Thursday, November 18, 2010

Winter Clothing Guide Special (part 1)

Some folks have been asking about how I dress as the temperatures starts to drop. It seems each year I always come back to my same good old clothing guide, which I now have permanently planted on the side bar. Dressing for the cold is like the black arts, you can follow the recipe but you have to tweak it for your own person to make it work.

I've turned into a bit of a gear whore over the last year. Mainly stemming from my position as a buyer for the Midwest Trek Stores and If it goes on your body there's a pretty good chance I sourced it and tested it. This is some of the stuff I've bought for myself and how I plan to use it this upcoming winter. Some of it you can find in our stores or online, if not, we can get it.

Embrocation - You've all heard us talking about it. Last season I used Ozone Elite warming gel, this year I've upgraded to Mad Alchemy. I've got both the Mellow and Medium blends. Mellow will be used for temps above 40, Medium for temps below. This stuff is the magic sauce as it lets you get away with wearing less bulky clothing. So yes, somedays I'll put it on with tights or leg/knee warmers on top. Somedays I'll even put it on my hands and feet.

Speaking of hands and feet. This year I'm upgrading. My ten little piggies will be nestled inside a fresh pair of Bontrager RXL booties or a pair of Capo belgium booties (white of course). I'm really looking forward to trying the RXL's, my 1989 Cannondale neoprene covers finally bit the dust last winter. Anyway the RXL's have a super fleecy inside that will create a nice air space for insulation and the rubberized outer coating, with silicone gripper cuff will keep the wet stuff out. The belgium booty is basically just a cordura sock that fits over your shoe, it's really all you need if it's above 40-45 degrees, plus they give you the full on euro look. I also have some 15 year old Sidi winter MTB boots that I use for off-road and gravel. They are one size larger than I would usually wear so I can stuff a double layer of wool socks inside and not pinch off blood flow.

For the hands I've gone with the Castelli Pioggia winter glove for sub 45 degree temps and the Castelli Super Nano glove for temps above 45. I'll probably end up riding in the Super Nano glove into the high 30's but like I mentioned above, with a little bit of embro, just don't wipe your face when you stop for that mid-ride Snickers.

Headwear - One word, Risvolto. You need the Castelli Risvolto winter cycling cap. The polypropylene terry cloth inside keeps you toasty warm. When the temps are above 40 I use the winter helmet liner in my Giro Ionos, rarely do my ears ever get cold, but if yours do, pick up a Pearl Izumi skull cap to keep them covered.

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