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  1. #1
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    Racing in the cold, windy, and wet - attire question

    Looks like I'll be spending some time racing in 45 degrees, rain, and wind coming up... "I would ride what I train in".... but I don't train in that stuff.

    Just a couple of attire questions:
    1) Rain Jacket? - I have a nice quality cycling rain jacket I could wear. Although it seems to be a bit of a kite, and may not breathe too well. But Im assuming staying a little too warm but dry would trump all else. Will thermal arm warmers get wet and sloppy, or is there something else I should wear on top?

    2) Shoe Covers - I have lyrca shoe covers currently. Has anyone ever tried something like Scotchguard or other water repellent to make them more water resistant? Or is my best bet to buy more gear for a more weather resistant cover to keep my feet dry?

    Any other tips to stay as comfortable as possible?

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    Senior Member topflightpro's Avatar
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    Stay home?

    I've reached a point that I don't really feel like racing in crappy weather like you've described. Maybe that doesn't make me as "hard core" as some, but I don't really care.

    That said, for shoes, make sure whatever you use can drain out. I have yet to find a shoe cover that can truly keep water out. Rather, they tend to keep water in. It is not fun.

    And yes, thermal arm warmers and knee warmers will get quite wet and will hold water. That's one of the reasons cross racers use embrocation instead of arm/knee warmers.

  3. #3
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    1) I wouldn't wear a rain jacket, personally. You'll just be as wet inside, and the breathability factor would render me useless.

    Some of it depends on how long the race is though. My races are 45-60 minutes. I can survive pretty much anything for that long.

    2) wut

    your feet will not stay drive. best to lose the notion lest you experience disappointment. fill them will balls of newspaper afterwards. They'll be dry in the morning.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Tyrell's Avatar
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    For me, the things that get the coldest when racing in conditions like that are my hands (fingers) and feet (toes). For hands, grab something water/windproof and wear your warmest/driest booties on your feets. I've never had to try scotchguard but it's certainly worth a shot! For a road race I did earlier this year in similar conditions to what you described, I wore an UnderArmor cold gear thermal long sleeve base layer, jersey, vest with number pinned to it, bib shorts, leg warmers, water/wind proof booties, and my gloves that are generally good down to 40F (when dry). And socks too of course, fudgy.

    Unless it's a downpour, I would rather wear a layer under my jersey and maybe a vest over with arm warmers if the base layer doesn't have thermal sleeves. If you're considering a rain jacket, remember that you'll need to pin your number to it if it's not see-through. This is the advantage to having a clear rain jacket or vest (neither of which I own) because then you can pin your number to your jersey like normal and take the jacket/vest off/on without worry.

  5. #5
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
    Stay home?

    I've reached a point that I don't really feel like racing in crappy weather like you've described. Maybe that doesn't make me as "hard core" as some, but I don't really care.
    +1

    we aren't getting paid to race, and most of us have to pay to race. There's an unhealthy level of fetish for hardman maschismo in the sport, and it's severely misguided.

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    Senior Member ips0803's Avatar
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    I'd stay home.

    But at least wear wool socks or maybe those fancy showers pass ones. Wool or gabba layer to stay mildly warm when you get wet.

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    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    +1

    we aren't getting paid to race, and most of us have to pay to race. There's an unhealthy level of fetish for hardman maschismo in the sport, and it's severely misguided.
    Yeah, you've never uttered an "HTFU," right? Just admit you're a p***y in the rain and be done with it

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    In the Pain Cave thechemist's Avatar
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    Wear wool,base layers and warmers. feet will get wet but you wont notice tell post race unless you get dropped. I see no reason to avoid the race unless there will be a lot of descending or its a technical crit.

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    Senior Member spectastic's Avatar
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    move south?
    5/20

  10. #10
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
    move south?
    FWIW, Tyrell's story is from Central TX O_o

  11. #11
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    Rain. I race in rain rarely, but if the race I'm promoting is in the rain then I'll race in the rain.

    At 45 degrees you're in a perfect temperature zone for rainy races.

    First you should wear either knickers or shorts, not tights. Tights hold too much water and you end up feeling like you're pedaling with wet diapers hanging off your legs. Slather some non-heat stuff on your legs - baby oil, vaseline (if it's really cold), even sun tan oil spray (oil, not the white sunblock stuff). I use suntan spray oil, easy to apply, has added benefit of some SPF (basically doubles your time out in the sun).

    I don't use heat stuff in the rain because it just evacuates heat from you even quicker. Remember, water + wind = massive wind chill. YOu can't control the water so control the wind, hence the oil etc.

    1. Rain jacket. It's not staying dry, it's keeping the wind off. I wear a rain jacket under my LS jersey, and I did in 35 or so degrees rain this year. The bit of white peeking out from under my jersey at the back is the rain jacket, I think this was a 30-35 degree dry day. I'll be wet underneath, fine, but I'll be warm. I was coldest when I changed back into street clothes in the car because the air finally hit my body.


    2. Put a plastic bag OVER your shoes. Thin kind, like the grocery store ones. Duct tape the ankles to your (shaved) legs, below bootie height. Unless you have Speedplays you'll be able to clip in just fine. I have Look Keos and they work fine. You'll have about 60-80 minutes before you get any water on your feet. You will keep the wind off your feet the whole time. If you're doing a typical crit your feet should be drier for most of the race, meaning warm.

    If you forget stuff then get some grocery store bags and stuff them under your jersey up front. I've even cut pieces and put them over each thigh in bone chilling cold wet weather. As a bonus when you're finished with the race you can use one of those bags to put all your wet gear in for the trip home.

    You want to keep wind off of you. Rain/moisture, whatever, doesn't matter.
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

  12. #12
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Rain jackets are for Z2 rides and commuting. Don't race with one, you'll end up hating yourself.

    You need to wear a bit more than you would in the same temperature if it were dry. At 45 degrees, you're probably going to want leg warmers and a warm long sleeve baselayer under your jersey. For your feet... I hate racing with shoe covers on, but if that's what it takes to keep your feet warm, use them. I would wear wool socks and consider putting plastic bags on your feet before putting your shoes on. They won't keep your feet dry - just forget about having dry feet, seriously, it's not going to happen - but they will help them stay a bit warmer. In those conditions, I will usually wear a cycling cap under my helmet. It's warm enough and the bill helps keep rain and sweat out of your eyes/off your glasses. My biggest challenge personally is keeping my hands warm enough. Your mileage may vary as I have very slender fingers, hands, wrists and probably just radiate a lot of heat before it even gets to my fingers. But do whatever you can in that regard, overly-warm hands are uncomfortable but at least you can still shift and brake.

    Last piece of advice: race your damn bike. No better way to end up cold and miserable than huddling in the pack.

  13. #13
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    It's just water.

    Really cold water. Driven by wind. Into every pore. And every nerve ending.

    You can bundle up to a certain point, and then you're working against yourself. Then I think it's becomes a matter of convincing yourself that you're not going to be affected by the elements. I did a 50k ski race this year that was 0-degrees at the start with a 20mph wind. I knew several days in advance that conditions were going to be murder, so I had plenty of time to psych myself out. I just accepted the fact that I was going to be cold for 4 hours, and that cold is just a sensation. I was fine. It's pretty amazing how the mind works.

    Let the conditions beat the other guys.

  14. #14
    Senior Member spectastic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
    FWIW, Tyrell's story is from Central TX O_o
    trust me, southerners are oblivious to real bad weather.
    5/20

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    Senior Member Wylde06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby View Post
    Last piece of advice: race your damn bike. No better way to end up cold and miserable than huddling in the pack.
    I did a crit last year where I somehow managed to get off the front with another guy. It was ~36 and raining and no one wanted to do anything so I attacked... Never noticed the cold or the rain until we were done.

  16. #16
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
    Yeah, you've never uttered an "HTFU," right? Just admit you're a p***y in the rain and be done with it
    i may have before regarding other things, but certainly don't recall saying it recently regarding riding in racing/riding adverse conditions

    yes, i'm a p***y in the rain, though i rode in 45F rain just on Tuesday for part of my work out. It was either that or rollers for a really difficult workout my coach prescribed. Afterwards, i had to strip off all of my wet cloth and a hot shower to warm up before doing the remaining workout for the day.

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    Thanks guys, I'll use a lot of this info - this will be a 2 hour-ish road race, and I'll keep the carbon wheels at home and gut it out. Id skip it if it was a crit.

  18. #18
    Senior Member topflightpro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
    trust me, southerners are oblivious to real bad weather.
    Maybe where you live. But in other parts of the south, we do see quite a bit of bad weather.

  19. #19
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    i may have before regarding other things, but certainly don't recall saying it recently regarding riding in racing/riding adverse conditions

    yes, i'm a p***y in the rain, though i rode in 45F rain just on Tuesday for part of my work out. It was either that or rollers for a really difficult workout my coach prescribed. Afterwards, i had to strip off all of my wet cloth and a hot shower to warm up before doing the remaining workout for the day.
    My point is that we all carry the HTFU flag. Some of us just draw the line in different places. In my experience, rain races are no more crashy than dry races, and the crashes are at a slower speed with an easier slide/less injury. If there's a crash in a rainy crit, I see many more racers getting back in after the free lap than I do in dry crits.

    It's fine to draw the line wherever you like regarding stress, cold toes, general shivering, bike cleanup, and whatnot. It's silly to hurtle yourself into 90 degree corners at 30mph with 100 racers every dry Sunday, but then say that cold/rainy machismo is severely misguided. I think we're all severely misguided in the risk/reward category, from an outsider's perspective. You're just an outsider on cold rain racing.

  20. #20
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    I did more 45 degree wet rides than I care for this year. Most important thing for me would be a warm head and hands - and stay dry and warm before the race. I have a couple of thin hats that I wear under my helmet when it is under 55 on training days, and wore one for a couple of races this year as well. I have different long finger gloves for different weather, thick ones for training, thin ones for rain races, crits and track. After that it is all about how cold and long it will be. I have only raced in full tights twice. Once when it was below zero with the wind chill and we just raced because well it was college and we needed points. The other time when it was 55 and a teammate did and I vowed to never do that again - overheated completely. So knee warmers only for me, shoe covers if it is over an hour, but under I wouldn't bother. A vest and arm warmers are another good choice for bad weather, along with a second jersey under the first. Jerseys don't hold much water, but they keep and extra layer of warmth on you.

    Good luck.

  21. #21
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Yeah, if I'd do a RR in the rain, I'd do a crit, too. If anything, the crit would be safer. I've crashed in a rainy road race in the past, wet bumpy train tracks resulted in a yardsale for basically half the field. I was more or less unharmed, slid a long way on my butt. The TT on my bike was seriously dented, though, I guess it hit a sign post or something. I've done rainy races since and they were fine.

  22. #22
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    I'd wear a base layer, regular jersey, bibs, leg warmers, arm warmers, vest, and full fingered gloves.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    I'd wear a base layer, regular jersey, bibs, leg warmers, arm warmers, vest, and full fingered gloves.
    There's no point in trying to stay dry - anything that will keep you dry won't breathe at all. But keeping your feet as dry as you can is a good idea.

    I'm trying to remember what I wore for a 35F race in pouring rain a bit over a year ago. I think it was something like this:

    - full finger gloves
    - wool glove liners
    - wool base layer
    - winter jacket
    - long sleeve jersey over jacket
    - tights
    - heavy wool socks
    - shoe covers
    - balaclava
    - helmet cover

    The difference in 35F and 45F in heavy rain is huge, so Merlin's probably pretty close to what'd be good to wear in 45F, though I might go for a tad bit warmer.

    It was raining so hard that about halfway through the race I had to take off my goggles so I could see better, they were so covered with kicked-up road grit and grime. What a choice - no eye protection in that, or not being able to see where I was going. And OMG was I cold after the race.

    I'd add in to have a big thermos of something like HOT chocolate waiting for you at the end of the race. But the FIRST thing you need to do at the end of the race is GET OUT OF THAT WET CLOTHING, get dry, and into somewhere warm.

  24. #24
    burp
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    I raced the Driveway Spring crit in Austin in March. Dude had a rain jacket on. He was off the back pretty quick.


  25. #25
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Insulated bottles with hot beverages are good too.

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