How to enjoy a 100km endurance ride in winter conditions
Riding your bike in the cold winter is tough, even for a short distance. No wonder many of us flee into virtual rides on platforms like Zwift.
However, a long endurance ride in the winter can feel amazing, with the right equipment and some best practices. Here is what I learned over the years that works for me.
Invest in proper clothing
To find clothes that keep you REALLY warm at 0 degrees is not easy. Personally I found pure satisfaction with Gore products. Their products are not cheap, but you can be sure you'll get what they promise. There are for sure other brands with a similar quality, but in any case you want to consider premium products. Here is the gear I currently wear for the most important parts:
- Gloves: C5 GORE-TEX Thermo Gloves, the first ones I bought that keep my fingers super warm even after 5 hours plus allow me to use my Di2 shifting without hassle
- First layer: M GORE® WINDSTOPPER® Base Layer Thermo L/S Shirt, truly amazing quality, it drys quick and wears super comfortable
- Top layer: Torrent Jacket Mens, it is so light you cannot believe it keeps you warm, but it does! (of course with the right layering)
- Over shoes: SHIELD THERMO OVERSHOES, surprisingly easy to get them on and off your shoes and keep your feet warm for hours
Keep your feet warm
Even with the right clothing, I learned that keeping my feet warm is still the most difficult challenge, even with over shoes. Plus with thicker socks you often struggle to fit your feet into your shoes and it is so tight that it actually makes them freeze faster as there is not enough breathing space.
However there are some tricks to be found on the internet and for me what worked best was to wrap my feet first with either aluminium foil or a plastic bag.
You freeze faster when you sweat. Thus, keep your heart rate low and ride most of the times in your Z1 and Z2. Do your HIIT and other exhausting training indoor, and cruise along in your outdoor winter rides. However, your heart rate should also not drop too low as then the body will start to freeze as well.
Follow the sun
Finally, it makes a HUGE difference if you ride at 0 degrees with the sun or without. It feels instantly much colder and unpleasant without the sun. Thus, look for sunny days and plan your route with a sunny forecast and little wind.
What are your secrets for pleasant winter rides? Do you prefer to ride indoor or outdoor? Let us know in the comments!