One of the hardest things about racing in summer is the miles you have to put in throughout the winter! Last year was actually my first ‘proper’ winter – basically riding every single weekend without fail, through the minus temperatures.
Unlike running, once you’re cold it’s near enough impossible to warm up! Once you’re damp, you are going to be sat there uncomfortable and freezing for the remainder of your ride!
So in order to get your bum back on that saddle every week and get the miles in the legs, it’s essential to make sure you’ve got the right kit on.
Layers are key – not just one jersey and a big jacket. It’s often the winter jacket’s that don’t look warm which are the warmest, the thin looking ones. Cycling is an expensive sport and it requires you to shell out on some key pieces that aren’t too nice on your bank balance! However, if you work them out on a cost-per-wear basis, then it’s definitely worth it (also more motivation to get out and get your money’s worth!)
I live in my Castelli Gabba jacket, it’s honestly the best purchase (okay, gift) I have ever made. If you follow me on Instagram then it’s that purple number that features in just about EVERY cycling photo! If I could recommend a winter investment, that’s the one!
Shoe covers are your new best friends – cold feet are the worst and unavoidable! I can’t tell you how many rides I have been out on, come back and have been almost crying in pain once the hot shower is ‘defrosting’ my feet! Again with layers, layer up the socks. It’s also a good but strange tip to wrap your feet up in cling film or plastic bags underneath your shoes!
Your feet and hands are the first to get cold, so also invest in a good pair of gloves, and ideally some thin gloves to line them. I personally opt for mountain biking gloves; they seem to be the best for keeping the feeling in your fingers!
Your head is where you loose most heat from, so I always wear a hat or headband underneath my helmet, especially to keep my ears warm and the wind out! A snood is also a great investment; it doubles up as a scarf or a headband.
Finally, it’s mind over matter! Just don’t think about the cold, and definitely don’t dread it before you go out! I always tell myself that the coldest, rainiest and most miserable rides are the ones that really make you better on the bike, not physically but mentally – and cycling or triathlon is all a mental game!
I hope this helps you get out on your bike this winter – but please be sensible on icy days, no ride is worth a broken leg!