Winter Endurance Race Hand and Footwear

Excepting a few five or six hour events in northern Vermont, the White Mountains 100 was my first long winter fat bike race. Unsurprisingly, my biggest concerns about dressing were for my hands and feet, both of which seem to suffer out of proportion with the actual conditions, at least judging from my friends’ perhaps exaggeratedly stoic reports.

Keeping my hands warm ended up being straightforward. Dogwood Designs regular pogies — made in Fairbanks, AK and available from Revelate and elsewhere — were warm enough so that in the middle of the day I was riding bare-handed in them (thanks, Nick). In the morning and then again as it got dark, I wore Gore Bikewear Cross full fingered gloves in the pogies and my digits were almost always perfectly summertime warm.

For my feet I had consulted with a number of experienced competitors and encountered considerable disagreement about how to go. In the end I wanted to be able to use my Crank Bros. Candy 2 clipless pedals, so I wore, from the inside working out:

Thin liner socks
Goretex socks
Mid weight fleece socks
Northwave Goretex cycling boots
4mm Neoprene booties

I carried full sized chemical warming insoles, but never used them as I found the above configuration comfortable all day. My feet remained warm and dry even when I dabbed in an overflow with water up to my ankles. That, by the way, was the only time one of my cleats froze and collected a substantial enough ball of snow so that I couldn’t clip in for a little while. Eventually I was able to kick it clear and I certainly could have sat down and immediately picked it free in a minute or two.

I would race again with this gear.