This has been a year to remember for the weather. Most of you will think of the rain but what drives the rain is the wind. It started windy and got windier. Anyone road racing on the motor circuits of Goodwood and Dunsfold will know just how tough it has been. I used to say that I couldn’t ride in the wind but that would have meant that I could ride in Sussex. Like all of us I have just got used to it.
I had a cold. It is very rare for me to be ill but Saturday my nose ran all day and I ached all over. My ride home in the rain was an ordeal. An early night, plenty Lemsip and no early morning alarm was the order of the night. I didn’t actually feel too bad in the morning so, after a lay in, I decided to take an easy ride, nice and easy.
I had the De Rosa Merak and my new Gore Alp X 2.0 Windstopper jacket to test. It was windy and the sun was shining: perfect. Always head into wind first if you can. I was going to ride to Littlehampton then via Ford to Arundel and back home through Lyminster.
The Merak is a 55cm and seems to fit perfectly but I haven’t set the handle bars or shifters up correctly so I preferred to ride either in the drops or with my wrists flat on the bars. The resulting positioning was nice a low and low is good into wind. I haven’t ridden it hard so can only comment on the comfort. It is really smooth for a race bike. I need to take it on a fast twisty down hill is the steering is different to my Cento Uno. That will mean a ride up to the Surrey Hills. Sounds like a good excuse for a longer trip. It does have heaps of
Italian sex appeal. The wheels are Fulcrum Racing Quattros which are a 35mm deep section so probably assisted riding in the wind and certainly felt stable cornering. These are an amazing set of hoops for £299, a good value upgrade for most bikes and even OK on the Merak. At 1710g and with a better hub than the Racing 5 they are going to be a bestseller for 2013. There is even a double seal CX version. I’ll fit something lighter (my Racing 1s) for a full test on the Merak.
The wind seemed against me all the way along the coast but not too bad, I sort of got blown to Arundel and then home. I wasn’t cranking it up so was really surprised to see that I’d averaged 20mph/32kph . Nice work considering that I was taking it easy with my nose running all the way. So for once after all those gruelling 2012 windy races the weather finally worked for me. Or was it the bike?
Here is the ride: Strava
I like Gore Windstopper as it is windproof (the most important factor in keeping warm), it is very breathable and, whilst not sold by Gore as water proof, it is water proof enough for me. According to Gore, Windstopper is about as waterproof as Event. I have replaced my Endura Convert jacket with a Gore Windstopper Alp X 2.0 Zip-off. It costs £69.99 more and is approximately £69.99 better. The Endura Convert is a great jacket. The fit is snug, it is wind proof, shower proof, comfortable and really well designed with the number, size and shape of the pockets. Add to that the flexibility to convert it to a gilet; it is, pretty much, the perfect jacket. So why change? Well, you may have notice that this year it has been wet and I have not shirked from riding despite the conditions. I don’t like riding in fully waterproof garments as they tend to “sweat up” but I do need some wet weather protection. The Alp X is everything that the Convert is: snug fit, windproof, convertible, good pockets, but more breathable and more water proof. One thing that it doesn’t have that the Endura does have is a hole in the breast pocket for headphone cables, easily sorted with some scissors.
So which is best? Well if you have the extra £69.99 go for the Gore Alp X but if you still don’t have decent base layers and gloves get the Endura Convert and save up for those other winter essentials.
Finally, my feet were actually a bit too warm with Northwave Fahrenheit boots.