SEATTLE, WA These past couple weeks have been exceptionally cold. That is a matter of perspective I know as some people have it rougher. But here in Cascadia (NW), anything below 40 is testing, below 30 and I sorta draw the line, and it has been 20degrees!!. I've done my share of permafrost and snow, but I can't say it's really all that worth it. Suspension doesn't work as well, tires are cold, hands barely can grab the brakes, camelbaks freeze, feet go numb. This all seems to be amplified for females, cause once I go past a point of the chills, it's quite hard to get back up to temperature. Soup and coffee get me through most days.
Training still has to happen in some capacity, so I have a few tips that might help till the cold snap passes and frozen ground turns back into mud. Bear in mind that I go riding to rip corners and live for good descents. I usually climb hills to stay in certain heart rate zones and just get to the top.
With that said. Here are my basic pro tips. Gearheads take notes...
1. Wear a Marino wool long sleeve base layer. This keeps you warmer and drier than cotton.
2. Wind jacket or something that'll block the chill (rain coats work too) on the outer layer. I sometimes use a down coat underneath as an insulator too.
3. I use a marino wool Buff daily, it's like a neck scarf but tubular, I always have one!!. There are many other Bitchin ways to wear it too:) JK
4. Waterproof gloves do exist, but they seem too thick and stiff to feel the brakes. I use surgical gloves under normal riding gloves. It blocks the wind and insulates, plus is super thin. You still get a little bit damp from the sweat inside, but it works pretty good once you get used to it. I put a spare pair of gloves in a ziplock in my pack too.
5. Goggles- eyes water a lot more, so goggles block the cold wind and protect your peepers. I'm not a fan of the look of xc lid with goggles, so you won't see many pictures of me wearing this, but it's pretty vital. Bring a cloth for the fog. Only wear them on the decants and keep the bag dry.
6. Tires: Try using Maxxis 3c tires tires on frozen ground. It's a softer rubber that still rolls ok, but will grip a lot better than a 60 comp or a super tacky. They still get hard, but I feel the difference. Tires like minions or ikons are good for rolling speed. The ground will roll faster but be sketchy in places, use a tire like the HR2 when the soil is muddy and soft.
7. Socks. and wool socks. The Dissent socks actually work the best I have found, they are wool and have compression as well.
8. If it's really wet and muddy and your shoes are prone to getting soaked, try duct tape over the whole shoe as a waterproofer.
9. Have a thermos in the car with water. I filled my pack up the other day, and the hose froze within 10 min:( it's too cold some days. Also those Nuun tablets are good to use for drinking more water if your pack doesn't freeze. It's easier to dehydrate, and they add electrolytes and flavor.
10. Have a garbage bag ready for post ride clean up . We sometimes use our rain coats and zip everything up so the clean side faces out.
___________________________________________________________________________________________ If that doesn't sound like fun then you can always slam a Red Bull, go to the gym, rock climb, hike, dig, snowboard if there is snow, or head to warmer places. Winter riding makes you tough, but there are options. Indoor BMX goes off in winter- look for a track, skateparks, etc. Anything that keeps you on a bike is sweet. We ride our hard tails a lot and a trainers inside to get the mileage. Road riding is too sketchy I seriously don't recommend that. Guess there is always the other option of sitting by the fire and drinking some schnapps , or whiskey to stay warm. Most normal people can do that anyway:) Well have one for me, it's full on from now on… c ya. Jill