To showcase our women’s bonka kit we rode northwards from our Ticino HQ towards the Stein Glacier. On the border of the cantons of Uri and Bern, this mystical place sits firmly in the Swiss Alps. With a dramatic landscape that rewards those who dress aptly for the weather, we thought it was time to introduce long−time ASSOS ambassador Juliet Elliott to this sublime location, and what better place to test the mettle of our latest bonkaJacket Laalalai?
A multi-discipline bike racer and all−round cycling advocate, Juliet Elliott trains and competes all−year round from her base in idyllic Devon. Right now she’s cycling the circumference of Taiwan, but 2017 has already seen her take on a multi−day mountain bike race in Iceland, throw herself into the mix on the Red Hook Crit circuit, conquer local cyclocross events, and compete in a 24−hour track relay race to name but a few. Like we said, she’s a multi−discipline, year−round rider that we’re proud to champion. We sat down with Juliet to hear how she keeps motivated throughout the year’s shortest days:
ASSOS of Switzerland − Winter and Juliet, what’s the deal?
Juliet Elliott − I live in the UK, so I either have to deal with the weather or spend the entire winter training on the turbo. I just dress up warmly and get on with it. I’m not too crazy about the rain when it’s cold out but crisp, dry, chilly days are actually some of my favourite − I love the freshness and quiet beauty of winter and it somehow makes me more energised. Plus, getting home, getting a cuppa and snuggling up on the sofa feels great after you’ve been out for a few hours.
ASSOS − Do you have any pre−ride rituals in winter?
JE − My main ritual is simply checking the weather obsessively. Not only does it dictate what I wear, it also dictates where I ride, as there are certain places (such as Dartmoor) that I won’t go due to potential ice.
ASSOS − How do you go about choosing your kit for each ride?
JE − I change into long winter tights sometime around November and wear those until sometime around April. I get really cold fingers and toes so I wear thick gloves and overshoes on all my deep winter rides − the Bonka gloves and Bonka socks are lifesavers. So really, I just choose which long−sleeved baselayer and jacket combo I need for the temperature and then tuck my Blitzfeder jacket in my pocket, just in case I need an extra layer.
ASSOS − Any drastic variations to winter kit choices if you’re going to be mountain biking or riding cyclocross?
JE − I tend to wear baggies on my mountain bike unless I’m racing. For Cyclocross, it’s always the T.Rally shorts if I’m racing − I love them! If I’m training, I tend to wear a little less than on my road bike as I work up a bit more of a sweat on my cyclocross bike.
ASSOS − Under-dressing in winter, what are the consequences?
JE − Ugh, I hate being cold so the consequences are really awful. I also suffer from something called Raynaud’s syndrome that means my fingers and toes go totally, utterly wooden and numb if they get the slightest bit cold. Not only is that annoying and painful, it’s also dangerous as I can’t feel my brake levers.
ASSOS − Any tips for reheating and resetting your body after a ride in winter?
JE − I make a cup of (decaf) tea and get straight in the bath when I get back from a ride. I start off with the temperature moderately warm then once I’m in and I’ve defrosted, I start running more hot water in. After that, I try and drink plenty of water because it’s easy to get dehydrated in winter, as you don’t feel so thirsty.