Dressing Up for Cold Weather

As the temperature begins to drop, the Jersey humidity dissipates and leaves us crystal blue skies with crisp fresh air.  The temperature hovers at about 65 degrees giving us time to enjoy fall riding and all of the summer fitness we have worked for.  The catch is, this perfect temperature lasts for about twenty minutes before it just starts to get cold.

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Then we have choices to make…  We can stay inside and read Velo News and imagine how fast we’d be if we had access to a professional coach and a supply of HGH, or we can continue to ride and stay in shape despite the biting wind.

There are a few main articles of clothing you’ll need to enjoy cool-cold riding in comfort.  With this list, you’ll be able to create a fall-winter-early spring wardrobe, and mix and match depending on your riding style or budget.

Arm Warmers:pearl arm warm

These removable sleeves will keep the chill off of your arms in 59-65 degree weather.  The best part about them is that they are removable so that if your chilly morning ride warms up, you can easily take them off and hide them in a jersey pocket.  You can also use them in conjunction with many of the other clothing articles on the list.

Knee/Leg Warmers:

knee warm

These are great for keeping the joints nice and flexible on colder days.  The best part about knee warmers is that they offer a little bit more mobility than full on winter tights while still keeping you significantly warmer.  These can be used in 49-59 degree weather.

Baselayer:baabaabaseAs the weather cools even more, layering becomes important.  Enter the baselayer.  These go underneath your jersey or jacket and offer extra insulation.  They should be made from a material that is breathable and moisture-wicking, in fact this one in particular is made from wool.  A baselayer will keep your core at a steadier temperature by keeping it dry and warm.  They come in sleeveless  long sleeve  and short sleeve depending on your preference.  A baselayer is a necessity for weather under 49 degrees.

Windproof Layer/Vest:

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A windproof, lightweight jacket is key for riding in colder weather.  This specific jacket has sleeves that zip away, turning it into a vest.  There are many variations of windproof jackets, which include some with more insulation for the coldest days.

Tights:

tights

When the knee warmers just won’t cut it, some tights will get you through the frost.  They may feel a bit like a wetsuit at first, but will keep you extra warm.  Tights come in a variety of thicknesses and with options such as the bibs (as pictured above), normal (just like pants), and with or without zippered legs.  These will keep you warm on rides in 29 degree weather and up.

Gloves:

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Winter gloves are a necessity for the colder days of the year.  These are called “Lobster Gloves” which offer a bit more warmth than a traditional style glove.  You do sacrifice a bit of mobility with the lobster fingers.  Something to look for in a good winter glove is breathability and wind resistance.  If your hands get sweaty on a climb and the icy wind blows through the gloves on a descent, you’ll end up with some numb fingers.  (Don’t be like Ricky Bobby.)

Shoe Covers:

pearl shoe cover

Instead of wearing a winter-specific shoe, you can invest in a pair of shoe covers to keep the icy wind off of those little piggies.  Breathability is also key when looking for a pair of these.  Along with shoe covers, you’ll want some nice wool socks for extra insulation.

Headwear:

pearl hatLastly, you’ll need a beanie or a headband to keep your head warm.  With your well-ventilated helmet, the wind can really make your ride uncomfortable. This fits comfortably under your helmet allowing your scalp to breathe while offering wind protection.

All of these items can be used in conjunction with one another based on your personal preference.  Remember that sweat is the enemy, so search for items with breathability, but that also offer wind resistance.  Stop by your local Marty’s and talk with any of us if you have any questions or want to hear about our personal experiences with these products.  Happy pedaling!

Team Marty’s women excel in New Jersey Time Trial Cup

Hunter Mountain Fall Classic

Hunter Mountain Fall Classic

Team Marty’s women Nikki Ragonese and Maryanne Caruso enjoyed a successful run of competition in the 2013 New Jersey Time Trial Cup. Both captured 2nd place overall in two of the Cup’s categories. Nikki grabbed the Category 4 women and Maryanne, the Eddy (aka non-TT bike) category. They also represented Marty’s in the New Jersey State Time Trial, to gain State Championship status with Nikki taking the gold 1st place medal and Maryanne landing the bronze 3rd place in their respective categories.

They capped off the road season on September 7 at the Hunter Mountain Fall Classic road race. Nikki finished in the top 10, and Maryanne in the top 15.

We invited them to share their experiences.

Nikki 

I decided to give time trials a shot this year as a way to ease into bike racing. For me, coming from a triathlon background, time trials seemed to make sense as the next logical step. I already had the bike for it and was used to racing on my own, with no drafting.

My first TT of the season was a short one, only about five miles, and I wasn’t really sure I understood the appeal of getting up early on a damp and chilly April morning for such a short race. I definitely didn’t have the right mindset and made a lot of mistakes that day (I didn’t warm up enough; I almost fell over at the start when I was released to go). However, as the season went on, I learned from my mistakes and realized that I could push myself much harder than I believed possible. I feel like I really understood the TT mindset, after the state time trial, where I was able to push myself at 22 MPH for a little over 25 miles. Every time I wanted to back off and slow down I didn’t give in and just continued to push harder. I never would have thought I could hold that speed on my own for that many miles, but it definitely taught me that I am much stronger than I believed. I think the time trialing has also made me a tougher and more confident cyclist in general.

2nd place Sandrinos Podium

2nd place Sandrinos Podium

Upper Freehold TT

Upper Freehold TT

Maryanne 

In terms of racing, I started with a blank slate this year. While I followed a structured training plan, I had no real strategy going into the season other than few TTs and maybe a road race or two.

My first TT for the season was Readington and I did OK – 5th place. I followed this race two weeks later with the High Point TT, a 5.5-mile climb into High Point State Park. At this point I was in good position in the standings and decided to commit to the Cup series.

Being new to racing, I wasn’t the most experienced or the strongest, which essentially meant I had to show up at every TT for the rest of the season in order to keep advancing in the standings. I was expecting to finish 3rd overall so was pleasantly surprised to move into 2nd place after the Blueberry TT. More importantly, I kept seeing improvements in my performance. For example, I averaged about 19.5 MPH at Readington. By the end of the season I was averaging between 21 and 22 MPH depending on the race course.

Blueberry TT

2nd place Blueberry TT podium

 

Nice Job Maryanne and Nikki! It looks like you had some nice results and it was great to see you both improving. Thanks for supporting Marty’s. We appreciate it very much!

Helping out at Gran Fondo NJ

The Gran Fondo NJ is a great event that depends on everyone working in unison to pull it off. My job was to give mechanical service at the start line and then drive the SAG Van on the Breve and Medio routes. Although I would have liked to ride the Gran Fondo, I enjoyed driving around and helping people out. I ride my bike enough, so this is my day to give back and help others.

The day started at 4:00am when I hit snooze accidentally and my day then started at 4:30. This wasn’t so bad because I literately live a mile from the start line. I picked up my preassembled repair kit and cruised over to the registration area on the Surly Big Dummy.

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Early Morning Registration

I must have changed 10 flat tires and adjusted a bunch of derailleurs. Thankfully I didn’t have to deal with any trainwreck situations. The first year I had to assemble and tune a tandem bike. I got it done, but I wasn’t expecting that to come my way. Any time you get 2000 cyclists together there is going to be a bunch of random things that go wrong with their bikes.

As 7:00am rolled around I was churning out the flat tire fixes and got to meet George Hincapie. That was cool. He seemed like a nice guy.

I was able to get everyone on their way before the the start of the ride. 2000 riders rolled out of the center of Morristown. It was quite a sight to see. I quickly grabbed my repair kit and hopped in the support van and began my SAG driving work.

I started by transporting a woman back to the start. Her friend had a broken spoke and she let him take her wheel. I guess she wasn’t that interested in riding, because I offered to get her a wheel, but she said it wasn’t necessary. After getting her back to the start I picked up 3 people in one shot. Two had destroyed their derailleurs on the first steep climb. They were about 10 yards apart and it made it easy to pick them up. The third was a friend, and I gave them all a ride to the first rest stop. John Nicholson(marty’s mechanical wizard) was working there he was able to get them on the road again. I stopped by Marc’s rest stop next and made sure all the riders had cleared the first section of the Breve Fondo.

Marc's VW Rest Stop

Marc’s VW Rest Stop

I then starting patrolling the Medio Fondo route. It was my job to make sure the last medio riders had made it to Califon and tell our logistics guy Dan that the first half of the Medio course was clear of riders. This didn’t take too long. There were 2 ladies out there and I waited at the Califon stop until I thought they would be getting in. I drove out, and saw them come in and drove the van over to the Chester rest stop. I almost made it there when I was dispatched out to a chain issue. On my way there I passed by a woman who recently crashed. She didn’t look so good, being that she was face down in the grass and half over a curb. The local emt squad showed up and checked her out. I think she was a bit bruised up but ok. I took her bike back to the store for her to pick up later. On my way back I found my guy with the chain issue. He had a broken link so I slapped a quick link in his chain and sent him on his way.

I was getting hungry and all I had to eat was some cannoli from the first rest stop. I had some brownies too, but I needed some real food. It was now my mission to get to the Chester rest stop.

Dexter and Marc

Dexter and Marc figuring out how to put away this flag thing

I heard my coworkers were there grilling steak and wings with some cold beverages. I kept trying to get there and then I would be constantly dispatched to another bike pick up. Eventually I was able to make it there just in time for the wings and the clean up of the rest stop. The wings were especially good and I commend Dexter on his grilling abilities. I got a slice of steak too and it was also super tasty.

We gathered up the rest stop and put everything back in the COW(container on wheels). It was a great way to distribute and clean up each rest stop. The next day all of the COWs were back in the Marty’s of Randolph parking lot ready for us to unload them.

After we cleaned up the Chester rest stop, I headed back to the start to enjoy the cleaning up there as well. Cleaning up is probably the most fun thing after any event. Right when you might feel like going home and resting…. its time to keep going and put everything away. Thankfully it was a nice evening and most of the volunteers stuck around and helped load the van with an assortment of tents, pint glasses, chairs, banners, chocolates etc…

We finally finished up around 8:00pm and called it a day. I enjoy helping out at Gran Fondo NJ and maybe next year I will get to ride it.

Gran Fondo NJ!

Gran Fondo NJ on a stick!

Gran Fondo NJ in the Works

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This was supposed to be a week of mayhem and madness in the bike shop.  We were supposed to be frazzled, scared, and anxious for the upcoming Gran Fondo.  Marty’s hair was supposed to look like this by now.

cat hairThe truth is, he hasn’t had the need to pull his big hair out.  Over the last two years, Marty and Bill have gotten the organization and flow down.  While this is a huge event and requires an insane amount of work, it all feels a little less stressful and runs seamlessly when everyone, from sponsors to employees to riders, come together to do their part.

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Marty’s hair is lookin’ good.

The COWS have worked out well in order to organize the necessities for the rest stops along the way.  Nearly everything is loaded and ready to go for Sunday morning.

Inside the guts of a COW

Inside the guts of a COW

 We hope you’re ready to spend an awesome day on your bicycle!