One of the amazing things about commuting everyday is how tuned in you get to the weather and choosing kit. Layering up or down follows a natural rhythm that I seldom have to think about. On the peninsula South of San Francisco it's only when the rains come that choices become more difficult. You all know rain and a little wind can quickly turn even a mild fall ride into a core chilling grind if you get soaked.
Today's commute promised a cloudy cool trip to the office and rain on the way home. Scott from Australia, who blogs about his training and racing at SEVere Motivation was asking in yesterday's comments about jacket choices. Was I more concerned about temperature or precipitation when figuring out which to go with?
Well, today I chose the Rapha Stowaway over the Classic Softshell for two reasons. First with temps in the low 60s the heavier Classic would definitely have been too hot for the ride in. I calculated that even if the afternoon forecast for blowing rain materialized, the 50 minute trip home wouldn't soak me through and I'd be warm enough with base layer and cross jersey underneath. I paired the Stowaway with the Black Fixed Shorts giving the latter a racier edge.
So how did the day work out? The morning trip was uneventful; it was just starting to sprinkle as I rolled up to the office, dry and comfortable. The ride home produced the wind and steady rain that had been forecast. The Stowaway did a decent job keeping my core dry, only the arms and shoulders of the cross jersey underneath were wet when I peeled things off. Since this was my first time wearing the new Stowaway in the rain, I'd rate its effective water repellence at one hour.
I wish my shoes and socks had faired as well. The tops of the Merino socks provided a perfect wicking surface down into my Specialized Defrosters. I forgot to tuck the tops inside the 3/4 boots, it makes a big difference.
Aside from Rapha's obvious good looks I hope to demonstrate the multiple layering options the line provides in the days ahead. Here are two variations I might go with for longer rides under similar conditions. I've worn the Classic Softshell directly over the Merino Baselayer before (the long sleeve Fixed Baselayer would be perfect). Alternatively I'd also try the Stowaway Jacket directly over the BaseLayer topped with the new Winter Gilet to focus on core warmth.
I spent a solid ten minutes hosing road grime off myself and the bike when I got home. It was twice as bad as Saturday.