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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thank god winter is over, especially here in the Midwest. It was brutal. Looking back, I definitely need to reconsider my gear for the 2019/2020 winter season. I'm kind of at a loss for how you deal with cold, wet conditions specifically. The last race I did was an 80 mile and I had to bail at 35 because I was soaked to the bone and freezing to death. There were quite a few finishers, so I know the gear exists to deal with this stuff...

What I was wearing:
Under Armor shirt with a thermal and NorthFace jacket over the top
Pair of lined riding pants that I thought were waterproof
Specialized Element gloves
Balaclava
Endura shoe covers... again, these are supposed to be waterproof

This gear setup worked really well for dealing with the cold all through winter, but once you throw water into the mix it went south very quickly. My core and head were toasty warm, along with my legs. The leg portion of my pants worked well to shed water, but my ass got completely soaked and went numb from being cold. My shoe covers and gloves are supposed to be waterproof, but I dumped about a liter of water out of each shoe when I finally got back to the race barn. My gloves had also soaked through.

What kind of stuff are you guys wearing to combat these conditions? Here is a pic from the race so you can see what I was dealing with (race was in the northern Kansas Flint Hills).

Winter Helmet Recreation Freezing Endurance sports
 

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Wanna ride bikes?
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In the worst of conditions no shoe covers will do. You need proper winter boots. 45NRTH or Lake are the only boots I would buy.

Endura makes good stuff but shoe covers are not a replacement for proper boots. I like Endura's pants, jackets, etc.

I use Bar Mitts for my hands, surprisingly simple and effective.
 

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passed out in your garden
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Riding will keep your feet dryer ;-)

Have to agree covers are a stop gap measure, proper winter boots are a great investment
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've looked into proper winter boots, but wasn't sure how well those would work as far as being waterproof. I know they are super warm, but the ones I have looked at seem like they could have a lot of water infiltration. I need to research more.

As for walking, I was massively over geared for the flint hills (that bike is a single speed)... I won't be making that mistake again lol
 

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passed out in your garden
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Keep in mind waterproof boots can be useless without rain pants (or similar), water runs down your legs into your boots, waterproof boots dont let water in or out, l found out the hard way
 

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asshole roadie
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You could check out waterproof hiking socks. I've never used them, but my hiking buddy says they're the bees knees.

I have a pair of Lake winter boots, and they're reasonably water resistant, but I still get soaked in a good rain. If it's nasty, I'll usually have a pair of chemical warmers under my toes, so it hasn't been a problem for me.

YMMV, but other than my chest when it's actively raining, I avoid waterproof anything. I sweat massively, so anything that traps sweat/moisture against my skin only ends up hurting me.

It's a lot to pay for a base layer, but I can't recommend the Craft long sleeve base layer with windstopper fabric highly enough. It's a full front panel of windproof fabric with the rest all being thermal/moisture wicking. I've had one going on 8 seasons and it's my go-to when it's 30F or below, anything above that and it's overkill.

Another vote for Bar Mitts. They're weird to get used to, since it feels like your hands are trapped. But you can get away with wearing much lighter gloves, which I like because my hands tend to cramp when wearing big thick winter gloves.

Below 45F, I always wear a neck gaiter that I can easily pull up over my nose or pull down under my chin, depending on if I'm climbing or cruising, to keep my glasses from fogging. Pace sportwear makes a merino cap that has flaps that cover the ears and upper neck. I love these. On longer rides, or wet rides, I'll throw my 2nd set of each (gaiter and cap) in my jersey pocket and swap out the wet ones halfway through. It's a hell of a morale booster on a nasty ride.
 

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Mtn Biker Machinist
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Everything that’s been said is spot on. Good waterproof boots, pants, socks are critical. Bar mitts are great in the cold. A good base layer, also helps a ton.

I will add fenders. I finally broke down and bought some this winter for my gravel bike, & they were a game changer. Not getting sprayed from both ends makes a big difference in comfort over the course of a long wet ride.


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I will add fenders. I finally broke down and bought some this winter for my gravel bike, & they were a game changer. Not getting sprayed from both ends makes a big difference in comfort over the course of a long wet ride.
I LOVED my fenders until a branch got caught between the spokes and fender struts. It brought me to a quick stop and wrecked the fenders.
I choose not to buy new fenders (risk vs. dryer feet).
 

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It's a lot to pay for a base layer, but I can't recommend the Craft long sleeve base layer with windstopper fabric highly enough. It's a full front panel of windproof fabric with the rest all being thermal/moisture wicking. I've had one going on 8 seasons and it's my go-to when it's 30F or below, anything above that and it's overkill.
I second the Craft windstopper base layer. They are the bees knees and I can wear just that baselayer + fleece arm warmers and a jersey into the upper 20s without issue and I'll wear it up into the low 50s. The windstopper boxers are great for keeping the dangly bits from freezing as well.
 

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I swear by my 45Nrth Japanther winter boots/shoes. As a guy who has cold feet issues, these boots with a mid-weight wool sock are toasty down to single digits and manage to keep snow and moisture out. They don't make them anymore, which sucks so I hope these last me a while.

I've been using a variety of base and mid layers (mostly Patagucci Capilene) with a rain shell. I picked up a insulated Race Face jacket for next season so that should offer better ergonomics. I'm also using a variety of ski gloves instead of going the bar mitt route. I also keep an extra dry pair in my pack.
 

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asshole roadie
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Can you educate me on windproof/windstopper base layers? (I do not mean to offend, I just do not understand):
I think it must be best to have the windproof layer outermost and then some good layers underneath to transfer moist and insulate?
For me, it's about minimizing the number of layers and managing sweat. The more layers I add, the less effective they are at wicking away sweat. If you sweat like I do, that's important. Also doesn't help that I haven't met a windproof outer shell that I liked, so a lot of it is personal preference.

The other benefit, IMO, is having a windproof layer snug next to my skin eliminates cold air infiltration. The downside is that it's so effective, I have to be pretty careful about the temperature forecast before I dress since I can't shed an outer layer as easily as you can.
 
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