Looking out the window confirms what Metcheck is currently telling me. It’s wet and it’s likely to be wet for a few more days yet. Rather than succumb to a bout of totally justified moaning about the weather, I’m wondering how best to combat it.
Talking to Mark from the The Bike Tech the other night he’s pinning his hopes on it stopping raining and getting colder over the next few weeks. He may be right, after all we’ve had a stupid amount of water on our heads recently so maybe it’s going to dry off for a while. But at this stage it seems the idea of cold frozen trails is a bit of a leap too far for me.
Sunday’s ride brought home to me how important it is to dress properly for the conditions. My favoured winter set up is not massively different from summer – in fact, last winter I rode nearly all of it in baggies and knee pads (which do keep your knees lovely and warm by the way). On top I wear my Gore Phantom II jacket—possibly the best single piece of MTB clothing I’ve ever bought—and layer up underneath with an Embers merino base layer and if it’s really cold a slightly thicker micro fleece I originally bought for skiing.
It works pretty well for keeping out the cold, with winter gloves and SealSkinz socks. But it’s not a great solution to persistent rain. In extremis I opt for my Endura biblongs which adds another layer of warmth to my torso and lower back and keeps the muck and wet off my legs. I find with the tights going over the SealSkinz I’ve effectively sealed off a route for water to enter my socks.
What does everyone else do? Are winter boots really worth it and is a full waterproof jacket a boon for monsoon but overkill elsewhere? At the moment I’m thinking Defeet Woolie Boolie socks is a good start.