This week I’ve been focused on testing my equipment. Actif Epica is only two days away, so it’s time to let the body relax and rest. Last minute training doesn’t work for events like this, and I’ve learned its best to focus on the other necessary preperations.
Foot warmth is always the bane of winter cyclists’ existence, but I think I have finally figured out a system that works for me. Contrary to what most long distance winter riders wear, I cannot stand riding in flat pedals with regular boots. I’m way to accustomed to riding in clipless pedals to even think about changing systems for a long ride like Actif Epica. So here is a system that has been working for me:
- I start off with a dual-layer wool merino sock. These are basically two socks in one that helps insulate and wick away moisture from your feet.
- Next up are toe warmers applied directly to the socks, under my toes. These are supposed to last for 5-6 hours, so I have spares with me just incase.
- Then I add a heavy wool sock overtop—something rated for -40 or so. You have to be careful that the sock isn’t too thick, or you wont’ be able to fit in your shoes.
- I added a layer of tin-foil underneath the insole of my cycling shoes to reflect heat- no fancy winter shoes here, they are Sidi Dominator 5 mountain bike shoes. However, one thing I do like about these shoes is that there are no holes around the cleat that could allow snow to push inside while walking.
- I added duct tape over all the venting in the shoes to keep warmth in and cold out
- Neoprene boot covers from MEC— these are crucial as they add the most warmth in the system
- MEC Gore-Tex rain covers overtop the neoprene covers. This adds a layer of wind-proofing and waterproofs your boots too.
So there you have it— five layers over my feet, resulting in a waterproof, windproof shoe with a toe warmer inside. Just yesterday I tested it with only one pair of socks and no Gore-Tex covers, and am happy to report my toes were nice and warm two hours later.