Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wool wear for a rainy day on the bicycle

Today was one of those days when smart cyclists took one look at the forecast, rolled over and went back to sleep.

And the not-so-smart cyclists? A laurel and hardy crowd of about 20 lined up for the overcast start of today’s N.C. Bike Club Spring Rally. Several of the local randonneurs – me, Branson, Jerry and Dean - had signed up to sag the event. The NCBC leaders must be on to us – they know we’ll show and ride in any conditions short of an F5 tornado.

However, maybe even some of our crowd are slowly wising up. Jerry bagged out early with the flu, although he was on hand to drive sag on the 60-mile route. Branson showed up in street clothes. I never did find out what ailment he had, but he drove sag on the 40-miler and flipped burgers at the finish. Thus the incorrigible sweep team of Dean and Yours Truly cracked the whip on the 60-mile loop.

As it turns out, we picked up a third sweep in the parking lot. A woman named Tracey was running a few minutes late and was still gearing up as the crowd rolled out of the Apex community park. Dean and I waited on her as she loaded up. We’d ride the rest of the day with her. She was a strong rider and good company. And so our little threesome managed to make the best out of a cold and soggy day. What started as a light sprinkle slowly picked up steam. By ride’s end we were in a veritable downpour.

I had to ask: what brought her out in these conditions? She owned up that she had a big birthday coming up and planned to celebrate by riding from coast to coast? After watching her dogged determination, suffering through what she said was her “most challenging day,” I have no questions about her ability to achieve that noble goal.

As we finished up, I told Dean that today’s ride was actually a good “dry run" for my wet/cold weather gear. The fact is, I don’t get out in the wet stuff often enough. We have so many good cycling days here in North Carolina, and like most other riders I pick and choose, rolling over and going back to sleep when the forecast looks bleak.

So: here’s what worked today.

* Boure’ wool base layer. This 100% extra fine Merino wool base layer is one of two wool base layers I reviewed for

* Wabi woolen jersey. The more I wear this, the more I like. A fantastic product. This may be the best jersey I've ever owned. Period. I have the red one, which I also got as a review product for

* Joneswares wool tights. Deb Jones sent a pair of these to try out. A perfect choice today. My legs felt warm and dry all day. I'm a big fan of Joneswares products. My new favorite is the merino wool lightweight base layer with short sleeves.

* Smartwool thick socks. The feet stayed warmed -- and mostly dry, thanks to these socks and the extra long Berthoud fenders on my Coho.

* Joneswares wool helmet liner. I wear this religiously in cool weather. It fits with ease under the helmet and keeps my bald head warm.


bullcitybiker said...

Why was I in street clothes? 'Cause they're even better than wool at keeping you warm and dry! See you in Spartanburg- Branson

Anonymous said...

Bull City: Thank goodness. I was afraid you'd caught the fleche flu. Get well soon. I'm counting on your vote.

Hillary Clinton