Coach Carl Cycling

A website for cyclists wanting to win their race and achieve personal cycling bests.

Carl is a cycling coach and avid track racer. Carl focuses primarily on coaching junior racers, but coaches riders of all ages and backgrounds. Carl is the track cycling coach for the Northwest Cycling Club, voted USA Cycling's Cycling Club of the Year for 2013-2014, and is one of the main coaches at the Alkek Veldodrome in Houston, TX. He has introduced countless racers to the sport of cycling and and has helped many racers attain their personal bests, up to and including, 9 individual junior national track championships. Coach Carl Jones is a cycling coach and physical educator with a degree in Kinesiology-Movement and Sports Studies from the University of Houston. 

Winter is here and....over-doing it is just as bad as under-doing it!

I am reminded tonight as we prepare for the next cold blast that I was freaking cold this morning before my ride. I always panic on the first cold weather ride, wondering if I'll pick the right gear for the ride. Will I be too cold/hot during the ride. I'm glad I was prepared this time. Fortunately, I made great choices and I was extremely comfy in the 45-50 degree weather this morning, never overheating and staying cool for the whole ride. There were people around me, on the other hand, that didn't make wise choices though and they paid for it by over dressing and over heating,  or under dressing and shivering for their whole ride. What winter clothing do you have in your inventory, and how do you use your clothing? Lay it all out and look at it and imagine the combinations for various weather conditions. 

  1. RULE OF THUMB: Check the weather. What is the temp before you ride and what will it be at the end. Remember that over-dressing can be worse than under-dressing. Overdressing is very easy to do if you aren't aware of the before/during/after temperature variances during your day on the roads. 
  2. WEAR ENOUGH CLOTHING SO THAT YOU START OFF A LITTLE CHILLED. You will warm up quickly during the ride. 
  3. Just like a fellow coach used to say: Cover your knees. His rule of thumb is under 70 cover the knees (Thanks Garth!). This is especially important if your joints tend to stiffen up in cold weather, and if you've had injuries to your knees (i.e. you're old like me). Remember that your knees are always facing forward in to the cold and are the first to take abuse. Protect them. 
  4. Wear gloves - numb finger hurt!

Dress in layers, but you'll have to experiment with your clothing combinations. 

My combo today: 42 degrees and finished at 45 degrees. 

  1. base layer
  2. jersey
  3. arm and leg warmers
  4. shoe covers
  5. full finger/wind blocking gloves
  6. team vest...started in the vest but took it off and gave it to a one of my junior riders. 

I was a little chilled at the beginning of the ride but, warmed up quickly. I stayed cool and didn't sweat. My toes were a little stiff and numb, but they always are. No big surprise there. 

The chart above comes from a post from Richardson Bike Mart and posted on Major Tayor Group - Dallas...Great Stuff!

Base Layer - essential for wicking sweat away from the skin

Jersey - gotta represent!

Head Covering - Especially on the coldest day. Some people use a cycling cap under the helmet. Helmet covers, skull caps, balaclavas, Don't forget your neck!

Gloves and Warmers (leg/knee/arm) - a must in most cool to cold weather. 

Footwear and shoe coverings - Keep those toes from going numb!

Wet wear in case it rains. Nothing worse that wet and cold!

In fact, I'm usually over-prepared. Being a junior team coach, I always pack extra cold weather gear for the kids if they forget something. Bring extra and you may be able to help a friend who isn't prepared, I did today! Below...my basics!