Shake Down Ride 2 – Cold Front

The cold front I have been waiting for to be able to test cold weather clothing has arrived. Just in time to allow testing and it seems it will move out just in time to have a lovely mild weather race. Temperature at 5am this morning was 0C with RealFeel of -6C and a bit of a breeze.

I am pleased to report everything worked perfectly other than my toes that were cold, I am going to use hand warmers to heat them if necessary.

  • Head. Buff on head and ears with a second Buff around neck. Perfect.
  • Body. Halley Hansen, T-shirt, Polaris Vortex, First Ascent wind shell. Perfect, almost too warm.
  • Legs. Bib, old Indola Sani2C baggie, First Ascent spandex leg warmers. Perfect.
  • Hands. Sealskinz split finger. Too warm. Then tried normal long finger gloves with thin First Ascent fleeze inners. Perfect.
  • Feet. Sealskinz socks. Worked well but toes got cold after an hour. Add hand warmers to shoes.
  • Added waterproof shell pants. Perfect for snow, rain, too warm for -6C.
  • Didn’t try rain shell, too warm.
  • Shoes. Normal summer riding shoes. My Shimano MT71 Goretex shoes have not arrived from Evans Cycles so I’m going at risk with the normal shoes & banking on Sealskinz socks and the sun to address cold toes. It’ll work just fine.

Perspective. I was not the only cyclist out at before dark, I saw several other labourers on their bicycles, generally warmly dressed but not with famous brands and sophisticated brands. They were all friendly even though they did stare a bit. One gentleman had no gloves, bare hands. So for the last 2km of my ride, I took off all the shell layers and my gloves to feel what his hands felt like, it was freezing, my hands were aching. I will also dedicate my R2R ride to these tough souls who are out there every day doing what we regard as occasional and special adventure. I lift my hat to you today!

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Gloves

Picked up this pair of odd looking Sealskinz gloves from Alex Harris yesterday and test rode them last night at Modderfontein Trials, temperature dipping to 7C (bit too warm for these so it felt like a nice oven).

In addition I’ll have a pair of First Ascent inner fleece gloves and normal long finger riding gloves. Hopefully this collection will suffice to protect my soft office keyboard conditioned paws.

6/6. Cold front is here and -6C RealFeel at 5am so time to test. Rode Sealskinz without inners (as per Alex Harris’s recommendation) and they were superb, almost too warm. Then took them off & used normal long fingers with fleece inners to get a perspective. They were fine but not as warm as the Sealskinz. Then I took all gloves off for last 2km, it was freezing! Gloves sorted, I’ll have warm hands at R2R 🙂

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Footwear

Cycling, wading though ice cold rivers & hiking in snow are not normally associated. Unless you find yourself in the Freedom Trail. On recommendation and looking at many photos from the event, it appears Goretex shoes and waterproof socks are popular choices by experienced participants … so I followed suit.

My Shimano MT71 Goretex shoes and Sealskinz Thick Mid Length socks arrived from Evans Cycles this week. Still to be tested in bad weather. A foot strategy … who’d have thought.

18/5 Note 1: Lovely shoes except the size 44 is too tight a fit. Shoes are being returned for a refund.

23/5 Note 2: Size 45 ordered from Evans Cycles, let’s hope better luck this time round.

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