Sunday, December 30, 2012

Clothing makes the man.

This is a great jacket.  Really.  And it may have not made this man anything other than warmer and happier, but I will take that in spades!  I found a great deal on what I think is last year's version of the Gore Phantom 2.0 jacket pictured here and bought it as a Christmas present from the wifey to me.  Mine is just as obnoxiously yellow but I will not be overlooked on the trail!

I was looking for that much coveted single winter overgarment that will allow me to climb without being a human sauna and still not be a popsicle on the descents.  In So Cal we have a typical 'binge and purge' riding experience where we get right out of the gate and climb, climb, climb, then drop like a stone.  That makes for a difficult scenario to dress for.  It also gets windy here, very windy and typically that is a cold wind.  Maybe not Minot, ND, cold and windy, but still it will do to make you miserable on a longer ride.

And I tend to suffer consequences when my core temps drop or even are made to feel chilly.  I have a mild case of Raynaud's, a malady that affects circulation in the extremities.  It is triggered when the body thinks it is going to be getting cold, like when cold air moves across a sweat soaked chest on a bike ride.  So my little piggies will go dead numb like right now even when I am not that cold anywhere else.  It sucks.

So this Gore jacket has been flat out amazing and may well be the single best piece of Fall/Winter gear I have in my closet.  I have four rides on it now in temps in the low 40s to the mid 50s, all in the wind.  I have worn it so far each time with only a thin long sleeve base layer under it and above wool knickers but that has been it for upper body layers...the base and the Gore Phantom II.  The first ride was a revelation.  No wind got through the jacket from the front at all and I was not overheated but it was an easy ride.  Still, I had hopes.

The next ride was on a mid to low 50s temp day with strong winds and we climbed for 45 minutes or so pretty much on a constant grade.  I was on the SS, so I was putting out some wattage.  I never felt like I was over heating and when we flipped the ride around and dropped at 25mph back to the cars, I added warmer gloves and a warmer head cover but kept the jacket on as the only top coat.  I never was uncomfortable and even at the bottom, where I could feel the cold creeping through the jacket, I was quite comfortable.  Simply amazing.

Today the ride began on a mid to upper 40s day with strong winds.  During the ride it rained and hailed as a cell moved over us.  I did a one hour loop that climbs then drops as usual and the Gore jacket was a sweet deal, I tell ya.  I was just beginning to feel that I needed another layer under the jacket as the temps dropped into the 30s, but I bet a light fleece or merino light-to-mid weight jersey over the base layer and I would have been good well into the 30s.  As it was, the light rain/sleet and hail beaded up and the wind never penetrated the jacket.  It rocked.

Now why do I write all this?  Well I guess that, if you are thinking about spending $180.00 on a single piece of technical clothing, you may like to know it works.   I got this on sale for less than half that, but honestly, after having this for a while now, I would pay full boat for it.  I like it that much.

As for the Raynauds, today was a day that would normally have me with white and frozen digits by the end of the ride and it really seems to have helped by not having the wind be a factor in dropping my core body temp.

Every so often I get a product that meets and then exceeds my expectations and this jacket has done that in spades.

Thanks Gore Wear.

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