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I'll be racing Nationals for the first time this year. As a West Coast racer, I'm unfamiliar with how best to dress for racing in REALLY cold conditions. Any suggestions form those more familiar with these conditions would be greatly appreciated.


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Assuming it's 30F I'd wear
LS skinsuit
LS baselayer
leg warmers
Wool socks (make sure to pull the insoles out of your shoes to give yourself some extra room, otherwise the socks are self defeating. Or Defeeting, I suppose)
The warmest hat you own.

The other tips I would add are to wear as many clothes as you can to the line. That will keep you warm. I would typically have one LS jersey on, winter jacket and full zip off pants. (tights are hard to get over shoes) I can get all that off within 45 seconds. You'll be warm racing, but showing up on the line warm really helps.

And, sometimes, the best warm up is sitting in the car with the heater on. Esp if this is your second race of the weekend you know the course and "warming up" can be counterproductive.
Thanks Chris!


I was the promoter of the 2000 Cyclocross Champs in Overland Park (part of Kansas City). Pretty much the same conditions as the 2007 event and likely again this year. I raced Day 3 of Nationals in last year's freeze fest. Most of Chris' suggestions were pretty spot on, but i suggest finding some good embrocation to paste those leg warmers on so they don't fall down. Wool socks by themselves wouldn't have cut it for me last year. I used a windtex liner sock (made by Northwave) over my regular socks; Both thin enough to fit in my shoes well. Find several types of good gloves! Here are a bunch of pics from last year to give you an idea of clothing choice:

I think my race temp was under 20 degrees.
Embrocation seemed like it's own topic, so I didn't mention it. :) It will definitely help but it not substitute for good clothing. I do find it very handy on my lower back as well.
i think the key is warm feet and hands and keeping them dry if it gets wet. you'll probably be colder if it's just above melting and wet, than if it's below freezing because you won't get drenched.

you can learn a bit from a few of the winners last year (see issue 2). Katie Compton is pretty picky with equipment, and clothing is no different. take a look at the pic below:

she has a neck warmer, a hat, thick winter (i'm guessing waterproof) gloves, and gore-tex winter sidis she bought herself in portland for the usgp. she's undefeated in kansas city (well, at cx nats in general). I saw one other women with the same sidis at the start line. shimano has a new winter boot too that we're playing with. and there are other winter boots reviewed in our issue 4.

andy jacques-maynes also had some interesting tips. he said he saw many guys furiously warming up on the trainers, but then they got drenched and were freezing at the start line. he barely did anything, kept warm and dry, and "eased" into the race and won.

good luck ray!
Thanks Andrew. Your feedback is really helpful! See you Sunday at Golden Gate?

Although Kansas weather can change in a heartbeat, I would suggest you look at the pictures. I was there and will be there again taking photo's. You are welcome to look at my photos of Nationals 2007 at I would suggest you look at the weather underground forecast as it seems to me to be the most accurate. You can email me when you want so I can give you update(s). See you out there, CX ROCKS! PS I just noticed that my website is on the reply above, thanks Mr. CX! See you on Sunday.
Thanks Rodger. I'll stay in touch.

OK Ray, we had a normal, "quick" weather change! check out the photos on
Thanks for the update Roger. Definitely different conditions than I have ever experienced. I'm coming out a couple days early in hopes of getting some time on the course. I raced yesterday in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco in balmy 60+ degree weather!

Thanks again!

60's, that could occur here also, then again, it could be 60 degrees WIND CHILL! No one ever knows in Kansas!!!! Missouri!!!! whereever you are in this bi-state area. Just pack every kind of clothing for riding you possess, train in a meat locker, then you may be ready. Just as I am saying this, you might need sunscreen as it may be 80? Confused, yep, all the weather persons here in this area either drink a lot or smoke some funny stuff, I would if I was them. HA HA!! See you here later this month, we will all be cheering for ya!
Most importantly, take advantage of the warmup tent with the Saris/CyleOps trainers and bring a thermal jacket and pants that can easily take off at the start line.

If your feet are sensitive to cold, make sure you use nothing but Wool socks. BUT DON'T MAKE YOUR SHOES TOO TIGHT. Space in the shoes allows the air to warm and keeps your blood circulating, plus you will have ample time to run so they will take care of themselves. Same with gloves, don't make things too tight. I like riding with my Specialized LF gloves with a Pearl wind shell over them. If you are REALLY racing, you will warm up quick. If you are racing multiple days, get outta the cold wet clothes ASAFP and get some HOT tea into you.

Good luck and welcome to KC!


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