • I like to switch to a scarf from the Balaclava now. Balaclavas tend to make my sunnies get a bit foggy so the scarf is a nice option to tuck my chin in during descents, but breathe freely otherwise. Also, then you stop looking like a bank robber.
  • Thin beanie or good headband over the ears
  • Smashfest Queen cycling shorts
  • Good winter gloves (I like Pearl Izumi)
  • Good wool socks
  • Good neoprene overshoes (I like Rapha)
  • Winter bib tights (I like Rapha)
  • Embrocation balm (I like to put this on my feet and my hands before putting them in socks/gloves)

If it’s 40-50 degrees:

If it’s 50-60 degrees:

If it’s 60-70 degrees:

And if it’s above 70 then if you need me to dress you, we have bigger problems!