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Clothing advice for a century in 60-65F and rain

Old 09-05-18, 06:52 AM
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Clothing advice for a century in 60-65F and rain

I guess the title says it all. I'm riding the Civil War Century starting in Thurmont, MD and over the Catoctin mountains on Saturday. Weather calls for steady 60-65F temps (probably a little cooler in the mountain), with high chance of rain (60%) in the morning.

What do you wear? I'm guessing I can go with a short-sleeve cycling jersey and rough it out when it rains, but I wonder if the windchill effect of rain in the 55-60F range is too much. I'm not much of a hero when it comes to cold weather, fyi

Thank you!
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Old 09-05-18, 07:20 AM
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I live where it doesn't get properly cold, so I don't know much about cold weather-- but even to me, anything above 50 isn't very cold. I would just make sure I was wearing wool socks (so that you won't notice so much when they're wet,) shoe covers (if you have them,) unlined arm warmers, and something to cover the helmet. Water pouring down your face after it enters the helmet is just the worst. A disposable shower cap will fit over most helmets, and it stows most anywhere when you don't need it.

Come to think of it, I did a ride here back in March, and if sort of mist-drizzled on me for about 4 straight hours with temps in the mid 50s. It got chilly up above ~4,000ft, but was otherwise managed with the above-mentioned items-- I didn't think to bring a helmet cover, though, thankfully it wasn't raining hard enough that it was an issue.

The downhills are the only times you might get chilly. Climbing up a hill, the human body makes more than enough heat on it's own. I did a ride where it got down to 23, and I had to take my helmet off and zip my jersey down, because the air was trying to freeze my sweat.
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Old 09-05-18, 07:25 AM
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Clothing advice for a century in 60-65F and rain

The temperatures make it a bit tricky as it is in the sweet spot of wearing a rain jacket may make you too hot on the climbs and if going hard on the flats but freezing on the descents. I just bought a Gore C5 Shakedry Jacket which is extremely light and seems to breathe really well though it does not have pit-zips. The two downpours I have ridden in have been around the temperatures that you have described and I have been comfortable with a lightweight summer jersey.


You could just wear a wind-vest and that would help on the descents and you will probably be generating enough heat otherwise or take a spare jersey to change into if you get really soaked. Some people swear by wool jerseys as they will keep you warm when wet. I am a heavy sweater so usually only wear wool when it is a bit colder as I find it has a tendency to hold moisture and I do not like the wet, clammy feeling.


Ideally I would say a rain vest would be perfect. Keeps the torso dry but allows your body to cool off. It is the one piece of clothing that have yet to add to my cycling clothes.


I know Rapha and Showers Pass and Castelli all make rain vests. I am not sure who else does. You might want to look at the Castelli Perfetto Vest also.


Hope this helps. Everyone is different in terms of what they are comfortable with.
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Old 09-05-18, 07:29 AM
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Long ride like that, I'd err on the side of taking more than I might need. Arm warmers, rain jacket, cycling gloves, maybe shoe covers.
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Old 09-05-18, 07:32 AM
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As long as the rain stays light, it sounds like ideal weather for a century. I myself would just dress normally and bring some sort of rain cape in case the rain gets heavy. Heavy rain is a completely different story, and it might be a good idea to be prepared for the possibility.

I love riding in cool weather, and probably 90% of people I see riding on cool days dress a lot heavier than I do, so I'm probably not the best judge of what to wear.
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Old 09-05-18, 07:36 AM
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Here in SoCal, on the first day with any autumn crispness to the air, I am guaranteed to see a guy in arm and leg warmers, helmet cover, full-fingered gloves, shoe covers, windproof vest, maybe even a balaclava. Like... what I would wear if the temps were near-freezing. Some folks wildly overdress. I would end up colder, because I'd be sweating constantly.
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Old 09-05-18, 07:46 AM
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Same experience here in the Central Valley.

Have you ever seen the guys who ride in a black hooded sweatshirt, with black sweats, when it's 103 degrees? In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, "Who ARE these people?"
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Old 09-05-18, 08:10 AM
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I would wear a rash guard under a wool blend jersey and stash a gilet and knee warmers in my back pocket in case I got cold. I always wear wool socks.
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Old 09-05-18, 08:33 AM
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You guys are awesome! Thanks very much to everyone for their good advice.

I suppose it's better to carry some extra weight than be miserable biking while wet. Morning rain is worse because I still have the whole ride ahead of me...

Thanks again
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Old 09-05-18, 09:08 AM
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I'm not sure the Catoctins have a downhill long enough to make a wind vest and arm warmers worthwhile. My experience on a short (1-2 mile) downhill is that I'm still hot from the climb, and a downhill will cool me down to "normal." Still, it might be a good idea to carry warmers and/or a vest if you've got one small enough to stuff in your jersey pockets, just in case 60F turns into 55 with 45 degree rain.
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Old 09-05-18, 10:47 AM
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Yeah, that's a pretty warm rain. SS jersey, thin poly undershirt, arm warmers, wind vest (not waterproof), SF gloves. If it's showers, you'll dry out between them. Roll the warmers down, unzip vest and jersey.

Main thing to figure out: does that 60% have any meaning for you? Try this website: https://cams.nssl.noaa.gov/?model=fv...ge_stamp=false

Set it for Mid-Atlantic. It'll be quite accurate on Friday.
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Old 09-05-18, 11:07 AM
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Nice, thanks!
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Old 09-05-18, 11:21 AM
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The epic ride app is pretty good too.
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Old 09-05-18, 05:52 PM
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For that combination, I'd wear my regular shorts and long or short-sleeved summer-weight jersey, and take my rain jacket and tights with me. That'd be cool enough to wear the tights and rain jacket if it did rain. The tights in question are wind-tights, that are water and wind-proof on the front only. Rain jacket is a Showers Pass, one of the lighter ones. Oh, and a baseball cap under my helmet to keep rain off my glasses some. I have a special cap that I've removed the little top-button and the rear adjuster so it works well with a helmet.
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Old 09-05-18, 10:58 PM
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If I had to ride in 55-60 degrees with rain right now I'd be very cold as I'm acclimated to riding in 90+ and full sun.

For "cold" and rainy dress I'd have my windblocking shoe covers. Winter weight bibs but shorts only. Heavier t-shirt under 2.5 rain jacket but I'd leave the jacket unzipped and remove as necessary. Cycling cap and glasses. I'd wear my regular gloves but bring along the 3 spare pairs and change out depending on the rain. I've found that if it's raining hard and there's no evaporation my hands stay pretty warm even when wet. Once the rains stops and evaporative cooling has a chance to happen my hands can get very cold so it's good to have dry/warm gloves. I also have a set of wool tights that I would bring but probably not wear as they're very warm.
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Old 09-06-18, 06:00 AM
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I wear something on my knees when it's below 65F. Rain complicates that a little, so it depends on how long I would be riding at temperatures below that. I would rather be wearing shorts in the rain. I don't have any jackets that work well over a long time for temperatures that high. I would probably wear a long sleeve wool jersey.
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Old 09-06-18, 06:25 AM
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Your plan is solid, take a light windbreaker to wear if you get wind chilled. Have fun, looks like a great route and ride.

Last edited by u235; 09-06-18 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 09-06-18, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by u235 View Post
Your plan is solid, take a light windbreaker to wear if you get wind chilled.
Yeah, I'm thinking if we're only getting light rain: a baselayer (very thin), short-sleeve jersey, and a gilet (windproof vest), bib shorts, wool socks, shoe covers, light skull cap, arm warmers and half finger gloves (plus an extra pair for later).

If it's coming down I'll replace the vest with my showers pass light jacket and roll it up in my jersey pocket if it gets warm later.

The problem is that in the mountains the temp can drop 5 degrees which can make the windchill much worse if wet

Last edited by permanentrecord; 09-06-18 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 09-09-18, 08:04 PM
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Okay so for posterity this is what happened.

We showed up in Thurmont on Saturday morning for the Civil War Century. The night before there was an utter deluge (~3" of rain). That morning however the forecast looked awesome: expecting 60-62F the whole say, cloudy but no rain. So it gave a sense of security -- which ended up being totally wrong. We started at 7:45 feeling nice and lucky for the weather. At 9:30 we got a few sprinkles thinking that it's nice to cool us down. By about 11 a steady rain came on. At noon and on we were having heavy rain and cold temps, non-stop. It was freakin' miserable! We ended up doing the two major climbs and we bailed on mile 62 (2 PM) to take the shortcut back to the start.

I ended up wearing a base layer, short-sleeve cycling jersey, a gilet (windproof vest), wool socks, and after the steady rain started, I put on my arm warmers (thank god I brought them with). I didn't bring the shoe covers since it didn't seem likely to rain, but honestly it wouldn't have mattered. We all got so cold with the steady rain and mid-50s temp that we were suffering toward the end.

Had I know of the weather I would have brought foulies!

Lesson: if there is even a decent chance of a miserable weather better to carry the extra weight for heavier gear than suffer and risk getting hypothermia
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Old 09-09-18, 09:59 PM
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Oh, man! That sounds nasty! I'm sorry to hear it.

We had a 200k starting in Ephrata PA at 7 Saturday morning. I drove there through two hours of heavy rain, which stopped for a while before the ride began. Once underway we got a light rain for a while, but after that stopped, it turned out to be an okay day for riding. Interesting that your weather was so different.
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