Monday, October 5, 2009

Dressing for the fall

Every year around this time, I get a lot of questions from athletes about what to wear on rides. In summer, it is pretty easy for the most part. Jersey and bibs, maybe a base layer, a rain cape and cap if it's raining. Out the door in 5 minutes. On the other end of the spectrum, dressing for cold winter days might be time consuming, but it is pretty simple: wear the warmest stuff you have: winter tights, winter jacket, winter gloves, balaclava... maybe even some hand warmers or heated insoles.

Fall and spring seem to be a little trickier. What do we wear if it is 45 at the start of the ride but it's going to be 65 at the end? Or how about if it's 60 degrees with scattered showers? Wear too little and we risk at least a miserable ride and at worst getting sick. Wear too much and we overheat, which leads to lost power, dehydration, and feeling really cold when we start riding again after a rest stop. Yet we can't prepare for every contingency either. We only have so many pockets in our jersey and we don't want to weighed down by a bunch of clothing that we won't wear or that we will take off in the first 5 minutes.

The simple act of dressing yourself to go riding on some days can be a daunting enough task to keep many riders indoors on what I consider to be some of the nicest weather of the year. So, with the aim of helping you get outside and enjoy the fall weather, here are some tips:

1. Check This may sound like a no brainer, but the weather changes fast in the spring and fall, so it's important to check the weather often. Now, with 24 hour weather TV stations, weather apps for our iPhones, and desktop weather on our computers, there's really no excuse for knowing what the weather is going to be. Always look at the hourly schedule, because what it's like now may not be what its going to be like in 2 hours. If you have the freedom to schedule workouts at different times, you can use these tools to make sure that you ride during the nicest times of the day.

2. Use removable clothing. If the weather changes quickly, wear clothes that can be easily removed, placed in your back pocket, and put back on again if needed. A pair of knee warmers, a pair of arm warmers and a wind vest are the 3 most important articles of clothing you will have for the fall.

3. Dress in layers. Wearing many light layers instead of one or two heavy layers ensures that sweat will wick away from your body, which keeps you from overheating, and in turn freezing when you start riding again after a rest stop. Always wear a wicking base layer in the fall and winter as your first layer. There are many different options with base layers: some are lighter, some are heavier, some have wind block material, some have sleeves. Ideally, it is nice to have a few options, but start with the basics.

4. Factor in rain and wet roads. If the forecast is for scattered showers and you are riding, chances are high that you will get wet. Even if it never rains on you, you are bound to ride on some wet roads and have water spray up at you off of your wheels or the wheels of others that you are riding with. It may look silly, but a simple fender over your back wheel can keep your butt clean and dry on days like this. Anyone riding behind you will appreciate it too!

If you need to gear up for fall and winter riding, stop by Cadence and ask to speak with any of our retail associates. We are fully stocked with Assos, Castelli, Capo, Rapha and Zoot, and we'll have you ready to ride in any conditions.

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