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What are some good clothing recommendations for wet weather racing? I have a clear plastic jacket, waterproof gloves, waterproof helmet cover and waterproof booties, but I'm wondering if I'm going to cook in this attire.
 

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If it's cold..

velobellagirl said:
What are some good clothing recommendations for wet weather racing? I have a clear plastic jacket, waterproof gloves, waterproof helmet cover and waterproof booties, but I'm wondering if I'm going to cook in this attire.
If it's cold it might help to keep you warm. But if it's warm out, ditch all the waterproof stuff and just ride au natural (meaning shorts, jersey, maybe some arm warmers and or knee warmers if required). If it's cold, throw on the hard core gear.
 

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Just make sure the organizers can still see your number!

Really, the waterproof stuff only seems to be necessary when there are a lot of descents, or if it's really fugging cold.

Other than that, embrocation on the legs is nice, arm warmers that you can pull up and down easily, and maybe a heavier duty base layer should be good for a 2- to 3- hour race in temps down to the 40's. Is it lower than that?
 

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I heart team Zissou!
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Here's the drill....

velobellagirl said:
What are some good clothing recommendations for wet weather racing? I have a clear plastic jacket, waterproof gloves, waterproof helmet cover and waterproof booties, but I'm wondering if I'm going to cook in this attire.
I race about 30% of my races in the wet -- northern France is not known for it's sunny climate!

So here's the drill as passed on by my coach from his coach from his coach ... etc, since time immemorial....

1. Whatever the conditions, ditch the waterproof helmet cover. If you are racing, your head will be plenty warm w/ a cycling cap under your helmet (even though most heat escapes through the head, your head should stay warm b/c you will be generating so much heat). The cap also has the advantage of protecting your eyes from the downpour (but not the road spray) with its bill.

2. You can put on the booties but just remember they are there for a). warmth and b). to keep your shoes clean. In any sustained downpour, booties will *not* keep your feet dry since water will run in from the top and up from the cleat cut-outs.

3. If it's cold, put on the waterproof gloves -- as long as they are thin and do not impair your tactile sense -- if its warm, ditch the waterproof gloves -- but always ride w/ half-finger gloves.

4. Clear rain jacket -- again, the only purpose a clear rain jacket (or any jacket -- including gore-tex for that matter) serves in *racing* conditions is to keep you warm. You *will* be wet no matter what. If you wear the jacket, you will be warm(ish) and wet from your own sweat, if you don't wear the jacket, you will be wet and possibly cold if it is cool out or if you are going downhill for some long stretches. Make your own decision based on the number and length of the descents and the temperature. In warm conditions, a simple jersey w/ a base layer and possibly some arm warmers suffices .

5. Legs... most important. In *racing* conditions, you should never cover up your legs when it is wet out (cold, yes, wet -- no!). The knee-warmers, leg warmers, tights, etc will absorb water and become heavy and chafing. They will also keep the water on your legs thus cooling them down. You lose on all fronts! What you want to do is keep the water off of your legs. If it is cold, put on some suitably warm embrocation, and then slather up your legs in vasoline, wipe down the excess and you are good to go. The vasoline insulates your legs and sheds water like Julia Roberts sheds her husbands! If it's warm, skip the embrocation and go straight to the vasoline.

6. Your crotch and inner thighs -- often overlooked but important in wet conditions. Make sure you use something (bag balm, vasoline, whatever) to avoid any rainwater chafing between your body, your shorts and the saddle in this area... man or woman, trust me on this one.

There you have it...

Good luck racing!


A+

Philippe
 

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philippec said:
I race about 30% of my races in the wet -- northern France is not known for it's sunny climate!

So here's the drill as passed on by my coach from his coach from his coach ... etc, since time immemorial....

1. Whatever the conditions, ditch the waterproof helmet cover. If you are racing, your head will be plenty warm w/ a cycling cap under your helmet (even though most heat escapes through the head, your head should stay warm b/c you will be generating so much heat). The cap also has the advantage of protecting your eyes from the downpour (but not the road spray) with its bill.

2. You can put on the booties but just remember they are there for a). warmth and b). to keep your shoes clean. In any sustained downpour, booties will *not* keep your feet dry since water will run in from the top and up from the cleat cut-outs.

3. If it's cold, put on the waterproof gloves -- as long as they are thin and do not impair your tactile sense -- if its warm, ditch the waterproof gloves -- but always ride w/ half-finger gloves.

4. Clear rain jacket -- again, the only purpose a clear rain jacket (or any jacket -- including gore-tex for that matter) serves in *racing* conditions is to keep you warm. You *will* be wet no matter what. If you wear the jacket, you will be warm(ish) and wet from your own sweat, if you don't wear the jacket, you will be wet and possibly cold if it is cool out or if you are going downhill for some long stretches. Make your own decision based on the number and length of the descents and the temperature. In warm conditions, a simple jersey w/ a base layer and possibly some arm warmers suffices .

5. Legs... most important. In *racing* conditions, you should never cover up your legs when it is wet out (cold, yes, wet -- no!). The knee-warmers, leg warmers, tights, etc will absorb water and become heavy and chafing. They will also keep the water on your legs thus cooling them down. You lose on all fronts! What you want to do is keep the water off of your legs. If it is cold, put on some suitably warm embrocation, and then slather up your legs in vasoline, wipe down the excess and you are good to go. The vasoline insulates your legs and sheds water like Julia Roberts sheds her husbands! If it's warm, skip the embrocation and go straight to the vasoline.

6. Your crotch and inner thighs -- often overlooked but important in wet conditions. Make sure you use something (bag balm, vasoline, whatever) to avoid any rainwater chafing between your body, your shorts and the saddle in this area... man or woman, trust me on this one.

There you have it...

Good luck racing!


A+

Philippe
very good post ;)
 

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Squirrel Hunter
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Great Advice from Philip

velobellagirl said:
What are some good clothing recommendations for wet weather racing? I have a clear plastic jacket, waterproof gloves, waterproof helmet cover and waterproof booties, but I'm wondering if I'm going to cook in this attire.
Remember the goal is to stay warm not dry. Wear all the stuff you race and you will be soaking wet from your own sweat because the waterproof stuff does not allow for venilation. When planning my attire for a race I dress as if it is 10 degrees warmer than if I was training. For instance if it is 45 degrees out I dress as if I was going on a 55 degree training ride.

Clear plastic jacket - great for keeping your torso warm and dry the trouble is that even with the mesh on the sides there is not enough ventialtion and you end up soaking in your own sweat. Here is my tip for the day - cut off the sleeves so you have a short sleeve rain jacket and use arm warmers to keep your arms warm. The short sleeves provide enough added ventilation when combined with the adjustible velcro front to keep you from getting soaked with sweat. Without the sleeves the jacket fits in your pocket better and is easier to put on and take off while riding. Better than a vest because it is waterproof and the long tail helps keep your butt (and chamois) from getting soaked.

Waterproof helmet cover - No. Get yourself a traditional cycling cap. Keeps your head warm enough and the small bill is great for keeping rain and more importantly grit out of your eyes. This is about the only article of clothing where the dreaded cotton warning is not applicable as you are generating plenty of heat. Add something warmer if it is truly cold outside.

Waterproof booties - get some wool socks that are not too thick. The wool keeps you warm and if they are not too thick they do not become a sponge.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Do you have a recommendation on a warm embrocation? I've used Unconmed's Salsa, but it was way too hot for my legs at the end of my ride. I was in dire pain in the shower trying to remove it!
 

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dr. dawn richardson writing on velonews.com recently implied that warming cream is pretty much a crock. http://www.velonews.com/train/articles/9344.0.html

Skin care, heat balm and keeping covered
I'm old and grumpy enough to observe two recent skin-care fads in cold weather cycling that I find puzzling and medically counterintuitive. The first is bare legs in the snow. I was a junior back when disco was king and all we had to go by was the CONI (Italian Olympic Committee) cycling manual. The good book strictly forbade riding in bare legs below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. These are words to live by, even with the bad English translation. Your skin can only do so much temperature regulation. Cold, bare legs make it harder for your body to maintain core temperature and prevent hypothermia.

Second and even stupider in my opinion are vasodilating balms in a misguided effort to keep bare legs warm when underdressed. By using heat balms you are dilating the blood vessels, thus losing more core temperature. The physiological response to cold exposure is restricting blood flow to the skin and extremities to preserve core temperature. Heat balms to bare cold legs do the opposite and further threaten core temperature. Cold hands and feet and rapidly worsening brain function means you are underdressed, not that you should slap on more wintergreen and capzasin oil and accelerate core hypothermia. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Hypothermia doesn't make you manly and it sure as heck won't win a race.



Vegancx said:
Words of wisdom from Mark McCormack:

"If it's cold wear warmahs, if it's wet, embrocate"

He's the man.
 

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yes -- thin wool socks

Keeping up with Junior said:
Waterproof booties - get some wool socks that are not too thick. The wool keeps you warm and if they are not too thick they do not become a sponge.
good advice -- Wool keeps you warm when wet.

A+

Philippe
 

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team_sheepshead said:
dr. dawn richardson writing on velonews.com recently implied that warming cream is pretty much a crock. http://www.velonews.com/train/articles/9344.0.html

Skin care, heat balm and keeping covered
I'm old and grumpy enough to observe two recent skin-care fads in cold weather cycling that I find puzzling and medically counterintuitive. The first is bare legs in the snow. I was a junior back when disco was king and all we had to go by was the CONI (Italian Olympic Committee) cycling manual. The good book strictly forbade riding in bare legs below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. These are words to live by, even with the bad English translation. Your skin can only do so much temperature regulation. Cold, bare legs make it harder for your body to maintain core temperature and prevent hypothermia.

Second and even stupider in my opinion are vasodilating balms in a misguided effort to keep bare legs warm when underdressed. By using heat balms you are dilating the blood vessels, thus losing more core temperature. The physiological response to cold exposure is restricting blood flow to the skin and extremities to preserve core temperature. Heat balms to bare cold legs do the opposite and further threaten core temperature. Cold hands and feet and rapidly worsening brain function means you are underdressed, not that you should slap on more wintergreen and capzasin oil and accelerate core hypothermia. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Hypothermia doesn't make you manly and it sure as heck won't win a race.
Two things struck me when reading this.

The first is that anyone who says that "I'm old and grumpy enough to observe two <b>recent!</b> skin-care fads in cold weather cycling " as D. Richardson does is not old enough to be speaking about the topic and/or has their head up their wazoo. Using embrocation is <i>anything</i> but recent! My coach is pushing his late-50's and the ex-head coach who is still around is well into his 80's and using embrocation was already old news when they were still on training wheels! In fact, I sometimes doubt the efficacy of using embrocation but the smell of camphor and rosemary oil are so linked to the pre-race ritual here that just a whif gets me psyched for the race to come -- that's got to count for something! Furthermore we are not talking about *cold* training rides (as referenced in the CONI manual, but about what to do for *wet* and possibly cold *racing* conditions --when it is wet *and* cold, I think your legs will be warmer with the embrocation/vasoline treatment than w/ sodden lycra.

But onto the efficacy -- like I said, I sometimes doubt whether the creams have an impact (I have *no doubts* about the efficacy of the vasoline in wet conditions, however!) but it seems to me that rather than be worried about core body temp. (your core will be pumping out so much heat in race conditions) you should be more worried about blood flow and irrigation of working muscles and tendons in the extremeties -- precisely where warming creams seem to work -- albeit at the surface. More blood flow= greater evacuation and greater warming of vulnerable tendons. That said, the real point is that you should leave your legs uncovered and oiled up in <i> wet</i> and cold conditions -- fabric on the legs+wet+cold=very bad!

My 2-cents

A+

Philippe
 

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velobellagirl said:
Do you have a recommendation on a warm embrocation? I've used Unconmed's Salsa, but it was way too hot for my legs at the end of my ride. I was in dire pain in the shower trying to remove it!
You've got to try a few and go with what you like and/or can handle. The best is if you have a few different creams with different strengths. I use Musclor which I don't think is sold in the States. It has 3 strengths and uses a camphor /rosemary oil mix which I find smells nicer than the camphor only creams. Also, make sure you have a small hand-towel and something to remove the stuff in your race bag -- I use lavender cologne water to get the stuff off right after the race before the *ahem* podium call (well, it has happened before!) Also -- needless to say, never, ever get the stuff on any of your privates!

A+

Philippe
 

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philippec said:
You've got to try a few and go with what you like and/or can handle. The best is if you have a few different creams with different strengths. I use Musclor which I don't think is sold in the States. It has 3 strengths and uses a camphor /rosemary oil mix which I find smells nicer than the camphor only creams. Also, make sure you have a small hand-towel and something to remove the stuff in your race bag -- I use lavender cologne water to get the stuff off right after the race before the *ahem* podium call (well, it has happened before!) Also -- needless to say, never, ever get the stuff on any of your privates!

A+

Philippe
has anyone tried Greyhound?
 

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Whatever you do, DO NOT wear tights. Tried it one rainy practice crit back in college. The wet flapping against my shins was disconcerting.

At most, wear (short) knee warmers and deal with the rest.

One of my favorite peices of gear is the plastic bag that the comix/etc are wrapped in from the Sunday paper. Slide it under yer jersey and voila! instant vest. This at least cuts the soaking thru from the spray down some, tho you WILL be wet.

One other tip that I learned long ago: don't ride directly behind the rider in front of you in the rain. Stay off to one side or the other and let the spray go past you as much as poss.

HTH,

M
 

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good stuff.

one other suggestion, instead of vasoline, is baby oil. that's what we put on top of embrocation in scottish races - far from dry, and far from warm ;)


philippec said:
5. Legs... most important. In *racing* conditions, you should never cover up your legs when it is wet out (cold, yes, wet -- no!). The knee-warmers, leg warmers, tights, etc will absorb water and become heavy and chafing. They will also keep the water on your legs thus cooling them down. You lose on all fronts! What you want to do is keep the water off of your legs. If it is cold, put on some suitably warm embrocation, and then slather up your legs in vasoline, wipe down the excess and you are good to go. The vasoline insulates your legs and sheds water like Julia Roberts sheds her husbands! If it's warm, skip the embrocation and go straight to the vasoline.
 

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Good posts here

Keeping up with Junior said:
Remember the goal is to stay warm not dry. Wear all the stuff you race and you will be soaking wet from your own sweat because the waterproof stuff does not allow for venilation. When planning my attire for a race I dress as if it is 10 degrees warmer than if I was training. For instance if it is 45 degrees out I dress as if I was going on a 55 degree training ride.

Clear plastic jacket - great for keeping your torso warm and dry the trouble is that even with the mesh on the sides there is not enough ventialtion and you end up soaking in your own sweat. Here is my tip for the day - cut off the sleeves so you have a short sleeve rain jacket and use arm warmers to keep your arms warm. The short sleeves provide enough added ventilation when combined with the adjustible velcro front to keep you from getting soaked with sweat. Without the sleeves the jacket fits in your pocket better and is easier to put on and take off while riding. Better than a vest because it is waterproof and the long tail helps keep your butt (and chamois) from getting soaked.

Waterproof helmet cover - No. Get yourself a traditional cycling cap. Keeps your head warm enough and the small bill is great for keeping rain and more importantly grit out of your eyes. This is about the only article of clothing where the dreaded cotton warning is not applicable as you are generating plenty of heat. Add something warmer if it is truly cold outside.

Waterproof booties - get some wool socks that are not too thick. The wool keeps you warm and if they are not too thick they do not become a sponge.
I agree with both you and Phillippe. I live in the Pacific NW and I have done more than my fair share of wet racing. The important thing to remember is warmth, forget about staying dry.

In general, unless it is really cold (5 Celsius or 40 F and lower) I don't even consider the rain jacket. It is just too warm. I prefer to layer up, I might use a LS polypro undershirt then a LS jersey and then a wind vest on a very cold and rainy day. An alternative to the wind vest is a windproof undershirt. The important thing is not too let your chest get chilled on descents and/or windy sections.

For gloves, I usually wear a full-finger Defeet cotton if it is not too cold, otherwise I'll choose something a little more insulating. In the rain I will wear the Defeet gloves until about 15 Celsius (60 F) before I switch to a half-finger glove. But my hands are sensitive to the cold, more so than most people. I attribute it to a childhood and early adult life spend on the prairies of Canada, and having had a few bouts of frostbite.

For the feet, I am in the same boat as my hands, they are often cold! I prefer a wool-blend sock, the Defeet Wool-E-Ator is my favorite for wet weather riding. I like them because they are not significantly thicker than a regular Defeet sock and therefore they do not take up extra space in the shoe. Have a little room in the shoes helps with warmth. In terms of shoe covers, I'll use a thin neoprene bootie or lycra bootie depending on temperature. Using heavy booties generally does not make my feet warmer during racing, and the additional weight once they are wet certainly hinders. Big wet booties are rotational weight.

Under the helmet, cotton cap. End of story.

For the legs, I prefer the bare legs with heavy embrocation if it is wet. Despite the claims by Dawn Richardson that embrocation does not do much to warm the muscles, the heavy stuff like Sportbalm Hot acts like a water-repellent on the skin. Just remember to bring some alcohol and an old facecloth to clean up the dirty mess afterwards. I might use knee warmers if it is really cold, but definitely not leg warmers or tights. The water will just weight them down and also the seams and elastic grippers can chafe and irritate the skin.

On the facecloth theme, it is a good idea to bring a thermos of warm/hot water and a couple of towels. That way you can clean up your face for the podium!
 

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Warmup oil from a company like Sixtus is amazing on your legs and keeps them warm and water just runs of it like water on the hood of a freshly waxed car. Plus it smells like you are a Pro and it initimidates the competition.
:)

Herbert
Litespeed
 
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