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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 03-22-10, 06:14 PM   #1
Hairy Hands
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Foul Weather Clothing?

Hi All. Help me out with some clothing issues I'm having. Last week I did a Century ride in the rain. I wore a Assos jacket that was supposed to be water proof, I had on Pearl Izumi AmFib air block tights, and Assos shoe covers on.

Within 15 minutes of heavy rain my upper body was soaked, my shoes filled up like a swimming pool, and my legs were wet but warm. Temp was 50F.

What do you guys/gals wear in the rain to stay dry? What do you wear on your head to stay dry? How do you keep the water out of your shoes?

I want to know! No way could I ride 1200k like this.
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Old 03-22-10, 06:47 PM   #2
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I can live with being wet as long as I'm warm. The feet do seem to be a problem. I have been known to carry socks, but I've never changed them.
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Old 03-22-10, 08:43 PM   #3
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Realistically you can not stay dry in long rides in the rain, the better
the gear is at keeping the rain off the better it is at retaining sweat. "Breathing" clothing was never designed to keep up with the rate
at which cyclists generate sweat. The important thing, in addition to
keeping the rain off (water impermeable) is to shingle, water runs
down hill so there should be enough overlap of upper garments
over lower ones to prevent water running into the cracks. Good
water proof shoe covers are available but the legging/pants
shoe gap is hard to completely block. Helmet covers work reasonably
well IME. My long distance rain rides have been limited to 4-5hrs at
mid 50s temps. My legs were wet, feet fairly dry and head
and upper body protected. Wind chill is a serious problem and must be guarded against as much as rain. I found that I was quite comfortable
riding but not long after I stopped the lack of exercised induced heat generation quickly caused shivers and chills. Getting back on the bike
and pedaling quickly warmed me up. But I haven't done rides in cooler
temps or longer than 4 hrs or so. Sweat is by definition at and remains
near body temp but infiltrating rain is 30-50F cooler and can quickly
cool you off. One other thing FENDERS!! Water spray off wheels can
be worse than rain coming down, as it defeats the shingling.

Last edited by sch; 03-22-10 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 03-22-10, 11:03 PM   #4
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I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that if I'm warm, I don't mind getting wet. However, in 50-70 degree weather I like my rain cape, especially when I'm wearing arm warmers or long sleeves, as it will condense on my lower arms otherwise.

Fenders keep my feet mostly dry and the cape protects my upper legs.
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Old 03-22-10, 11:48 PM   #5
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Realistically you can not stay dry in long rides in the rain, the better
the gear is at keeping the rain off the better it is at retaining sweat.
+1 to that. Or as I once heard another Randonneur say, any claim that a product is waterproof and breathable is at least half a lie. My strategy is to wear wool and keep moving. Oh yeah, and fenders are a necessity.
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Old 03-23-10, 02:54 AM   #6
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Rowan and I wear the Woosh jacket from MEC. Rowan has 4 of them and I have 2. We really like that brand of jacket.
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1269334124906

Then I wear these on my feet (and Rowan wears something similar which he got here in Australia).
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1269334212061

And I wear this on my helmet. Rowan uses a shower cap.
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1269334321058
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Old 03-23-10, 07:41 AM   #7
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fenders, wool, showers pass jacket, rainlegs, wool cycling cap.
ibex knickers if it is cooler, ibex bib shorts if warmer. a thin woolie layer for under the jersey.

if it is warm i'll leave out the jacket. here is a blog post from a wet, solo 300k:
http://littlecirclesvt.com/2008/08/w...300k-thoughts/

if its going to be cold - i'll try to address fingers and toes. toes are easier - waterproof socks from sealskinz - not 100% waterproof - but do hold in the heat. shoe covers can work. fingers are going to get wet, regardless. haven't been able to do anything about it other than try and keep them warm if it is cool...
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Old 03-23-10, 09:12 AM   #8
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+1 on the fenders. It depends on the temperature. If it is warm and I am producing a lot of heat then I do nothing. Next level colder is a Showers Pass Elite 2.0 jacket. Next add Sugoi overshoes. Next tights of appropriate thickness. Then, Descente waterproof full-finger gloves. Next Showers Pass pants. Next, Showers Pass hood. Next, pull out the snow shoes.
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Old 03-23-10, 09:39 AM   #9
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As others have said, forget dry, go for warm.

Last year I did a 200k brevet in the rain. At the first control (60k in), it was 38f and raining. At the last control (in the same town) it was 50f and raining. It literally did not stop raining all day. But I was warm, comfortable, and had a good ride. I was wearing wool boot socks, cycling shoes, neoprene shoe covers, drylete tights, wool jersey and arm warmers, a goretex-type jacket, microfleece gloves w/ windstopper shells, and a fleece winter cap under my helmet. By the finish, everything was soaked, and weighed probably 5 pounds more than dry. But I was warm and happy.

Sounds like your clothing worked well at keeping you warm, so stick with that.

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Old 03-23-10, 12:34 PM   #10
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Thanks to all that replied.. I looked at the Shower Pass stuff and the jacket, pants, shoe covers, and hood are on order.. Hopefully this will be a one time purchase with problem solved.. Thanks again JP
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Old 03-24-10, 07:53 AM   #11
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I picked up a pair of gore-tex cycling winter gloves that do a really decent job of keeping your hands dry and warm. For my upper body I have a showers pass jacket that works also pretty well. But for my feet I still have not found a good combo of booties and fenders that keep my feet dry for any length of time. Thankfully I have not had do a ride any longer then a 200km in the pouring rain, at this point I have just accepted that I might be pretty wet at the end of some long rides.
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Old 03-24-10, 09:25 AM   #12
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It rains a lot up here in the PNW, and I've learned that the best bet is to stay warm instead of trying to stay dry.

Layers of wool up top, and maybe my oh-so-stylish tyvek jacket if it's cold, rainy and windy. PI Gavia Plus tights when it's below 40 degrees, winter knickers or shorts and knee warmers if it's going to warm up during the day.
I have a smartwool hat to go under my helmet and keep my head warm, PI Cyclone gloves, and even if the rain gets into my gore-tex shoe covers, I'm OK since wool socks keep my feet warm and the gore-tex blocks the wind.
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Old 03-24-10, 11:34 AM   #13
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I picked up a pair of gore-tex cycling winter gloves that do a really decent job of keeping your hands dry and warm. For my upper body I have a showers pass jacket that works also pretty well. But for my feet I still have not found a good combo of booties and fenders that keep my feet dry for any length of time. Thankfully I have not had do a ride any longer then a 200km in the pouring rain, at this point I have just accepted that I might be pretty wet at the end of some long rides.
+1 on all the comments about wearing clothes that keep you warm when wet, plus fenders.

But what are you going to do on the really long rides?

On the notoriously rainy 2007 PBP, I found that by the third day my feet had turned into something that looked like the white belly of a rotten fish, with deep, deep wrinkles that were starting to become painful. Basically I was in the early stages of trench foot.

In a desperate move, I slathered my feet with Lantiseptic, put a thin plastic bag over each foot, put my thick wool socks over that, and then thin plastic bags over the whole deal. My reflective ankle bands helped keep the outer bags from falling down, but I probably also tucked them over the tops of the socks, but not inside the inner bag.

By the next control, my feet were no longer white and wrinkled and painful. I re-slathered with Lantispectic and didn't look at my feet again until the end.

One of the more disgusting smells in the universe is a tiny, French hotel room with clotheslines full of two randonneurs' worth of wet, wool clothing that has been jammed into a drop bag for two days. Yes, we washed it in the bathtub, but even industrial solvents wouldn't get rid of that smell!

Nick
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Old 03-24-10, 02:13 PM   #14
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I see you ordered the showers pass clothing. The last day of a three day tour was this past Sunday. It rained the entire day. Showers Pass jacket and pants did the trick. Of course the fenders on the LHT helps greatly. Helmet cover and a Showers Pass hood. You will do OK with these items.
OH, I had just bought a pair of sealskin gloves. A very good purchase for a day of rain.
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Old 03-24-10, 09:42 PM   #15
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I keep it simple myself. I select the necessary clothes to stay warm enough, then cover with a plastic jacket and pants. Neoprene booties over the shoes. I rarely wear a helmet, so will put on a wool cap treated with waterproofing spray. Neoprene gloves work well too. I can usually convince myself that I am staying dry, because I don't feel any rain getting in. I almost always discover, post ride, that I am soaked, but it's all sweat, so I stay warm and comfortable.

I consider full fenders an absolute necessity for any semblance of comfort in the rain.
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Old 03-24-10, 10:39 PM   #16
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The biggest problem with keeping feet dry, you see, is that the water just runs down your legs and into your shoes. A neat trick for feet, especially for very long rain rides, is to wear waterproof winter boots, like Lakes. You put replacement dry suit leg seals, trimmed to fit you, on your naked ankles and stretch them down over the tops of the Lakes. So the seals are upside down. Your tights or leg warmers go over the seals and your regular wool short bike socks are below them. This works incredibly well.

You can do an impromptu version of this by getting vegetable bags at a grocery store and cutting the bottoms out, so they're cylinders. You wrap the top of the bag around your naked ankles. The bottom of the bag goes over your shoe and your bootie goes over the bag. Your tights or leg warmers go over the top of the bags and holds them in place. This works pretty well, plenty good enough for a 200.

I don't care for the fancy jackets like Showers Pass, etc., because they don't pack down to the size of a grapefruit. Since nothing is going to keep you dry, might as well go for the thinnest windproof thing you can find. Then you don't need a giant bag to pack all that stuff in when you take it off - it usually does stop raining sometime - and it won't weigh so much wet or dry. Look at O2 and the cheap Performance jacket.

The whole point of rain clothing is to limit the number of changes per hour, as they talk about air in house design. Rain is going to get in, but you limit the rate of it getting in to the amount that your body can warm. It's the wetsuit concept. Though I do try to keep my feet dry because of the trenchfoot thing. When my feet get wet, they go numb after a while and it's uncomfortable.
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Old 03-26-10, 10:06 PM   #17
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I have rode along the Oregon Coast in heavy rain and temps in the 50s several times. I use the the Showers Pass jacket, Ibex wool knickers, Orvis L/S light weight wool top with a turtleneck collar and a 2/3 front zipper and a L/S summer weight Helly Hansen underneath. My feet are another matter. I just use a pair of 1 size bigger cycling shoes and heavy wool socks with silk liners. I can stay comfortable with this layering.
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Old 03-26-10, 10:38 PM   #18
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A couple people have mentioned how hard it is to keep feet dry. I live in WA state and go the opposite route. If it's going to rain I just wear sandals plus wool socks. Since the sandals don't soak up water like shoes do I can simply change to dry socks when I reach my destination and my feet are completely dry again. It's also nice on long rides that when the rain stops, your feet, socks and sandals usually dry out in 20 minutes at most. Since the only part of this combo that absorbs water is the socks, proper selection of a moisture wicking or wool sock will keep your feet from feeling soggy/waterlogged when wet like they do when wearing shoes.

I just wear normal sandals with platform pedals but I've seen SPD compatible sandals as well for those that prefer such a thing.
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Old 03-26-10, 11:49 PM   #19
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A couple people have mentioned how hard it is to keep feet dry. I live in WA state and go the opposite route. If it's going to rain I just wear sandals plus wool socks. Since the sandals don't soak up water like shoes do I can simply change to dry socks when I reach my destination and my feet are completely dry again. It's also nice on long rides that when the rain stops, your feet, socks and sandals usually dry out in 20 minutes at most. Since the only part of this combo that absorbs water is the socks, proper selection of a moisture wicking or wool sock will keep your feet from feeling soggy/waterlogged when wet like they do when wearing shoes.

I just wear normal sandals with platform pedals but I've seen SPD compatible sandals as well for those that prefer such a thing.
I've seen peopledo that, actually it was one of the SIR guys. Looks weird to me, like maybe it wouldn't be so comfy or efficient, but then I remember that I go jogging in Teva sandals. I always carry extra socks on wet rides anyhow. I've found that wool socks a re a requirement, and if you really want to keep dry down below, you start with good, full length fenders with mud flaps. Shoe covers really aren't that great, though I'm told that Prendas has some that are ace and actually work. Craft too. I always like a few layers of wool on top and just deal with a bit of wet. If it's really bad, you can get a good rain jacket but you still get wet from sweat. Rain capes seem to be nice but turn into a sail if it's windy.
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Old 03-31-10, 01:43 PM   #20
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The more I research it and pursue various possibilities, the more I accept that going for "waterproof" and "breathable" always involves a heavy tradeoff one against the other, with neither winning out. Currently, I'm wearing a Sugoi Hydrolite jacket for light waterproofing with moderate breathability (while being very small and light) and packing a tiny plastic raincoat in case of genuine downpours when I really don't want to get soaked. Although I've got a pair of Sugoi Majik shell pants for more thorough waterproofing in non-emergency situations.
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Old 03-31-10, 03:54 PM   #21
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I think the person I know that uses sandals uses silk next to the skin, heavy wool on top of that, and goretex on top of that.
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