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Chuck Coyle's Racing Chronicles: Thermo Regulation
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 1/9/2003
Chuck Coyle's Racing Chronicles: Thermo Regulation

“bust my britches, bless my soul.  i’m a freak of nature walking totem pole.  look and see, I’ll think you’ll agree… nobody weird like me…”

There is a strange phenomenon that I have noticed over the past few years that some friends and I have recently termed "Hyper-Thermo Regulation” as in “Damn, that guy is overly thermo-regulated!” Rarely are seasoned cyclists guilty of this crime, it is more commonly perpetrated by the novice and weekend-warrior types.  Hyper-thermo regulation occurs when it is around 40 degrees and you see riders wearing only shorts and a jersey when any sane person would have on leg warmers, booties, a long sleeve base layer, a long sleeved jacket and a wind vest.

What in the hell are these people thinking wearing next to nothing?  Is it possible that if they don’t wear gloves when it is near freezing they actually think they look ‘cool’ or worse yet ‘tough’?  I know it cannot be that they are actually comfortable dressed like that; the human body is not designed for prolonged exposure in that kind of temperature, not to mention the wind chill effect that takes place when you are riding 20 mph.

Cyclists are not the only people guilty of this.  A few days ago I was skate skiing in the foothills outside of Boulder, Colorado, and I saw this douche-bag skiing in shorts.  He looked like such a tool I just wanted to go up and slap some sense into him, “Dude, not only do you not look cool, you look like a jackass!”  As he passed by I swear I could hear his knees grinding themselves into a fine powder in the thin cold mountain air.  I realize that this might sound a bit harsh but you all know someone just like this.

I certainly tend to be a bit anal when it comes to what to wear when I go riding.  On cold days, after checking all of my go-to weather sites, I will carry two hats and two pair of gloves just in case one gets sweaty or wet.  On the same note it is also a rare occasion that I get caught out in the middle of a ride with my pants down (if you know what I mean).  In the winter I am always loaning guys extra layers who thought that since the sun was out they did not need to wear gloves or that it may possibly not reach the predicted high of 50 (and even if it does it will only be that warm for 45 minutes).  This winter I think I may start charging for this service, people are willing to pay a lot not to be cold.

With all of the different materials that are now available staying warm is turning into a bit of an art form.  If you are one of the people that is a hyper-thermo regulator here are a few simple rules that will keep you warm on the bike so that you may actually enjoy riding outside this winter:

  • Keep your knees covered until it is AT LEAST 68 degrees

  • Wear leg warmers from 40-50 degrees, use tights for anything colder

  • Wear shoe covers until the mercury hits the low 50’s

  • Use booties for anything under the low 40’s

  • Use both shoe covers and booties for those gnarly days under 30

  • Keep your arms covered as long as your knees are covered

  • Two layers are required on your arms below 50

  • A hat should be worn below 55

  • Ears should be covered below the low 40’s

  • Thin gloves need to be worn below 55

  • Thick gloves below 40 (and keep thin base layer gloves in your pocket just in case)

If you are racing in any sort of adverse conditions then all of the aforementioned rules go right out the window.  Lube up your legs with the hottest embrocation that you can find, slather your face in Vaseline, put on your best “Belgi hard-man face” and race like you're chasing down Museeuw in the Roubaix!

Thanks for reading,
Star Wars Racing Team

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