Doing it all the hard way...

Friday, June 18, 2010

2010 Clothing Review

I am doing one of those insecure male rides this weekend. As a side note, I have never been so back and forth on whether or not to do a ride in my life. I finally tossed a coin and signed up.

This ride goes into the mountains and the elevation highs and lows for the ride are about four thousand feet different. I did this ride four years ago in sweltering heat. When I was first contemplating repeating this ride I made a clothing list assuming the same heat. In recent days the forecast has shown as much stability as the stock market so I reconsidered my list contemplating cooler temps and possible precipitation. What was amazing, and is the point of this post, is that the list was virtually unchanged.

With wicking layers and fabric microclimates, the performance modern clothing provides is truly amazing. When I was a young buck we went running in cotton T-Shirts and cotton socks. Our school sweat suits were thick double knit polyester that could be hot, excessively breezy and abrasive all at the same time. I know wool has been around forever, and some will say it has always been wonderful, but I recall it was like wearing steel wool in an active environment.

The miracle fabrics we have today make you more than comfortable. By extending the range of temperatures where you can function normally, you are effectively safer. I recall a backcountry ski trip where a light dry snowfall gave way to wet slushy mixed rain with snow, and our clothing was suddenly absorbing icy water and our core temperatures plummeted. Our trip back to the car became a race against hypothermia.

I love the images of Andy Hampsten battling his way up the Gavia, but I am so glad I can wrap my Evos in some modern clothing and enjoy a nice ride regardless of the conditions.

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