Adjust to autumn riding
James McCallum, Scottish racing cyclist and coach with Trainsharp.co.uk, explains how to make changes that won’t compromise performance.
Just shade it
Wearing glasses will prevent colder weather making your eyes water, which can hamper your vision. See ahead in the autumnal light with yellow or orange tint lenses. When light levels dip these provide greater definition so you can spot potholes easier. Pick out a stylish peaked cap, with the sun lower in the sky, having shade beneath your helmet will stop you being dazzled.
Return to base
Changeable weather can make picking the right clothing a gamble. It’s better to be overdressed as if you’re hit with a mechanical or you bonk out in the wilds, you’re likely to get cold quickly. Layer up with a core covering that’s temperature regulated – such as a merino wool vest or short sleeve – with wicking, soft-on-the-skin fabrics that will keep you warm, sweat-free and cut out chafing.
Stave off low temps with arm and knee warmers you can remove as your body heat rises. Use lightweight gloves – windproof and waterproof but still fine enough a fabric to feel the road through your fingers – and insulating socks. Rain jackets are no use for aerodynamics but on longer rides they come into their own protecting against showers to clock up KOMs in relative comfort.
Using an off-road or cyclo-cross bike to ride through mud and wet terrain can have a number of benefits – building leg strength, improving balance, cadence and traction skills – that will help with your summer rides. See the seasonal change as positive and a chance to work on new skills and don’t let the lack of light and drop in temperature stop you putting in the hours.
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