There is a massive difference between excellent kit and average kit.
I’m very lucky to be able to wear very good kit, and it does make a big difference as to what you can rely on. It’s my livelihood because every week I get ill is another week when I’m not training to my maximum, and I’m not pushing myself to reach my potential. That all adds up.
You need to invest in the right kit which will deliver the right functionality for the riding you’re doing. Clothing technology has come on so much, and there’s so much research and development from all the big brands, including Le Col, around what actually works and how you can balance a garment to regulate temperature and be wicking but without having the boil-in-a-bag effect.
Good winter clothing is an investment. When you do a long ride and it’s raining for hours, then a fully waterproof, seam-taped jacket may be expensive but it’s the only thing that’s going to keep you warm. A lot of recreational riders won’t put themselves through those conditions, unless they’re really committed, but for those of us who have to do it every now and again, either in racing or training, the right kit makes a big difference.
It’s about marginal gains. You’ve only got so much power, so much fitness, and so much energy, so if you have kit that’s fit for purpose then it’s one less detail to think about.