Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Gear

I'm long over due on this post, my family and friends have been asking for a rundown on the gear that makes my winter travels possible for a few weeks now...

I'm going to blame the overall delay on being in a snow coma :-)

Anyways, below is a listing of the winter gear and apparel that's been keeping me sane over the past twelve weeks!

Smart Wool Socks:

My husband is a firm believer in smart wool and he has converted me to the cause.  The price point is a little high, but having a few pairs to rotate between when it's cold outside is a must.

When I need to up the toastiness of my foot apparel, I will add a set of the toe specific chemical warmers to work in conjunction with my socks.

Next year, I really want to bring in the big dogs and invest in a pair of these little devils.  I'm not normally one to crave designer shoes, but these Fasterkatts really make my heart skip a beat!

Lobster Mitts!

My hands tend to sweat a lot when my core temperature rises.  I like switching between a wind resistant long fingered glove paired with moose mitts and my (husbands) Pearl Izumi Lobster Mitts.

I actually have the normal full fingered version of these gloves, while my husband has the lobster version.  I usually try to wear mine, but when he's not looking I do tend to use his lobster version instead.  The bulkiness of the full fingered version doesn't seem to work as well as the lobsters.

Pearl Izumi Amphib Tights:

I have an older version of these tights.  The newer style has a comfort waistband that I feel is a great addition.

The current pair that I've been riding in are the exact amount of protection I need for most winter rides.  During the extreme temperatures I've been using a pair of Sierra Designs rain pants as a second  layer against the wind.

Throughout the winter this combination has been effective to keep me warm, but the rain pants haven't held up well for the day to day rides.  Next year I'm going to budget for a newer version of these pants and possibly a snow style pull over pant that's intended for commuting purposes.

Bontrager Softshell Mountain Bike Jacket:

When I originally selected this jacket I liked that it looked more like an everyday jacket so that I can use it both on and off the bike.

I didn't originally intend to wear it as an everyday winter jacket, but it' has just enough wind protection to provide me with the warmth I need on the road.

On sub zero days, I've paired it up with two thermal base layers and found that that is enough to keep me warm but not completely drenched in sweat.

It doesn't look like this version is currently available from Bontrager anymore, but they do have a few newer options that could work just as well!

The benefit of the beanie is that it's thin enough to fit comfortably under my helmet, especially since I have a bit of a fat head.

The stretchy material allows for me to pull down the hat over my ears and it stays in place (most of my normal winter hats tend to ride up after awhile).

Bontrager Neck Gaiter:

This neck Gaiter was a late addition to my winter ride gear but the more I use it the more I love it!

It keeps the cold air from creeping down my jacket collar and also allows me the flexibility of pulling it over my chin and nose.

Since I'm a huge fan of fun colors, I'm a big fan that it's available in something other then just black!

Bontrager Long Sleeve Hood Baselayer:

When I originally ordered this Baselayer, I liked that it really looks like a normal pullover shirt.  I've worn it everyday throughout this winter and have found that it's handled the repeat washing without issue.

The thumb hole sleeves allow you to tuck your  sleeves completely into your gloves to help prevent the cold air from creeping in and the hood zips up into a balaclava to allow for extra protection.  This feature has been particularly handy on commutes where I thought just a beanie was enough but got out on the road and realized the wind was a bit more bitter then anticipated.

March Is Here!

February has come and gone in a blur of snow, cold and smelly base layers.

Now that we're working our way into March I'm looking forward to some milder temperatures and exposed pavement :-)

The high points of February included my husband and I celebrating our one year wedding anniversary (yeah)!  A very special ladies night at the bike shop and two fat bike races.

Somewhere in the middle of that I came down with an epic flu that knocked me out for an entire week and left me a sad sack in bed.

Apparently a steady diet of inhaling sub zero temperatures eventually leads to a head cold and the inability to start a sentence without having to clear your throat first.

There's less then four months left until prime race season and it makes me giddy with excitement to think that it's so close.
For now...I'm content putting in the rides and enjoying the sunrise and sunsets that come with a polar vortex.