More clothing just holds the water next to you, so don't go overboard. Jackets are just going to steam you from the inside (I don't care how well they claim they breathe).
Another tip is to warm up in clothes you're not going to race in. You are warming up two races before yours, right? So, dress in one set of clothes, warm up, back to the car, out again, then change into fresh clothes the race before yours. Wear a shell layer to the line (jacket or rain jacket) and pants you can remove (Craft Rain pants or the Vermarc stripper pants) and take those off on the line.
Embrocation (mix of irritant and petroleum jelly) on knees, lower back and perhaps hands
A little bit. I use my bare hands to apply it. Instead of wiping it off I'll just rub a bit in. I'm not saying coat your hands. It's the first place that starts to go numb for me. I'll also put a bit on my wrists.
First of all, I suck so I race in the C class at 9:30 am. As far as temperature goes, Utah has just officially slipped into Fall which means morning temps won't get over 40 most of the time. Once winter rolls in it could be anywere from 0 - 35. As I mentioned above, I race the C class so I think I'd look rather silly on my mountain bike riding a skin suit, we'll save this for when I get another 'cross bike and jump to the B's later this year. I'm thinking maybe a long-sleeve craft base layer and/or arm warmers. As odd as it sounds, the embrocation on the hands makes some sense to me. I have terrible circulation in my hands and feet, I may try this. Just gotta remember not to rub my eyes. I was wondering about a jacket but always worry that they will get too steamy.
Yeah, some long sleeve stuff and a long sleeve base layer. Sounds very good. Maybe some knee warmers too, or leg warmers. Maybe a vest?
The thing you want to avoid is dressing like it's a winter road ride. You'll be generating a lot of heat and you'll be warm soon enough, even if you aren't on the line. And avoid things that don't breathe (except maybe a vest) since you'll roast.
In Michigan we get some pretty ice-cold-snowy races, and riding, so I've been there more time than I'd like to remember. The best tip, already offered here, is make sure you don't sit at the line or start the race "sweaty". You can over-dress when you warm up, just get rid of the wet clothing and be "dry" for the start. Usually you don't need to dress that warm for the race 'cause when the whistle blows you forget how cold it is, right? Skin suits, wicking undershirt (not too heavy), embrocation and warmers, full fingered gloves, and a hat. Another way to keep from getting sweaty without changing your clothes is to warm up very very gradually and slowly.
I'll also warm-up in snowy and ice conditions in a pair insulated boots (Lakes) to keep my toes warm and then jump into regular race shoes when its show-time.
If it's brutal-ass cold and the snow is coming sideways just stay warm (like in your car or the nearest bar) and don't even try riding to warm up. Just drink enough booze to deaden the pain, go to the line and try to get home with all your toes and fingers. Blame your crappy riding on the ice. "Too much pressure in the tires ... urp!"
One last thing: don't ever wear a billowy vest. I hate to see people racing in vests. I don't know why, it just looks super lame to me. I'd rather you died of hypothermia or lost your fingers to frostbite rather than see you in a vest. If you want to protect your chest from the cold put a copy of Cyclocross Magazine (wrapped in plastic to protect it) under your shirt.
i have next to no bodyfat so i get super cold....mostly hands and feet.
last year bought some gortex shoes.....best investment.
Specialized just came out with these Neoprene gloves, was skeptical at first, but they keep your hands toasty....thick on the outside, but thin and grippy, next best thing to bare hands. I used wear "ovenmit" type gloves, i ride ss, so shifting was never an issue....i just looked like a dork.
i wear knickers and put the greyhound juice where ever there is bare skin showing. arm warmers a must! or a longsleeve jersey.
[smart ass reply]
if you get cold in a cross race you aren't going hard enough
[/ reply ]
acclimation is important, but only to a certain degree...
the most i've worn has been two long sleeve skinsuits a sleeveless base layer, wool ibex beenie under helmet, gloves, blaze DeFeet socks, knee warmers and some secret embro on the exposed skin. was fine racing, a wee chilly at start...
geeeee willy...... it's my hands, feet, and head that get cold.... not my body....when you have next to no fat....all the heat goes to the core, and the extremities get cold.... it's the constant battle of not overdressing, but not underdressing. usually after the warmup i'm warm....
hmmm, note to self....work a little harder next race, go faster?!.....
how's that for a smart ass reply! ;-)
try a pair of the DeFeet Blaze wool socks... they are AWESOME... and if it is really windy just slip a sandwich bag over the toes as you slip your foot in the shoe. Even if the bag fills up with water the wool will hold enough heat and as long as the water isn't being flushed out you'll stay nice and toasty...
gloves? I've had decent success with and old thread bare worn pair of Pearl Izumi windnot fleece gloves...
i also commute year round on the bike, and have decent cold tolerance (built by exposure)...
Head, like i said, an Ibex wool beanie under your helmet is not to be underestimated...
Keep the extremities warm until the start of the race (Giant goofy overboots and overmits) and pretty much anyone can survive 45-60 minutes of exposure if you are racing cross, just get warmed up quickly after... It really is more about what you do before and after than what happens in the middle...