Cold Weather Racing Tips

Here are a couple of cold weather suggestions for those that are racing tomorrow at Snelling. The temps are looking to be in the low 30s for the morning waves, and not much warmer later on. It could be wet as well.

ONECOLProtect your skin and keep your heat in. There are a number of skin and muscle warming products on the market, most are made specifically for cold weather cycling. In a case where you don’t have time to drop by a bike shop, in a pinch you can get items that work at your local grocery or chain pharmaceutical store. Generic brand embrocation and muscle balms/ointments work just as well as expensive brand names, and even vapor rubs have a warming and muscle relief component. Apply the warming balm or oil first, and then put on impermeable barrier over the top to keep the moisture from soaking into your skin. Old schoolers use baby oil or petroleum jelly. Consider it liquid leg warmers.

If you are not sure what to use or need help with a specific brand, check with your coach for recommendations and/or feedback on product knowledge.

Special note from Coach Earl: Always put your bibs on BEFORE applying a warming cream or balm to your legs. It is very easy for the chamois to pick up the balm from your legs and the skin near your chamois is extremely sensitive. This WILL become incredibly uncomfortable very quickly. (Personally confirmed). 

Knee warmers are good, but keep in mind that without an impermeable applied to the skin underneath, the material will get wet and serve to make you colder.l47612

A good fleece lined arm warmer should be enough once you get rolling, be careful not to overdress. Dressing for a training ride will typically be heavier than dressing for a race.

Wind front base layers are invaluable for racing in the cold. This keeps you from having to put a number on your vest and ruin the nylon front.

A little vapor rub on the chest will help keep you warm, and an added benefit of opening up your lungs for better performance.

Lastly, thick wool socks, two pairs, one for during, and a nice dry pair for right after. It’s like a nice warm blanket for your feet. I like to have wool socks of variable thickness in my cycling sock drawer.

If you are trying to guess what to wear, keep in mind you should have a little chill while standing around. If you are warm and cozy while standing at the start line, you are overdressed.
If you are concerned about the cold wind, keep in mind that there is heat in numbers. Riding in a very condensed pack will protect you from the cold wind while you will also pick up the body heat from the riders around you. The riders working the hardest will ultimately be the biggest heaters in the group.