Like the rest of the country we struggled heroically against howling wind and tardy trains yet again this morning, which got us thinking – what gear does a triathlete need to keep their training on track right now?
The unprecedented rains and flooding in the West Country led us to automatically think 'boat', but there are other options for readers fortunate enough to find themselves on dry land…
Most of us have a favourite hat for wet-weather running, but what do you do when it's sheeting down and you really need to get out on your bike? One option is a ventless helmet, which keeps damp scalps to a minimum and looks very distinctive (though opinions are mixed on whether that's a good thing).
Giro offers the Air Attack aero helmet for £149 from zyro.co.uk. If you don't fancy spending that much then you could try wearing a cycling caps under your helmet (Rapha do a nice one for £35).
Keeping your upper-body warm and dry is crucial when running and cycling in this weather, so a quality jacket is essential. Impressing us recently were the Gore Power 2.0 Windstopper bike jacket (£139 from goreapparel.co.uk), which scored 93% in our recent grouptest (issue 292), and the Adidas SMT running jacket, which scored 86% in issue 295 (review here).
When the weather got very bad at the Milan-Sanremo Cycle Race in March last year, almost every rider in the pro peloton was wearing one of Castelli's Gabba WS Long Sleeve Jerseys (£185 from evanscycles.com) – even those whose teams weren't sponsored by the Italian clothing firm.
Digits will need gloves, and warm ones at that – we like the Endura Exo Waterproof gloves (£54 from enduraequipe.co.uk) very much indeed, giving them 88% in issue 293's mini grouptest for their high levels of comfort on both cold and very wet days.
Running longs and bib tights are the order of the day: your legs need to breathe when working hard, but there are lots of warm, dry options out there. We liked 2XU's PWX Compression Tights in issue 294, giving them 84% for the psychological boost they'll give you before wet and windy runs. Other favourite kit with 220 staff include water-resistant knee warmers like these from Castelli (£31.50 from wiggle.co.uk) and waterproof biblongs like these from Endura.
… and toes
Dry feet are happy feet, and your options here are many. You can buy winter bike shoes like Northwave's Fahrenheit GTX, featuring a Gore-Tex thermal breathable membrane – very effective, but not cheap at £135. Bike overshoes are your next cheapest option, with dhb's Extreme Weather Neoprene Overshoes encasing your tootsies in 3.5mm neoprene for £29.99 (wiggle.co.uk).
Many people swear by waterproof socks, such as SealSkinz Mid Weight Mid Length socks (£27 from wiggle.co.uk). The cheapest option however costs little more than pence – a plastic bag between foot and shoe. Be warned though – this is definitely the sweatiest option, and the sound of rustling will accompany you everywhere.
For more advice on triathlon equipment, head to our Gear section