Clothing Rules??

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I’m flying to California tomorrow. There is a road race on Saturday, the kick off to the Southern California road season. I was looking at the event flyer and was a little worried about it being a little too hot for me. Sometimes inland in Southern California can be a little toasty. Like in November when I did a cross race at 90 degrees. But, then I saw the event flyer. Here is the rules section-

Rules: Race runs rain or shine. All USCF and NCCA rules apply. Riders must wear helmets at all times. Course is open to
traffic; obey all traffic regulations. Centerline rule is strictly enforced. Littering on the course is prohibited. You will get no
warning—you will be disqualified and fined by the CHP on your first offense. “Appropriate clothing policy”: if a rider does
not have appropriate gear suited to the cold weather, then they will not be allowed to start.

I thought, wow, they must think it is going to be cold and, wow, a clothing rule. I’ve nearly never ran into an “appropriate clothing policy”. Is a policy a rule? Anyway, I’m wondering who decides what appropriate clothing actually is. Is there a cycling official Maitre d’ that makes sure you have the right clothing on? I don’t get it. I don’t really understand it. Maybe they’ve had a problem with all these LA and San Diego guys showing up at 4000 ft. in January and getting caught it a snow storm?

The only other time I’ve been associated with anything near this is at The Tour of Southland, in Invercargill, New Zealand. There was a TTT for the prologue and when we pulled up to start, the UCI commissaire, who was from Japan, told us to take our knee warmers off. This was 1 minute before our start. He didn’t speak English and we didn’t really understand what he was talking about. It was in the 40’s. So, we frantically ripped our knee warmers off and barely made the start.

After the race, I asked our team manager what that was all about. He went and talked to the commissaire and the next day he brought me a printout in English that explained there was a UCI rule that addressed clothing extending below your knees. Mainly concerning aerodynamics. A couple stages later there was a time trial. I had flatted the day before and got a crummy wheel change, so I was pretty much out of GC. So I was going to roll the time trial. It was barely 50, so I had on knee warmers and a long sleeve jersey. Going to the starting ramp, the UCI guy stopped me and told me it wasn’t cold enough to wear knee warmers. In sign language since he didn’t speak any English. So I just took my knee warmer and folded them up over my knees, to abide by the official rule. He didn’t think that was too funny and there was no way he was going to let me start in inappropriate clothing. So, I scrambled once again, not that it really mattered, took off my knee warmers and rode the TT at 20 mph.

Seriously here, I don’t think it is anyone’s business, other than the rider, how much clothing a rider wears when he is racing. If this appropriate clothing rule would be enforce in cross, I wouldn’t have been able to start the last few National Championships in shorts. I usually don’t like anything over my knees. I’ve been training down to around 50 degrees bare legged recently. But, there are tons of guys that wear leg warmers over 60. To each his own. It is ludicrous to think that someone other that the racer themselves should decide on the appropriate clothing.

I don’t think it is going to be an issue on Saturday. The temperature is supposed to be in the mid 70’s in San Diego. I can’t image that it could be that much cooler at 4000 ft. altitude.

Since we’re on the subject of cycling clothing, The Clymb has a bunch of Craft cycling stuff on sale that seems pretty cheap. Here is the link, you have to sign in to view, but it’s not a long procedure.

Pretty wouldn't be able to start in San Diego?

Kevin Pauwels probably couldn't be wearing these in New Zealand.

5 thoughts on “Clothing Rules??

  1. Tom Gates

    steve – you’re exactly right, the Boulevard RR is known for bad weather – rain, sleet, & snow flurries. The problems arise when it’s in the 50’s at the start and the 30’s at the finish. It’s a big loop so if a rider gets dropped they can get in big trouble. Not so much for the Pros, but the lower categories. No worries for a Kansas flahute, though.

  2. Jim

    I must be missing something here.
    Is the rider not responsible for knowing the course, not going off course, and such? If that is left up to the rider, no matter how the officials might have mis-directed him, why is the needed clothing not left to the rider?
    You shouldn’t get it both ways. Either a rider makes all choices for themselves or they make none.
    This rates right up there with “level” saddles. Using the ability to push back against the saddle for leverage is the excuse? Please!
    Next I suppose we will all have to wear the same size shoe. You cant’ fit your 10 1/2 sized feet into a size 9 shoe? Too bad, you can’t start the race.
    In the meantime we’ll award 517 national championships (after you pay a stupidly high entry fee). That is easy!
    Rant over!

  3. Bobby

    It seems everyone I know who’s done Boulevard has a harrowing tale of survival. The weather can get pretty nasty and as you’ve probably noticed when you’re there people in the SD area tend to live in a little bubble.

  4. Doug

    @Bobby what is nasty
    Just for perspective I am happy when it gets up to 40 on my ride and this has been a very mild winter

    The clothing rule is crazy everyone reacts differently to the temperature. And everyone is acclimated differently. I’m perfectly happy into high 20s in wool knickers and a base and long sleeve jersey.


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