Nation's Tri blog

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Last week Guest Blogger Matias Palavecino spoke about some ideal indoor cycling workouts. This week we felt it appropriate to follow up with some resources for winter outdoors cycling training as well.

For those of us in the East Coast, February has been kind this year with February 18th reaching temperatures in the 70s. However, winter is still here and thus outdoor rides will likely be cooler in the near future. Dressing appropriately for the outdoors is essential to keep up motivation for outdoor training on the bike.

STARTING TIPS

  1. Dress a little cooler than you think; you will start to heat up after 10 minutes.
  2. Know your body, some people can wear less than others due to comfort levels and body temperature regulation. We all know those people who run outdoors in shorts when it is below zero outside… (see photo to the left)
  3. Be prepared to dress up or down – look for easy to take off apparel with accessible zippers and can easily be tucked away in a back pocket.

LAYER

Layering is the most crucial aspect of staying comfortable in the cold weather. You don’t want to be sweating, which will freeze, but you don’t want to be too cold that you will not warm up either.

Base: Craft is a Sweden based company that provides cold weather clothing to many elite athletes such Charlotte Kalla, the 2010 Winter Olympics 10k Cross Country Skiing Gold Medalist. Craft is also the official apparel for The Nation’s Triathlon 2011 due to their outstanding quality in training gear.

The following base layers can be used for running, cycling, and more. They are meant to be worn under any winter gear you already own.  The Pro “Zero” fabric stays in contact with your body, pulling excess moisture away from your skin, while simultaneously keeping you warm. The Pro “Cool” outer fabric allows air to circulate around your body and further promote moisture expulsion.

Women’s Base Layer

Men’s Base Layer

BODY PART ESSENTIALS

Head/Neck – The head and neck are where heat escapes the most quickly. Always be sure to wear a wick-away material and keep both of these areas covered.

Hands –The hands will take the brunt of the wind so keeping these warm, but still free to shift and brake is an important balance. Refer to the Fairbanks Cycling Guide for which type of hand gear to wear depending on the temperature.

Feet – You can purchase booties to cover your cycling shoes. Check your local bike shop, they will most likely carry a pair.

Arms –These are very easy to take off if you overheat, and are perfect for a little extra wind protection. You can often buy these at races or your local bike shop.

Legs  - Comfort is paramount for these limbs. Long rides in uncomfortable bottoms are painful, to say the least. Look for something with antimicrobial chamois to help with chafing.

Women – Look for a gender specific design that utilizes air channels for increased air flow and faster dry times to reduce pressure in delicate areas. Craft’s long bottoms are a good example.

Eyes – Be sure to cover your eyes, a cold headwind will create blurred vision and reduced safety.

SAFETY

Aside from clothing and accessories, do extra research on the following topics before heading out in any terrain that potentially has snow or ice in the path.

Tires – Just like cars, the wider the better in ice/snow

Lighting – This is a MUST in any sketchy outdoor lighting conditions

Bike Lubrication – For the most efficient shifting and breaking

Bike Handling – Also similar to cars, stay relaxed, don’t slam on the brakes and make slight corrections if you feel yourself sliding.

RESOURCES

Craft – Breathe Between The Extremes

Great PDF guide from Fair Banks Cycle Club, an Alaskan Cycling Club containing what specific accessories to wear along with a temperature range guide

Michelle Harburg

Originally a six-day per week runner, Michelle started training for triathlons in 2007 when she realized that she should cross train in order to keep her knees healthy into old age. Since then she has competed in all of the triathlon distances. Michelle is a USA Triathlon level 1 certified coach and has lots of tips on effective training for triathlon. She currently is attending American University for her MBA while working as Program Director for ACHIEVE Kids Tri. ACHIEVE is a free six-week summer camp that teaches at-risk youth fitness, nutrition and health through the sport of triathlon, and ends with a USA Triathlon certified mini-kids race. Her 2011 race schedule includes the National Half Marathon, Miami Olympic Triathlon, New Orleans Half, Ironman Texas, The Washington DC Triathlon and The Nation's Triathlon.