The $10,000 Bike and The $100 Jacket

Milan Sanremo Cold

Was Gerald Ciolek the best dressed man in Sanremo? This isn’t about fashion but workwear because when it’s snowing and there’s a race on, your clothing can make all the difference. Some riders suffered wardrobe malfunctions and abandoned whilst others rode on thanks to a range of kit that went from improvised helmet covers to mysterious non-team issue black jackets. Of course the race results weren’t down to clothing alone but the right kit helps.

One thing that stands out is the way riders start a race with all sorts of aerodynamic advantages only for it to rain and they don a jacket that billows, flaps and creases to make them look like the Michelin man.

Milan-Sanremo was exceptional with cold temperatures and wet snow. The peloton went into survival mode with riders dressed in everything they could find to combat villainous wet snow. But wet and cold weather is not the stuff of legend, every year the pro peloton crosses the more extreme parts of Europe and races at altitudes where snow lingers all year.

The Incredible Bulk
Our sport is rightly obsessed by weight and aerodynamics. There’s a big focus on product design, especially frames and wheels. Clothing plays a significant too and there have been gains in recent years with the adoption of Lycra-based jerseys to hug the figure.

But all the R&D spend, hours in the windtunnel and marketing promises seem water-soluble because when it rains the riders reach for their rain jacket. Even when riders pick a size to fit tight on the chest the sleeves are often cut so generously Ian Stannard could fit a leg inside. As a result riders might have their aero bikes and special wheels but their upper body resembles the Michelin man and all those aero advantages are lost thanks to a billowing jacket.

Nunc est Bibendum

Rain is hardly a freak event. Whether you are a pro racing around Europe or a commuter obliged to ride to work from Monday to Friday it’s certain that you’ll get soaked several times a year. Given this it’s remarkable that all the aerodynamic advantages from bike tech get wiped out by a $100 plastic jacket that seems to have changed little from the 1980s. In fact you can find jackets for $10 but let’s run with $100 for the team edition versions as they have more breathable fabrics and other valued-added features.

It’s no criticism of the riders. When it’s cold and wet you grab what’s available. A flapping jacket? Who cares because it’s that or hypothermia.

Gabba Dabba Do
One solution to the wet and cold is the Gabba jacket by Italian company Castelli, so popular that teams sponsored by rival clothing companies were using the black jackets by Castelli, albeit without the trademark scorpion logos. Other teams like OPQS seem to have their own copycat version. Here’s David Millar:

The jacket’s name comes from Norways’s Gabriel Rasch, today a rider with Team Sky but in the past a member of the Cervélo Test Team which was sponsored by Castelli. The team’s riders sat down with the clothing manufacturer in 2009 and “Gabba” Rasch proved necessity is the mother of invention when he suggested the idea of a waterproof racing jersey. Easier said than done and it took time to find the right materials which would stretch over the body, offer protection against the rain yet let sweat steam out to avoid the “boil in the bag” feel of simply wearing a tight-fitting plastic wrap.

The Gabba does seem to be one of the first solutions here but before this turns into an advertorial for Castelli, it’s imperfect. It’s a jersey so it won’t roll up that tight to fit in a backpocket and even the most confident rider will think twice before riding along whilst putting the top on as the sleeves are tight. So, unlike our cheap jacket, once the Gabba is on it tends to stay on. There are other choices, for example Mavic offer a rain jacket that includes stretchable panels so that it fits closer to the body whilst Rapha use cuffs and collars to stop the wind blowing inside.

The Rules

All these black jackets are illegal. No, you won’t get stopped by the cops but the UCI has two rules here, first the numbers have to be visible and second all these black jackets and jerseys we see are not allowed, they have be transparent or in the same style as jersey.

The Free Market?
Glance at ads for clothing and they’re often promoting a dreamy summer ride. Unlike the pros, many consumers of bike clothing don’t have to ride when the weather is foul. We can safely expect nearly every cicloamatore near Ovada stayed indoors yesterday whilst the pro peloton road past before the race was stopped. Does this mean there’s just a reduced market for this kind of clothing? And that consumers who will ride in icy temperatures when it’s also very damp aren’t after speed so there’s no point in producing special performance gear?

There are some companies with wet weather gear though. The main problem might not be the gap between pro and amateur but the limited choice of materials. Making a rain jacket that can be pulled on and off whilst riding in the middle of a peloton is one thing but making it lightweight, tight-fitting, waterproof and breathable all at the same time? We’re not there yet although you can now get three out of four options.

As it happens, MTN-Qhubeka didn’t have any extra-special rainwear

It seems Ciolek didn’t get any special clothing. The MTN-Qhubeka team rode in rain jackets that flapped in the wind like everyone else and the German won thanks to endurance and smart tactics.

The 2013 Milan-Sanremo was exceptional for its wintry conditions but riders face rain and cold all year round. Sunday won’t be the last time we see the snow. Whilst we wow at special products like Cervélo RCA, all the cutting-edge technology involved in saving every watt and gram is undermined when you’re wearing a flapping jacket and your clothes are soaked with water. Of course you have to keep warm and the windchill effect of cycling means hypothermia is not far away if you don’t dress right for a long race, it’s better to ride on warm that fade with the cold.

There are some solutions and Castelli’s Gabba gets bought by teams who aren’t sponsored by the Italian brand, the ultimate product endorsement. But there are still gains to be had here – imagine clothes that don’t take on water – and there’s a competitive advantage for the teams with the warmest, driest and most aero kit. It could even make some riders look forward to the rain.

90 thoughts on “The $10,000 Bike and The $100 Jacket”

  1. The OPQS “copycat version” of the Gabba is actually Vermarc/Santini Acquazero, which has been available for a couple of years now. It’s use in the pro peloton seems new, however.

    • That’s probably why the pros want the real Gabba: it’s windproof as well. Note that Castelli doesn’t claim it to be totally waterproof. It’s made for racing in the cold and wet, and to make you as fast and comfortable in those conditions. I end up using it in the dry mostly because the great breathability, great fit, light weight and full wind proofness make it good in moderate conditions. Full disclosure-I work at Castelli.

      • I’ve tested the Gabba for two and a half years in mid Portland, Oregon. For most conditions, including the rain, it’s all I wear during the winter. I love my Gabba more than any other winter piece that I own because it’s so breathable. I am warm and dry on the inside.

  2. So is the UCI ever going to take someone out of a race or disqualify them because their jacket is not the right color? Or will it be limited to a 100 CHF fine?
    Regarding the jacket challenge, I would think that something that is windproof, combined with a jersey that stays warm when wet, will do as well. That is a lot easier to make compatible with the rest of the demands than a full waterproof jacket.

  3. To be fair, the aero bike/wheel advantage remains even when you don the rain jacket, especially if everyone has on a rain jacket!

    But yes, some ‘skin-jackets’ would be tite. pun intended.

    • It would get heavy, no? Neoprene wetsuits for diving and surfing work by holding water against the skin and insulating. You could be warmer and there are some neoprene garments but you’d be very heavy and it would breathe much either.

      • Sailing kit (excluding socks and boots) is allowed to weight up to 7kg when soaked through- that’s westuit, any undergarments, over tops, jackets, hats, buoyancy aids etc.
        I can confirm that neoprene garments are not very breathable. They’re also not very windproof. This isn’t an issue for divers, not much of an issue for surfers, but for us sailors who try to stay out of the water, and get wetter as it gets windier, it is an issue- hence we tend to have distinctly non-tight fighting wind proof tops.

        • Neoprene by design is not suppose to be breathable, but you incorrectly identify it as not being windproof…It is in fact is windproof (.. because it is not breathable unless perforated). For warmth, neoprene needs to fit tight to the body, trapping a film of water/moisture to the body…hence, the term “wetsuit”… As an example of the effectiveness of a wetsuit outside of an aquatic environment…NFL player routinely have used the T1 wetsuit top (triathlon wetsuit product) under their uniform in subzero games (tight fitting, very flexible, effective insulator). With extremely stretchable, supple, and thin (>1mm to 5+mm thicknesses), the material has promise, albeit limited… The deal breaker in this type of application would be the fragile nature, and lack of durability of the applicable grades of neoprene.

          • From many years of experience, double lined neoprene really isn’t that windproof- the large surface area causes issues with evaporation which leads to cooling. It really is noticeable. Unlined neoprene is only of use if it is the outside of the “block” that it is made in- this is used for triathlon wetsuits where the smooth skin is desirable and there’s less to catch and nick the surface- therefore trisuits are horrifically fragile things.

            of bigger concern with cycling in those conditions is surely the lycra/spandex shorts. Received wisdom now in dinghy sailing is that a lycra layer on its own, when wet, is a cooling, not insulating, layer. Do the team shorts come in polypro/”roubaix” material?

          • Al__S – the bibs do come in a “roubaix” material; fleeced or fleece-lined lycra essentially. Here, Castelli another useful innovation in the Nanoflex material. The roubaix-type material has been impregnated with silicone to add water resistance. The material is not waterproof, but in a light shower or spray off the road you can see the water bead on the fabric. I think Girodana has a similar product line out now that they’re calling “G-Shield”.

    • The Gabba is wetsuit-ish, isn’t it?

      I think I spotted Assos rainbooties on Luca Paolini yesterday, btw. And Katusha is Santini-sponsored.

      • Magnus Backstedt was talking about this on the commentary. He mentioned that he used to cut old wetsuits up and use them as knee protectors when it was cold, but also that he was exploring some new clothing with his wetsuit sponsor.

        Not sure what that could be though, as he then made the point about the warm water and weight effect. I have neoprene overshoes and they do just give you warm and wet feet.

      • The Gabba may look like a wetsuit but in fact uses a stretch waterproof breathable membrane. If it were neoprene you really couldn’t stand to ride in it since neoprene doesn’t breathe enough.

  4. Inrng, you may not be able to roll up the Gabba, but there is another potenial solution. They do a convertible where the sleeves come off and it turns into a short sleeve jersey. To be fair Gore do something similar too.

  5. Hmm I don’t know why they don’t just wear a trash bag UNDER the jersey. When its raining and cold just poke some holes and pop it on under the skinsuit and you can keep your core temp from plunging. You can even poke a few holes in the front for venting if you would like.

      • Carefully being the key word there, unlike Chris anke Sorensen, who shredded his fingers while pulling the paper out of his spokes in a fast descent.

      • Do riders still get newspapers handed to them at the top of climbs to stick up their jersey for the descents?

        It seems that in recent years’ TV coverage you don’t see it as much….

      • The garbage bag is an elegant solution, ATMO. My team was caught in a horendous rainstorm at the 2012 NE Rapha Gent’s Race, where the temp plunged over 10 degrees celsius very quickly. We hit a general store, and donned garbage bags underneath our jerseys, right next to the skin. Then we prayed for a big climb. Once we got working hard again, we were comfortable. Other riders were hypothermic. I can honestly say I have seldom felt the degree of joy that garbage bag provided me. The rest of the ride was beautiful. Many Itidabike racers use the garbage bag method, with insulation over top, and they don’t even deal with rain. There is a case to be made for locking body heat in.

  6. My Gabba short sleeve top and long bib are my top purchases of the last year and I use them weekly in all sorts of conditions, rain and snow included. Paired with a wool undershirt and decent arm warmers like Assos, I’m comfortable from 38-50, and from 50-60 without the undershirt. The matching arm warmers from Castelli are not up the same level of quality; I had 2 pair come apart on me within a week – they are just too fragile. For under 40, I slip on a light jacket and voila, nice and toasty and pretty aerodynamic too! I was surprised to see so few balaclavas which would have helped prevent heat loss.

    • The Sturmprinz rain jacket is supposed to be a pretty good rain jacket, yes. But still it catches a lot more wind than the Castelli Gabba/Nanoflex combo the Astana rider is wearing.

  7. I always laugh when you see big money spent on clothing and at the end of the day riders are simply pissing themselves trying to get a bit warmer.

    • which neatly transfers heat from the core (where it is needed) to the skin (where it isn’t so much) whilst also (if it isn’t at that moment raining hard) making for more evaporation (heat loss). It feels warm briefly.

  8. I’ve got a Louis Garneau rain jacket that is a nice compromise. It’s a bit stretchy, reasonably snug fitting, fairly waterproof (I’ve ridden in 2 hour rainstorms with it), has rear pockets, is translucent (for the number), and I can still take it off or put it on while riding. It’s non-flappy enough that I bring it as a cold-weather shell on variable days. The thing cost maybe $60? One of my better purchases of 2012.

    I’ve got no connection to LG, just wanted to shine a light on a well done product in an arena that (as you well point out) would do well to consider aerodynamics a bit.

    • Last shop I worked in had a few of those on the rack. I meant to pick one up before my departure. Well thought out and nicely made. I always check out the clear rain jackets just because they so infrequently get better but always look cool to me. It’s like number tabs on toptubes. Cool, pro and I have no need for it, hence desirable. Haha.
      The bike biz is indeed comical in many ways.

    • Unfortunatly my Louis Garneau rain jacket as described, tore where the velcro was fastened near the collar after using only a few times. I have not been able to repair this successfully. I will not risk buying another.

  9. The Garmin boys were wearing the Pocket Liner jacket (the gray jacket in the pictures by Castelli) as well. Not anywhere near as aero as the Gabba, but still way more aero than say what the MTN guys were wearing. That jacket fits relatively well due to the plisse sections on the back and sleeves, is eVent fabric so breathes super well and is completely waterproof, and is pretty darn light. Will also fit into a jersey pocket (just barely). Best rain jacket out there when staying dry is the priority.

  10. I was wondering, does the aerodynamics really matter that much in these conditions?

    As a protected rider you are (hopefully) well sheltered, so the ability to take the jacket off for the crunch time seem more important and I doubt there are any benefits from wearing a tighter jacket. Also if there is a lot of uphill one could argument being lighter is better too. And as for being a helper, I’m also not sure, if there is a significant benefit. Since one will be going a bit slower at these conditions, my guess is, they will be using the same amount of energy as compared to a dry day with tight clothes and faster average. Now you could say if they safe a few more Watt they will be able to help their leaders longer, but I’m not sure about that. Because at that point the leaders pull out the big guns and are on their own anyhow, no matter which kind of weather. The fitness of the riders and the team tactics and communications are that far advanced that they usually deliver their top shots to the finale and for that the jackets are gone. And during training the extra resistance in extra effort.
    So, I think the ability to take the jackets off during a race and especially staying dry and warm are more important that that little bit of extra aerodynamics, since i fairly doubt there any gains for the professionals.
    For the commuter without the pro fitness, which I’d say are 99% of them, it is something different, but are they willing/able to pay for such products, would that be financially attractive/reasonale product for the manufacturers, since as you hinted, it is a bit like the search for the holy grail.

    • I forgot to mention, the additional energy spent in these conditions I fairly believe are due to temperature and wetness and not because of extra drag.

    • It is often assumed that aero gains are nullified while drafting. My understanding is that this assumption is simply wrong.

      They are reduced somewhat, due to the more turbulent air and because a slightly lesser proportion of the energy being used is used to fight rolling resistance rather than aerodynamic drag, but they certainly don’t go away.

      The difference in aero drag between a jersey and a crappy rain jacket are just enormous. Try doing the same (straight) descent with and without the jacket and you’ll go several km/h faster without.

      • Never said there was no drag when riding in the bunch and I know and don’t questions the gains when you are alone in the wind or in a paceline. But in a huge peloton I’m still not sure if aero is that important in comparison to water proof, keeping warm, being breathable and being able to take it off easily and fast.
        Since what really gets to you is the wetness and the cold.

        • Keeping warm and dry is the most important point, that’s why we see riders with these big jackets. But imagine if a fraction of the R&D spend dedicated to frames and wheels went towards an aero rain or thermal jacket? Then riders would get an advantage, maybe modest, on their rivals.

    • I work at Castelli and have been involved with the Gabba since that focus group with Gabriel back during the Brixia Tour in August ’09. We’ve tested the Gabba in the wind tunnel and it’s got the same aerodynamics as an old style polyester jersey like everyone was wearing before we did aero jerseys. The Gabba is about 10-12 watts slower than an aero jersey but 30 watts faster than your old style rain cape. Seeing as how these guys are averaging 270 watts for a race, yes it makes a difference. These numbers are calculated based on 45 km/h with no draft, so obviously MSR racing conditions are less. Ciolek had one on for part of the race, but not the rest of the team from what I have seen. There must be a reason why all the pros want them!

  11. Just picking the right sized jacket helps a lot. I’m 5ft11 and 170lb but my Sportful waterproof jacket is an XS. Nice and aero though.

      • I’ve got the same jacket, I’m 5’10” and 61kg. I wouldnt describe the sleeves as ‘tight’, but they are form fitting enough that they dont flap or billow. Pity the sleeves are just a bit short for me.

      • I may have the same sportful jacket (it’s called the “survival” jacket). It’s a bit too warm here in Australia to use regularly but riding all day in freezing cold rain in Tasmania a year or two back, it was a life-saver. On the same trip, Brad McGee said they got great reports from the riders on the Saxo team who helped with its development. It is not flappy – I’m a relatively small guy – it fits snug (including the arms). Not cheap but if I lived in Europe, it would be used a lot more.

        The Rapha ones look quite good in terms of “snug cut” but I assume they cost the earth.

        • I have the castelli gabba and its excellent, I have worn it so much that the beading of water on the surace has begun to reduce. I will give it a wash in Nikwax to rectify that. A jacket I also have that is excellent is the Sportful Hot Pack No Rain (same umbrella company as Castelli I believe), it is very form fitting and quite tight in the cuffs so as you suggest would be hard to remove quickly over gloves. Im 5 ft 8 (172 cm) and 62 kg. It is fully waterproof with taped seems, packs down to fit in a back pocket and has quite good breathability, still some sweat but better then been totally drenched. Very impressed with it.

  12. Not overly convinced on breathability. How is it possible to have a jacket keep out water while not trapping heat generated by the wearer? I have Sportful’s Goretex jacket and even then once the heart rate climbs you start to get damp inside. But it’s better to be wet and warm than wet and cold.

    • You’re right – nothing currently on the market can keep up with the sweat you create when riding hard. But then again it’s absurd to think that a jacket could do that when not even a light summer jersey stays dry and it’s fully breathable. As one of the Castelli guys who developed the Gabba, the team and I simply tried to make it as good as current technology allows for pros racing in cold and wet conditions. It’s not fully seam sealed because it doesn’t need to be since water will find its way in anyways. It will still get somewhat wet from the inside, but its the best functional breathability we’ve been able to get to date. It just seems to be the best combination out there currently.

  13. Worst 7hr race I did in 2 degrees and pissing it down, I stole a giant red commissaries nylon waterproof (not breathable at all). It was flapping like mad in the wind, but damnit if it didn’t keep me warm enough to pull away at the end.

    It’s better to be warm and wet in conditions like msr

    • Yes, survival first. But imagine if a rival had a very close-fitting jacket that was warm yet magically breathable and waterproof.

      Such a product might be expensive but in a world where we find frames and wheel for thousands of dollars, the performance gain from this magical jacket gives a significant advantage over the others… in their red nylon waterproofs.

      • True. I agree that cut is king in this situation, I think breathability is actually secondary though (in truly horrific conditions).

  14. Over the past year or so I have become a convert to the Assos brand,
    and find they have great gear for all conditions. The only thing missing
    in my gear is a ‘waterproof’ tight/bib-tight, which can help on a long ride
    in cold and wet conditions! So long as it is not colder than 4 celcius I prefer
    a light bibtight with an embrocation product on my legs, such as Naqi’s
    Warming Up Competition oil. Then, if it rains hard I do not have to suffer from
    heavy fleeced-inner tights sucking on my legs!
    But yeah, it’s an important observation you make, inrng!

  15. In the past 25 years or so of riding in the spring and fall weather of Southern Ontario Canada I have concluded that nothing will keep you dry over a couple of hours. Something to break the wind, a few more layers to keep the core warm combined with good gloves, head cover, neck warmer and booties is about the best you can expect. You’ll stay warm but be soaked. Don’t stop moving or you’ll freeze.

  16. I would think that it’s only us club slobs which need to really worry about the cost of a foul weather cycling gear. If you are casually accepting to be fined $150 for riding in “non-team kit equipment” the advantages out weigh the fine and the $200 for that jacket is just incidental cost of business. We are talking athletes which on average make ? make $450,000 a year! Simple logic suggest! buy a few “gabba’s” keep them in the team car and shed them like water bottles in the few long soggy races. If the club doesn’t pay for them expense them on your personal taxes as equipment to do your work.

  17. Any thoughts on Lars Baks’ “Ass Saver” type mudguard? I have one myself, it does a great job of keeping the rear end dry, but I only ever use when training, as I thought mudguards were illegal under UCI rules.

    • Six month equipment ban.

      Non compliant equipment shall see the rider banned from the use of aerodynamic wheelsets for no less than a period of six months in addition to a fine of no less than $1000 Swiss francs.
      Box rims of compliant manufacture shall be furnished by all teams for all sanctioned riders.

  18. Surprised they don’t look at the trail running gear, like Salomon and Montbell and others. They have super lightweight tight jackets that has to be carried around in back pockets until use in harsh environments like high up the mountains. Guess the cross fertilisation is not there between these two sports. Though we usually run in cycling jerseys with hardly any adjustments.

    • If you look at some podium shots you’ll see Cancellara in some bright red Salomon trail running shoes, and if I’m not mistaken they are a sponsor for leopard but only for shoes.
      Perhaps in a season’s time?

    • This is true for alpine climbing as well as trail running. You could buy some kit in Chamonix, sew some pockets on the back and have the best fitting, most technical cycling jacket available.

    • I’m with Castelli and can assure you we see nearly every fabric out there. We wanted to go lighter, but the pros want this weight to keep them warm. When they take it off, they can hand it to the team car instead of stuffing it in a small pocket like you have to in trail running. The Gabba is nothing less than a piece ideated by pros and developed for the rigors of pro racing, and that you can buy just like many of them do. But you don’t have to ruin yours with a black magic marker like they do.

  19. INRNG

    I googled your Nunc est Bibendum caption after recognizing our friends name. Nice surprise. I love the old poster art styles. 🙂

  20. I’ve spent a lot of time living in snowy climates and participating in snow sports and I know that the technical fabrics and clothing which you’re referring to already exist. The sponsors of these teams may not have them (except Castelli) or they may not be marketed as cycling products but they’re out there and quite easily purchased. As noted by HK TrailRunner above too.

    FWIW, my Campagnolo Sportswear thermal jacket would have coped (along with a woollen undershirt) in those conditions in my view. Clearly a cold and miserable day but frankly, spring weather to anyone who has lived high in the mountains or close to either pole.

  21. I would really like to know how they avoided getting snow build-up on their goggles! I ride in similar conditions for 2 moths of the year (my GBP5 Halfords unisex rain jacket being the first line of defence) but, as a spectacle wearer, I have major problems with damp snow accumulating on the lenses and completely blinding me after a few metres. If anyone has a solution I’d love to know about it.

    • They didn’t avoid it.
      Some rider said he couldn’t see through his glasses because of the ice that formed on them and he couldn’t see without them because of the freezing water spraying into his eyes.

  22. Apparently the Gabba is such a success that Rapha has bought the rights when Rasch moved to SKY according to the man himself in a recent interview with a Norwegian magazine.

  23. At the MSR, was it the Cannondale rider or the Katusha guy who had the “shoe-horn”-like rain gutter stuck to the end of his saddle? Do they make such a thing, or was it improvised? If you’ve ever done a few hours in the cold rain, then you can really appreciate such a device stopping a constant flow of cold water from creeping up your crack and lower back.

    And regarding the floppy sleeves, just one word–zippers.

      • I have one of those. Simple device which makes a ride on wet roads a whole lot more comfortable. Nulls the direct spray from the rear wheel. And it stows away nicely under the saddle too if it dries up, which is important for the style points that can be gained in the harsh environment of the weekend concours d’elegance.

    • You certainly WON’T just snap these on in seconds for a race, but if you want to RIDE your racing bike in the wet, these things are pretty good
      If you’ve got 4 mm between tire and brake in the vertical plane, these will fit and work very well. I had a set on last year down here in Sicily where it’s not so much the rain but the dirty puddles left afterwards in the many places with poor drainage. For me there’s little worse than that cold, wet feeling up the backside OR wet shoes/feet from the spray off the front wheel.

  24. As the guy wearing the flapping plastic shower cap over his helmet proved – AERO-SCHMERO..when it’s cold and wet, who cares about saving a few watts when you’re using a hell of a lot of them just to keep your body core temperature reasonable? It’s the same marketing BS as with the wheels – how many times do you see a group of riders coming to the line, one with box-section wheels, another with semi-aero wheels and another with full, slab-sided things that must be hell in a crosswind? If there was a REAL difference in saving watts, why doesn’t the guy who has the aero-est wheels always win? Thank gawd this s__t really doesn’t make much difference – it’s the legs, lungs and head…may it ever be so. 🙂

    • Did you notice Paolini riding on what appeared to be 88s? I found this surprising given the fact that the race followed the coast line and the riders surely must have been getting a lot of crosswind; it didn’t seem to help him in the finale. (Gilbert was on 35s, probably the most low profile rim employed on the day.)

  25. Pure lanolin on the knees for such conditions if your going to ride bare legged. Its old fashioned but it works, mind its a devil to clean off afterwards.

  26. Castelli did make the gabba in white with the same design as the rest of the kit for the Italian team in London, the stricter rules on olympic kits must have made them, cant seewhy they dont do the same for garmin.

  27. I was also astonished at the lack of balaclavas, headbands or winter hats to cover the ears. So much so that I was sure there must be a reason for pros leaving their ears uncovered, although I have no idea what it might be.

  28. I’m surprised no one has thought of electric jackets. We already have electric transmissions…

    Columbia, NorthFace, and others have tried their hand at it. Just need to make sure you don’t have an electrocuted peleton…

  29. For us non-pros, fenders are a doGsend. I have a pair of SKS Raceblades and while they’re not the best thing on the planet, they cut WAY down on the nasties up your back, down your legs, and even in your face. I’d like a pair of crudcatchers for next winter, but so far, so good with the Raceblades.

    I wear a Gore Oxygen jacket or a Gore Xenon AS half sleeve jacket (temp dependent) when its wet out. The Oxygen is a slim cut jacket with very little flapping in the wind. You wouldn’t think a half sleeve Gore Tex jacket would be a good thing, but when its warmer out, you don’t baste in your own juices nearly as much in it vs a full-sleeve jacket.

    Add some merino layers and you get insulation when its wet/sweaty. All was good in my little corner of the universe this winter!

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