Georgia-worlds-2013Racing cyclocross when it’s really cold is tricky. I’m talking below 25 degrees cold. The first races of the day, 8am kinda cold. 

Obviously, you want to dress warm enough to keep your hands and feet functioning as they should but you don’t want to wear so much clothing that it effects your performance.  You don’t want to add a bunch of bulk and weight. On the other hand, with the physical demands of cross, you have to consider the potential for overheating. Overheating means sweating, sweating when it’s 18 degrees is bad, very bad.   

Since Georgia Gould has raced cx in some pretty abysmal conditions and this weekend’s races are looking quite abysmal, we decided to solicit some tips from her.  Her’s what she suggested. 

That’s a tough one- I think it’s really personal preference. I tend to race with way less clothing than lots of other folks. In cx races, when it’s cold, it’s really only my hands and feet that suffer, so that’s what I focus on. Embrocation on feet, wool socks. battery heated gloves. If it’s super cold, I’ll wear leg warmers and an undershirt. I focus on staying warm in the warm-up, then take off extra layers right before the race. Trainers are great for warming up on super cold days. Also don’t neglect hydration. You can get pretty dehydrated without realizing it when it’s cold out, so I like to keep a big thermos of peppermint tea with honey in it on hand at cold races.

I would add, if you’re warming up on the trainer either be very careful to not get hot and sweaty or wear different kit. Standing at the startline in a cold sweaty chamois is no beuno. 
So what do you do on race day?
Layer down for a good trainer warm-up, layer up for your trip to the start grid, layer back down right before go time.  For the race, focus on your hands, feet and head.  The sport of cyclocross will take care of keeping your core warm.