Coaches Corner 47 - Tough workout tips, riding in the cold, best workout time


Check out the new podcast episode!

  • How to get through tough rides/races/workouts - mental tips
  • Early morning vs. night workouts
  • Riding in cold weather - gear and fueling
    and more!


Good one coaches! Since I live in Minnesota if I never rode outdoors when temperatures went below 50 degrees I would have a very short outdoor season! I have biked in -10 air temp and -15 windchill when I was 40 and not as smart as I am now. These days I draw the line at single digits. These cold rides are also short commutes to work (under 10 miles), not long pleasure rides. Depending on the company, 30 degrees is my cutoff for a longer ride.

Also, at camp, y’all should play some beet juice drinking games :rofl:


Stefanie, I would rather drink used toilet water.


Cold weather riding.

So, I am one of those crazy people who ride outside all year round. Some of my favourite riding takes place in the winter. I live in coastal New England , so I am treated to freezing temperatures and wind whipping off the Atlantic ocean. As we say here, there is no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing choices.

Here are some of my helpful hints for winter/cold/ wet weather riding.

  1. This ain’t no fashion show. Layer up and use what you have. You don’t need to spend a fortune. You don’t need your outfit to match. Expect your cold and storm weather equipment to get beaten up. Decent cold weather gear is not cheap but you will get many seasons out of it. Ski goggles are great for winter/sleet and snow riding. Actually a lot of clothing for cross country skiing makes great biking gear. I buy non padded tights and wear over my cycling bibs.
  2. Base layers are important. I have both light and medium weight wool base layers (icebreaker and smartwool brands). Both will keep you warm and protected even if damp. Other base layers include sock liners for inside wool socks, glove liners for inside insulated gloves. I have a wool buff that I use as a neck and face warmer and head warmer for those in between temps where a winter cycling cap is too warm but its too cold for no head wear.
  3. Keep those fingers and toes warm and dry. A couple good pair of cycling gloves (lobster claw, and finger). I have liners for gloves and shoes. I also use those chemical hand and foot warmers. They do make waterproof socks which are great for mud and slush. Toe covers and insulated shoe covers for cycling. Plastic shopping bags work to keep feet dry. If you are going to do a ton of cold weather riding and need to stay clipped in, a pair of winter cycling shoes/boots are well worth the price! Me- I change my clipless pedals to flats and use gore-tex hiking or winter boots since its easier to fit wool socks/liners etc. Hiking boots also make hike a bike in frozen weather easier.
  4. Stay dry. Fenders go a long way of not having cold buns. :wink: I have a clip on rear fender. Water-resistant mtb shorts or pants work too.
  5. Stay hydrated. I have had waterbottles and camelback tubes freeze. I actually put warm water in my waterbottles and put them in my camelback. I also keep an extra pair of socks, gloves, winter hat, hand and foot warmers, polartech vest, tools, money and food in my camelback. We bring coffee, hot chocolate or warm cider for the car after.

Also- you should feel cool when starting. You do not want to overheat. Most people wear too much. I mostly mountain bike in the winter, so my deep winter outfit looks like this
Head: cycling cap (bontrager winter cap), glasses/goggles, buff neck warmer
Top: wool baselayer, long sleeve insulated jersey (one is wind-proof in front), wind vest, winter cycling gloves. ( I usually add the liners into the gloves about half way through the ride)
Bottom: padded cycling shorts, cycling tights, wool socks (and liners +/or toe warmers) and hiking boots

Finally- Hunter orange. Much of our mountain biking is on multi use trails, where hunting is also permissible.


If you don’t want to deal with a cap and a neck warmer, a balaclava is a groovy thing to have. It protects head, ears, face and neck and you look like you are up to no good.

I second the snow/hiking boots. Also, when it is snowing/really windy/ single digits fahrenheit I add snow pants to my ensemble.