Moisture management- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Moisture management

    Yes, there are hundreds of winter clothing threads and I've read them all. I'm posting here because I tend to think SS'ing is a bit more interval training than ... as opposed to being able to manage energy levels with gears.

    I rode twice this weekend and failed. Under 30F with light wind. Saturday I wore my Precip over minimal wicking & got cold after an hour - makes sense: minimal R value. Yesterday was Precip over TNF light fleece over Capilene 2 base. I did fine until an hour in & moisture content overwhelmed. I literally wrung droplets out of the fleece at home. Is there a trick to getting some wind protection without the tent effect? I did have pit zips open. I'm inclined to try a heavier base layer with just fleece or some kind of wool on my next go around. I can throw a Driclime in the pack for backup.

    It took me a long time to realize I need to be cold at the start, but I'm still lacking something.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Layer up, peel & add depending on how you feel during the ride. I abandoned riding with a shell years ago because i would always get soaked with sweat, then frozen solid when I removed it. These days I wear layers of wool and polypro over the core, with extra bits over the wrists and lower legs to keep the hands and feet warm (my biggest challenge). These fabrics breathe well enough, and are wind proof enough when layered. I find that form fitting layers perform more predictably than loose ones. The next challenge is finding a good place to stash the layers while riding...
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  3. #3
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    Yes, you will have to be cold to start which I always hate. The first 15 or 20 minutes always sucks, but after that if you layered right you should be ok. It has taken me a couple seasons, but now I know what to wear based on temps and conditions. One thing that has been great in temps below freezing or with wind chills below freezing is my under armour cold gear base layer. Wicks moisture better then any bike related base layer I have and manages to keep me warm. Throw a wool jersey over this and you would be surprised at how it helps in really cold weather. I never wear a jacket with sleeves- always layers so I can stop and peel if it warms up or at worst a vest with lots of mesh in the back. Somedays are tough because it starts at 24 degrees and warms up to 41 by the end of the ride, but if you use layers you'll be fine - just experiment with different combos and see what works for you.

  4. #4
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    Two major disclaimers- I don't live in a really cold area (32 degrees is cold in Eugene) and I run warm.

    But... I do have some beliefs that we can pretend are based in fact. One is to have wool base layers. Synthetics tend to chill me after I get wet, wool does not and I think making this step will probably turn your rides into something manageable.

    Layers. Typically I warm up fast, so it has to be pouring rain or really cold for me to keep my shell on after five minutes of riding, but having a wool baselayer, a hoodie and a shell will probably cover most of your bases and you can adjust the top two layers to work with your conditions. I also will wear old wool sweaters over the wool base layer and that can be really nioce.

  5. #5
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    All good points, thank you. I also run warm & clearly the sweat is bringing me down. This is also the culprit with my hands & feet sometimes. Before I invest in more wool I will try to double up on the base layers and forgo the tent.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven.c
    All good points, thank you. I also run warm & clearly the sweat is bringing me down. This is also the culprit with my hands & feet sometimes. Before I invest in more wool I will try to double up on the base layers and forgo the tent.
    Get some wool glove liners. Again, I don't wear gloves for long, so this is assuming.

    For feet, there are some threads out there, so do a search. I do know these are on sale: http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...hoe+Cover.aspx

    Even if they are too small for you you might be able to ad hoc something to make them work..

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    Two major disclaimers- I don't live in a really cold area (32 degrees is cold in Eugene) and I run warm.

    But... I do have some beliefs that we can pretend are based in fact. One is to have wool base layers. Synthetics tend to chill me after I get wet, wool does not and I think making this step will probably turn your rides into something manageable.

    Layers. Typically I warm up fast, so it has to be pouring rain or really cold for me to keep my shell on after five minutes of riding, but having a wool baselayer, a hoodie and a shell will probably cover most of your bases and you can adjust the top two layers to work with your conditions. I also will wear old wool sweaters over the wool base layer and that can be really nice.
    Pretty much agree on everything. My last cold ride was Nisene Marks; 40 deg with a 15 mph wind chill. I wore UA underlayer, topped with a Boure LS Thermo jersey, LS Merino wool jersey and a Pearl iZumi shell that is heavily meshed on the back. I also take two pair of gloves (one thin one insulated) so if one gets sweat soaked (as they always do) I can switch to a dry and warmer pair. The reason why wool is such a good insulator is because due to its natural properties, it is one of the only materials known that keeps you warm even if it becomes wet. Also be careful with fleece. Although it's has excellent wicking ability it can not absorb sweat, so it will either transfer the sweat to a fabric that will absorb sweat, or will turn to droplets and eventually soak everything; fleece works best as an outside layer.
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  8. #8
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    Down to 35F: Baggy shorts over bike shorts, with neoprene knee pads. Underarmor with a thicker wicking t-shirt. Elbow pads, camelback, wool socks, and FF helmet. (Yes I ride SS in all of this.)

    35F to 30F: Add a fleece vest

    29F to 25F: Take away fleece vest and add thin long sleeve fleece. Add underarmor tights.

    Less than 25F: Add the fleece vest back.

    I never wear a shell because it just traps too much moisture through condensation. When it's in the 20's, moisture will migrate to the outside of the fleece layers and freeze on the outside.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven.c
    All good points, thank you. I also run warm & clearly the sweat is bringing me down. This is also the culprit with my hands & feet sometimes. Before I invest in more wool I will try to double up on the base layers and forgo the tent.
    I had huge problems with numb fingers and toes...actually I still do. One of the things that has helped with the hands at least were wrist warmers. At first, I repurposed thick hiking socks (cut off the toe section for fingers, and put a hole in the heel for the thumb), but now I use manufactured wrist warmers (Ibex).
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  10. #10
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    I always wear a shell... but it's the Pearl Izumi PRO jacket. It breathes very well but it's expensive. You have to pay to get a shell that works.

  11. #11
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    i live and ride in one of the wettest areas anywhere, year-round.

    all good advice here: layer. re-layer when you're going downhill.

    if you ride for only a few hours, and you know you can keep moving, depend on your own body heat to keep you warm. ride hard early, generate heat. protect extremeties, layer everything else.

    eat to maintain energy and heat.

    stay in motion, or get cold.

  12. #12
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    35 - 45 Tights down below, some kind of wicking base layer & jersey with a softshell vest, normal gloves & heavily vented skullcap with solid earflaps add booties for 30's

    25 - 35 Lycra knickers under Endura Zyme knickers, wicking type jersey under softshell jacket, OR softshellish gloves same skullcap as above & booties

    15 - 25 Same as above but add extra layer up top & a heavier skully along with booties

    0 - 15 Tights under Endura knickers, couple of wicking layers, heavy fleece & softshell or hardshell, leather palmed Burton gloves, heavy skully & booties

    Below zero I don't really have to worry about in Southern New England

  13. #13
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    I find pit zips very ineffective. Try using a zip-up shell, and just modulate the zipper accordingly. A couple inches up or down is usually all it takes.

  14. #14
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    I have had a few rides already this season at -17*C (which = 1*F). I use a Nike DryFit compression fit base layer, a long sleeve cycling jersey and a lightweight jacket. It doesn't take long to warm up and the jacket holds heat but breathes well. Best (and lightest) winter riding combo I have found. I wear the jacket all year around when cycling and it always seems to keep my body at the right temperature.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven.c
    Yesterday was Precip over TNF light fleece over Capilene 2 base. I did fine until an hour in & moisture content overwhelmed. I literally wrung droplets out of the fleece at home. Is there a trick to getting some wind protection without the tent effect? I did have pit zips open.
    I'm not a big fan of fleece -- doesn't protect well against wind and gets too clammy.

    I'm a huge fan of this jacket -- http://www.rei.com/product/801494 It does a good job protecting the wind on your chest but back and pits are made of a lightweight synthetic. This helps me a ton because my back is always where I clam up first (partly due to my camelbak). If the weather is in the 30's I'll wear a short sleeve base layer, the rei jacket and an Old Navy pullover rain jacket I bought for $20 years ago (it's a great material/weight to offer excellent wind protection but isn't too bulky). If I get too hot, I'll take off the Old Navy jacket. If I'm still too hot, I can unzip the rei jacket.

    I like just having three layers. Easy to manage and less laundry.

  16. #16
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    Round three:

    I was able to get out for a bit last night and made a few changes. Mid 20F with 10-15mph winds and succeeded in keeping more sweat moving away. Started with a l/s compression style top with Duofold midweight layer & a DriFit zip neck polyester layer on top. I did get chilled eventually but I don't believe it was related to retaining moisture as much as windy downhill/low exertion. One other note is that I found my Marmot Driclime better suited to riding (once I got really cold) ...far more breathable than the shell.

    I manage hands & feet fine as long as I remember to start cold. My wife did have a pair of Smartwool sock liners that I pilfered & found to be far better than the poly versions.

    My neighbor is convinced I'm a carnival freakshow (& the wife is starting to agree.)

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven.c

    My neighbor is convinced I'm a carnival freakshow (& the wife is starting to agree.)
    LMAO! Your not alone - my neighbors and wife definetly think that. Not only the layers of massive clothes to go ride in cold weather, but imagine a woods behind your house and neighbors seeing you build trails back there and then ride the DH bike with a full face helmet and leatt brace all while boosting some pretty big jumps (especially for a 41 year old Dad). I think I've heard the phrase "nuttier then a fruit cake" floating around the neighborhood about me

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven.c
    My neighbor is convinced I'm a carnival freakshow (& the wife is starting to agree.)
    My neighbors think it is weird that I only bike to the grocery store. We have discussions about how long it takes a car to warm up to run efficiently, which is well short of a trip down, but...

  19. #19
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    for optimal moisture management in the cold I try not to wear more than 2 layers, the thinner the better, and a spare layer for longer rides. for my last ride, 4 hours in 32 to 38 temps and pretty windy, but dry, I did pretty good with a winter long sleeve jersey (not a a jacket), a winter l/s base layer, summer tight short with leg warmers and a spare short sleeve layer and arm warmers which I swapped around half ride. I've tried wool but I've had much better luck with brynje super thermo stuff. warm hands and feet help a lot as well, cheap generic thinsulate gloves have worked better than expensive cycling specific ones because they keep my hands warm even when wet; as for the shoes, blood flow is key, I wear one size larger and thick hiking socks

  20. #20
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    My 2 cents, based on years of cold weather moisture management:

    This is my first season biking in the winter, but I spent years training sled dogs for endurance races (Iditarod being the most notable). During dog sledding you go from all-out effort (read:soaked with sweat) to standing still not doing much, so moisture management is key to literally not freezing to death 100 miles from civilization
    .
    These are my observations based on experience:
    1) Precip (Marmot I believe?) is terrible in cold weather. The breathability of this fabric drops like a rock below the freezing mark and it breathes even less once you get it wet inside.

    2) If you can stop the wind you will stay warm on the bike. I did some research into hypothermia a while back, and you're gonna have to be in REALLY cold weather (or wind) to offset the wattage your producing. So + 1 on stay moving to stay warm.

    3) Wool and synthetics are where it's at for moisture management. Wear em.

    4) +1 again on eating to maintain warmth.

    5) keep drinking - seems strange I know and I could explain some of the reasons but lets just leave it at "your body needs water"

    Here's what I wore on a recent ride( 25 degrees and windy)

    -windproof fleece hat under the helmet
    -mountaineering shell with a light wool baselayer and light fleece midlayer
    -mountain hardwear pants that are wind resistant but still breathe with polypro long johns underneath
    -heavy wool socks and lightweight windproof fleece gloves

    Only part of me that got cold was my feet because I didn't have booties or something to keep the wind from going through my mesh shoes (dumb dumb, and dumber I know).

  21. #21
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    I am a firm believer in layers. I past two times I have been out it has been about 32 w/ 10mph winds. I wore the following:

    normal cycling bib shorts
    sleeveless poly pro
    arm warmers
    normal short sleeve jersey
    Performance tights (double thick fronts of them)
    thermal socks (sort of like Gor-tex but not as good)
    Old Performance Gor-tex jacket
    gloves
    thin cycling beenie hat under helmet

    I will admit that yes, I start to sweat but I am only on the bike for about an hour so getting cold because of sweat has not been an issue as of yet. My layers all seem to wick pretty well and the inside of my jacket is quite wet when I'm done.

    My biggest problem is my feet. My thermal socks suck! I tried wearing my old shoe booties over my shoes the first ride. They fit well but of course the spikes on my shoes put a wear hole in each of them. I barely touched down during the ride and did not walk in them but somehow they still got holes. My feet still got cold.

    I have thought about buying some winter riding shoes but I have to wonder if they will even help at this point. I have always had problems with keeping my feet warm. Aside form my snowboarding boots, not much has worked (even those began to fail when I was up in Killington a few years ago-it was minus 17 on the peak that day). Unfortunately, I don't have $200 to just throw at this problem and have it not work. While I am sure they would be better than what I am wearing now, it is just too damn expensive.

    Seriously, it would take away from the $150 I am trying to spend to shed some weight off my pedals. (sarcasm there)

  22. #22
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    is there a booty out there designed to be worn with mtb shoes? One that has a bit of a rubber sole on it or something that would be a cheaper option than say a Lake, Pearl, shimano, Sidi winter shoe?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5
    I'm a huge fan of this jacket -- http://www.rei.com/product/801494 It does a good job protecting the wind on your chest but back and pits are made of a lightweight synthetic. This helps me a ton because my back is always where I clam up first (partly due to my camelbak). If the weather is in the 30's I'll wear a short sleeve base layer, the rei jacket and an Old Navy pullover rain jacket I bought for $20 years ago (it's a great material/weight to offer excellent wind protection but isn't too bulky). If I get too hot, I'll take off the Old Navy jacket. If I'm still too hot, I can unzip the rei jacket.
    I rode tonight in 32 degree weather in just a synthetic tee and the REI jacket. Temperature wise the jacket was perfect. Definitely the best jacket I've ever had.

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