Here in Melbourne we are now in the depths of winter, which although benign by the standards of many still means short days, cold winds and leaden skys. All in all it can put a bit of a dampener on the motivation of the best and most committed at times. Of course, it is almost always a case of gosh I'm glad I did that post ride, and the coffee is all the sweeter for the effort. We refer you to the Velominati here as the font of wisdom on this matter.
Fair-weather riding is a luxury reserved for Sunday afternoons and wide boulevards. Those who ride in foul weather – be it cold, wet, or inordinately hot – are members of a special club of riders who, on the morning of a big ride, pull back the curtain to check the weather and, upon seeing rain falling from the skies, allow a wry smile to spread across their face. This is a rider who loves the work.
Oft times having your bunch and the right kit are the difference between getting out and not, and we commend both. Melbourne abounds with great bunch rides, and we would like to think our growing Thursday women's ride is amongst them these days! And if you are considering clothing choices, the heart of the matter is to keep your core and extremities warm first off. Layer up is the central tenet, and the right base layer, jacket, gloves and booties are all important. There are a stack of good brands and options and we like a splash of colour for visibility also. And we confess to shivering when we see bare legs on cold days as we often seem to on Beach Rd. Your knees will thank you for covering up and it is as simple as a pair of leg warmers most times here in Melbourne. Do our tender sensibilities a kindness and cover those pins!
When it comes to winter riding, no one has put it better really than quintessential hardman Sean Kelly, the King of the classics, “I check the weather, I put on my gear, I go out and do my spin, then when I’m back do I decide if it was too wet or not”.
Thinking of winter riding always brings to mind the epic Passo di Gavia stage of the 1988 Giro D'Italia, surely one of the cruellest and most memorable (and most photographed) days of racing in memory. The Giro winner that the year, the superb Andy Hampsten, tells the story here.
And on the principle that a picture tells a thousand words, enjoy the clip below - and use it as motivation!
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