You may scoff at the idea of riding out on an aggressive trail bike equipped with the latest cycling powerpod and wearing fleece. But when you consider yourself more than a cycling enthusiast and plan on going pro one day, biking in cold weather is an eventuality you can’t turn your back from.
When faced with harsh winds and frigid weather conditions, it’s like being strong-armed by Mother Nature herself. It can be deterring, or downright discouraging if you are physically and mentally unprepared for the task ahead. Half the trick to leveling up your cycling prowess is religiously adhering to your training routines and diet restrictions. Scoring the right layering gear is the other half of the two-prong pursuit.
If you have an upcoming cycling race that you’ve set your heart and mind on for months, then you need to wrap up your preparations and make sure that they’re in line with the expected climate.
The best starting point is to prioritize the things that will make or break your cycling goals. Most races last a day or two; some, even more. Be sure to have your favorite headgear on. Most athletes are partial to ponytail winter beanies when it’s cold outside.
Take what you need, and make sure it’s enough to last you through. Here are a few preparations that you can do before you embark on your biking journey.
Prep Your Bag
When you pack, if the weather forecasts anything more than a shower or snow, you can be sure that everything in your backpack is going to get wet. You don’t want that—no one does. The cold season brings an entirely challenging set of obstacles to overcome. Don’t forget that you need dry clothes when you’re on your way home.
Most bags come with a built-in rain cover—usually, it will be an inner pocket at the bottom of the backpack. If you don’t have one yet, make sure you get one and know where to pull it up when rain or snow starts pouring in.
Once you got that covered, there’s still more covering needed. Before you put in your essential gear inside your backpack, take one or two pieces of your black garbage bag. That’s right—your usual garbage bag.
To give you that additional layer of protection from dampness, use the bag as you would a pack liner. Place one or two inside your backpack, covering the inside segments all the way to the bottom. Then you can put in the gear you’ll be taking with you. Arrange the items according to when and how many times you need to access them.
For example, if you’ll be spending the night outdoors, you want to keep your blanket, jacket, and your mug—for that much-awaited hot beverage later on—at the bottom. You don’t need to access them until you reach your campsite or the site you’ll be sleeping in. Place the snacks and the hydration bottles you’ll need at the upper part of your backpack for easy access.
Prep for Possible Blisters and Chafing
It’s easy to get blisters when riding out on cold conditions. The dampness in the air seeps through your gears. You can prevent them by putting on sweat-wicking socks and lubricants. Some find cornstarch soothing and more effective.
You need to test and find out what works for you during your training days or days before the start of the race. Don’t forget to put some on your thighs and armpits as well. You don’t want to be tortured by chafing on the final miles.
Prep Your Essential Gears and Waterproof Them
Waterproofing is a top priority in cold conditions. Your essentials should consist of a waterproof jacket, fleece-based shirts, and wool layers if the temperatures drop too low. Don’t forget that clothing gear comes with waterproof ratings. Anything above 5,000 millimeters of waterproofness and a moisture vapor permeability of 5,000 will keep you tight and ventilated.
Make a checklist of your clothing, and check everything off the night before you head out the door. Batteries should be fully charged and kept in Ziplocs or any other waterproof container. Last but not least, wear your best smile, and turn your A game on. It’s going to be the best days of your life!