|Wet. Cold. Dreary. Brr.
I just did a race where the bike was shortened due to participants getting too cold.
The temperature was about +8C (+46F) - which in fall in Ontario is not particularly unusual - a bit on the low side, but it happens.
What made it so much worse, though, was the rain. It wasn't pouring, but sprinkling just enough to keep you soaked to the bone the entire ride.
I've done a lot of bad weather racing (off-road/spring crazy Paris to Ancaster stuff) but this one stung. Road bikes are fast, which creates........
Cyclists make their own wind. Going 30km/h on a still day is like standing in a 30km/h wind - when you're wet, it gets miserable, fast. The evaporation of the water sucks heat away from your body and leaves you ice cold.
The main strategy, then, is to block the wind. Wear layers that don't let the air through.
Torso and arms and legs
I think we all know how to block wind here, don't we? Yet I saw so many people wearing just cycling jerseys with arm/leg warmers that didn't look very wind blocky. Crazy!
The folks officiating the race said people's hands became so cold they couldn't operate their gears or brakes.
Completely avoidable... I was wearing Head Cross-Country ski gloves, didn't have any trouble at all! They're designed to be wet in cold temperature but keep your hands warm. There are lots of options like this - I'd imagine most people didn't really think of winter-oriented gloves for a fall race, but that's what it takes.
This is where I suffered - I could have used feet covers to keep the wind off my feet, but it was a duathlon and those transitions need to be fast. I stupidly skipped out on them, and as a result my feet were freeeezing. It even caused some cramping at one point.
Bottom line - wear coverings that keep your feet dry as possible, but most of all block the wind.
... Or Stay Home
Seriously, go for a run instead (significantly reduces the wind issue, as long as it's not windy!), use the indoor trainer... if it wasn't a race, I wouldn't have been out there. It was pretty miserable, even reasonably well prepared and appropriately dressed.