Old Man Winter is Coming
Just in time for Christmas, we have an arctic cold front moving through the area and an opportunity for significant snow accumulation tonight and tomorrow.... Wohoo.. So, in preparation for the change, I got the Muk out and put on the Escalators in lieu of the Husker Du's. I have the studs on order and am really looking forward to there arrival.
The new 45Nrth pogies are in, but today it was so cold, -9 this morning, that I did not want to chance things and instead went with my trusty Down setup. By the time I got out for the ride, most of the sea smoke was gone and the temps had crept up to right around 10f with a solid wind to keep things frigid. I am unfortunately still running the Ergon saddle because I have not found a suitable replacement.... Argh!!
I always get questions about clothing in these types of conditions so here is what I wore today. It was not a long ride, a bit more than an hour along the beach and back roads, which actually hurts a bit more than it helps. Why? Well, when you are not cranking up your internal engine, you are prone to getting a bit chillier than you would when you are really working. Today's kit was as follows, top to bottom:
- Smartwool hat, the kind that is not too light and not too heavy and easily covers your ears. Too heavy a hat and I really begin to sweat.
- A wool buff. Another must have as it allows you to cover your face and regulate body warmth. For me, there are two key areas that help me control the sensation of hot and cold. One is my ears and the other is my neck.
- Ibex 150 weight base sleeveless layer
- Patagonia Cap 4 top (the greatest!!)
- Endura softshell - I prefer my outer layer to simply protect from the elements and not add ANY insulation. This allows me to fine tune my body temperature in better increments. While touring, my favorite piece for this job is the super light Patagonia Houdini. It adds no bulk and simply serves to block the wind and trap in a bit of heat.
- Soft gloves for under the poagies, in general I like the OR brand of stretchy gloves. They are warm, but not too warm. For longer distances, they are too warm for under the poagies and I will switch out to a simple glove liner to keep my hands from sweating.
- Bike Shorts - I will compliment these with some Ibex 3/4 wool knickers in very extreme conditions. I run warm, so this would be for -15 and below.
- Craft wind pants
- Icebreaker wool liner socks
- RBH Vapor Barrier Socks - A MUST HAVE
- 45Nrth Wolvs - A size larger (45) than last year (44). My normal shoe size is a 42.5, the Fasterkatts are a 43. The extra size will allow me to add another layer of insulation on my feet for the truly extreme conditions.
There you go, a tried and true outfit for winter biking. This kit will take you down to the negative temps as long as you have insulation layers to throw on once you stop cycling. This kit will not keep you warm while standing still, but instead will protect you from the elements while riding and allow you to maximize your ability to vent off heat and avoid the dreaded moisture beast.