Thursday, May 23, 2013

Rainy Nights

The intention of this blog isn't to shill products but I recently picked up this Castelli Leggero Jacket at MEC and I think it's changed my life. In the four days since I've bought it, I've been caught in a hard rain three times with temperatures ranging from 18°C to 6°C. The ride home tonight was a hard rain and heavy wind making it feel more like 2°C. My hands were red and stiff when I got home, but otherwise I was warm and dry. Two days ago I was riding at full pace to reach an appointment. I was expecting rain so I threw on the jacket. It didn't rain but it was warm and muggy. Yet, I arrived comfortable and dry. I had long ago given up on the practicality of breathable fabrics. I own an expensive Gore-Tex wind jacket that works well when worn over other techy breathable tops but worn in any other context it still feels as sweaty as a 70s K-way anorak.

But this is… different. I have to admit, you have to be working pretty hard to feel any sweatiness. Recently I rode across town wearing a waterproofed jacket and the sweat inside was as wet as the jacket outside from the rain. That isn't the case with this Castelli jacket. It's so surprising to throw it on and not feel clammy at all. Mind you, I haven't worn it longer than 30 minutes at a time yet and I do have one important caveat. Lately, I've been wearing a lot of Merino wool shirts and base layers, and the breathability and wicking of this material is legendary. So perhaps this jacket's performance was aided by the equally high performance of the shirts I was wearing beneath it. Still, I'm impressed. I've never really owned a piece of "performance" clothing before, other than my Castelli cycling shirt, but I'm going to say I like this brand. Of course it's more expensive than MEC's in-house products but less so than brands like Pearl Izumi. I bought this jacket for wet training rides but it's so comfortable it may become the jacket I take with me anywhere.

I will advise that you may want to go a size up for any Castelli kit. I usually wear a medium (even in close fitting cycling gear) and at 1.73m tall and 70 kg I'm not exactly a mountain of a man. Fat for a cyclist perhaps, but not tall. My Castelli cycling shirt is a size large, where other brands are a medium. Girth isn't the problem with the Castelli fit as much as the length. The Leggero jacket I bought is an XL - and even though it is roomier than the Large, it isn't much longer. Keep it in mind if you are thinking of getting one.