Vested interest

Being skint means Salina Christmas is having to repurpose her cycling kits for running, and vice versa. A chat with ski marathoner Hylton Moore, however, reveals that kit-repurposing is not exclusive to the C-race amateur athletes.

Whilst some sports are straightforward and rather prescriptive about the type of shoes and kits one should wear, there are others that require you to be imaginative about what to wear to suit the changing climates. This pretty much means you have to be agnostic about brands and types of kits, and go with whatever works best.

Jerseys good enough for cycling and running. © Zarina Holmes / GLUE

The jumble sale look

Rowing, that particular discipline that I happily left some years back, was a tricky one to dress up for. The unitard is the summer staple, but for winter, if you row, the kit can be a mish-mash of running jacket, or a waterproof hiking jacket, combined with running tights or shorts.

If you cox, it’s even trickier. I used hiking jacket worn over fleece and base layer, with ski pants. My fingers were covered in running gloves, a pointless exercise in keeping them warm, but at least I could feel the equipment. Let’s just say that after eight years dressing up badly for this sport, I have no problem predicting what to wear for a running competition in the pissing rain. I look like a jumble sale, but I know how to stay dry.

“I look like a jumble sale, but I know how to stay dry”

Being not exactly rich also means I am very creative at mixing my Decathlon with my Castelli. My favourite is to wear my Serpentine cycling vest over my running top. This is sartorial blasphemy, I know, but the jersey is cheap, bright red and thus, any vehicle could see me for miles.

Good enough for ski

Cycling vests are better at wind resistance than running vests. © Zarina Holmes / GLUE

It was a cycling vest that got Hylton Moore, a ski marathoner, to come to our shop with his mountain bike earlier this week. He looked tanned, fresh from the Engandin Ski Marathon at St Moritz, Switzerland, where Moore and thousand others participated in 42 km of skiing. He wore a bright Haglöfs jacket – a very ski-specific brand. Moore was looking for a Gore technical running vest.

“I am looking for a vest with mesh material in the armpits and the back. I went to Evans Cycle to look for a cycling vest, but they told me to come here,” he said. I thought it was odd that Evans Cycle asked him to come to our shop. An Altura cycling vest would have done the job. I have one and I wear it for my evening runs.

I showed him a Gore jacket, priced at £75 at 50% discount. It wasn’t the price that he disapproved of. “That is plastic-y,” he commented as he felt the material. He said the cycling vest that he wore for the ski marathon kept him warm. It had mesh under the arms and on the back, and stopped the wind from penetrating through his top.

Good enough for me

I told him I wear my Castelli cycling jersey for running in winter, and a combination of hiking jacket and and skateboarding pants from Millets for coxing. We both agreed cycling vests are better at wind resistance than running vests.

I said I am training for a triathlon, though I didn’t mention I haven’t done anything for two weeks because of my injured calves.

“I did triathlon for 20 years. I am not racing anymore,” he said, implying that he is in the age bracket where he should be keeping it down. Well, Moore just did a 42 km ski marathon in 2:47.05 – on snow and ice – and has done biathlons, pentathlons, as well as the Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) competitions twice where “you ran and slept overnight on top of the mountain before you continued”.

Not bad for a veteran who is not competitive.

“You have to be agnostic about brands and types of kits,
and go with whatever works best”

I told him he might get the vest that he was looking for at Snow + Rock on High Street Kensington. “I can cycle there,” he said as he pushed his bike out. “It will take 10 minutes”.

I watched him cycle off to the more upmarket end of our working class road, and thought: if an elite athlete think nothing of mixing and matching all sorts of kits for a top level race, why should I be ashamed of doing the same for a C race?

Yup. My jumble-sale club cycling jerseys are coming out again for the evening runs.

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