Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cold Kit!

I finally went riding yesterday in the chilly version of what passes for winter here in NTX.  Temps in the late afternoon were hovering around 38, with about a 6mph wind.  I had a bunch of new gear I have not ridden in before, and was hopeful to give it a test.  Some of it is gear I have used in warmer weather, or used for other things beyond cycling.(What?  You mean there is life off the bike?  Surely you jest!)

The gear:
  • 2 tube bandanas (think cheap knockoffs of Buffs)
  • Cannondale Metro jacket (in Headache Yellow!)
  • Camelbak Frogs gloves (previously used for clearing brush)
  • Craft Windstopper unpadded tights 
The bandanas are a favorite of mine for warm weather cycling.  Having long hair, I find the ponytail in the way for using the headrest on the recumbent, and loose hair is annoying in the extreme.  So I pull one of these on, sort of like a dew-rag that hangs down long in back and protects the loose hair.  They're polypropylene fabric and wicking, so they work well in the Texas heat.  But they are surprisingly warm in chilly weather too!  I took the second one and wore it as a tube around my neck, and pulled it up over my nose to keep my face warm.  Worked like a charm!

The Metro jacket was a great find off ebay.  It was like-new, and a quarter of normal retail.  The jacket is a painful-to-look-at safety Headache Yellow color, with some reflective highlights.  For a DF rider, the reflective works fine.  On a bent, it is mostly useless, as the maker puts most of it on the back....which I recline on.  The jacket has one chest pocket, and two side vents, which actually work well on the bent--your arms stay warmer, and it tends to cool the core a bit better than pit-zips.  The back pocket, while very nice, is useless on a recumbent.  Oh well...that's why I have a large bag on the back of the bike!

The Camelbak gloves, formerly called Frogs (gee, just like my Speedplay pedals!), are now called Max Grip...I like Frogs better.  These were another utility item I got not specifically for cycling.  In fact cycling in them hadn't occurred to me until it got cold out and my Mechanix gloves were not warm enough.  These gloves are sweet!  Great dexterity, and warm, especially with the long coverage over wrists.  I wore them with the wrist coverage INSIDE the Metro jacket, and my hands never got cold.  Now they work great on a bent, since bent riders don't need padded gloves, as we put no pressure on our hands when we ride.  DF riders will likely experience hand pain unless they are used to riding unpadded gloves.

The last item I have been regretting buying--the Craft tights.  Now Craft is a big name in high end cycling gear and I got them new at a steal of a price, and they had Gore Windstopper fabric too, which was a big selling point for me.  I like Windstopper.  But upon receipt of the tights, I found the wicking lining was seemingly oversized, and it made the tights nearly impossible to put on.  It would twist round on itself inside the outer layer, and just seemed huge compared to the outer layer.  Drove me bugnuts!  Now the tights are well thought out in concept--just the inner layer was weird.  Externally, they have some nice reflective striping on the calves and knees.  Knees are articulated (fitted) too.  Long zips at the calves for easy on-off with shoes (theoretically anyway), are a standard item for Craft.  Still they are pointless if you cannot get them on!

However, I was determined to wear them last night.  So at ride time, I struggled and fought with them until they were subdued, and on, in a fairly comfortable position.  It was sort of hard to tell how comfortable they would stay, while riding, with the potential for the lining to shift.  When finally kitted all up, I felt vaguely like the Michelin Tire guy...!

At the end of my ride, some 86min later, I knew I had a good kit put together.  The Craft tights were especially good.  My legs never felt chilled at all!  I felt no breezes through the Windstopper fabric, and I also never felt sweaty or overheated either!  These tights ROCK!  They're just a PITA to put on...  The gloves were nice and toasty, and the Metro jacket did a good job of stopping the wind and a pretty good job of venting.  Yes, the jacket was a bit damp inside, but not so bad that I was chilled while riding.  Probably if I had unzipped the front zip some I would've stayed a bit dryer.

I had a total of just over 17mi for the ride.  Here is the Strava on it.  I even had an unexpected 3rd personal best on one of the segments.

1 comment:

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