Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Welcome to the machine

No fancy pictures today. Just words. Words about something. Not sure what, yet.

Maybe about stress management. Maybe not.

Maybe about hopes and dreams. Maybe not.

Maybe about fishing. Yeah, there'll probably be some fishing talk here. It's on my mind lately. That as teaching.

Or maybe I'll spend some time talking about gear. Because I am a bit of a gear head. Though, admittedly, I am also cheap, so I try to get as much gear as I can second hand or at deep discounts.

I've already posted about my essentials - the iPod, GPS, and etc. However, today I want to talk about the other essential gear for the daily commute. I want to talk fashion. Or kit, at any rate.

First off, let me say I am not a spandex guy. Not my bag, baby. I'm also generally not a fan of jerseys either - though they are growing on me the more I force myself to wear them. I want to focus this post on the kits I wear for different weather conditions. Living in Alaska means that you pretty much have to have weather on the mind regularly.

I start each morning by looking at my weather station to see what the wind is doing and what the temp is at so that I can adjust my kit as need be. This isn't quite as important in the summer, but I still do it as I've been frozen out when looking outside, seeing the sun shining bright and then realizing too late that 48 degrees is not tank top and shorts weather.

The kits described here are baselines. They change as the seasons progress. Early in the season I tend to either over or under dress - when it first starts to warm up in the spring, a thirty degree day feels ripe for shorts and a tee shirt, while when things start cooling down in the fall I'll throw on long sleeves if it dips below 50.

Summer kit:
This one is really a no-brainer as there are few consequences in the summer if you aren't dressed properly. Too many clothes - just remove some. Not enough? It is not as likely you'll end up hypothermic in air temps above 50. My general summer kit, then, is:
Chamois shorts - I prefer either a mesh-based mountain version or a light road version by Castelli. This is an older version I picked up at a thrift shop, washed twice and am now wearing the hell out of. My problem with most mountain chamois shorts is that they tend to fit a bit looser and the pad then slides around a bit. I don't find this happening with road shorts.

Overshorts - Like I said, not a big fan of spandex so I cover mine with a baggy short. My favorites are the Novara Exposure shorts. I like the pocket set up on these shorts, the way they stretch and the fact that they are secured by a snap rather than elastic alone. I cut the liner out and use the shorts over whatever liner I choose. These shorts also shed light mist well and tend to not wet out as fast as shorts I own by Perl Izumi and Cannondale.

Socks - In the summer I favor acrylic socks. Lately I've been wearing some C9 socks and they work nicely, though could be a bit higher on the ankle. Not too picky on these

Poly tank top - I tend to wear undershirts of some sort no matter what. I like being able to keep my butt crack from showing. I have an old New Balance tank I wore when I was a runner. Works well under other shirts - light weight and wicking. Also, if it gets too hot out, I'll remove my over shirt and just rock the tank.

Poly tee-shirt. Strangely my favorite shirt for riding in is a cheap Old navy poly tee I picked up years ago. I recently found a nearly new Perl Izumi jersey at the local thrift shop and I really like that for trail rides. I tend to shy away from jerseys on the commute as wearing tech materials from head to toe already marks me as a crazy. That and the fit of jerseys just doesn't flatter my gut or moobs.

Spring/Fall kit:

In the spring and fall I tend to stick to many of the same pieces as in the summer, but with the addition of the following items:

Novara Tempest Tights. I love these tights- Warm, water resistant, and stretchy in all the right places. I do have some complaints about these tights though - First, no pockets of any type. Second, they fit in such a way that I cannot layer under them, and it's not practical to layer on top. Third, and most distressing - the seat seams on these lasted about two rides before they started wearing away and fuzzing up. Now it looks like I have a merkin on my butt... not a good look.

REI windflyte shirt or jacket. I have both versions. The shirt is suitable for cool days. The jacket for cold or wet days. I also wear the jacket in the dead of winter with layers under it.

Mountain Hardware or Outdoor Research liner gloves. A bit warmer than the Fox Digit gloves, which aren't meant to keep fingers warm anyway.

Do rag - this is a funny one - found a do rag on the ground, looked at it and said to myself "this is just what I need when it is too cold for no hat, but not cold enough for the doubled up Buff or the fleece hat. Yeah, I'm not above wearing something I've found on the ground. Liberal washing took place before wearing. Just saying.

Winter kit:

I'll hold off on this one until winter is actually here as it changes so much each day based on the weather.

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