Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Castelli Espresso 3 winter jacket

No excuses this year. I've never been a big fan of riding in the dead cold of winter but I've upgraded my winter cycling wardrobe this year to get my butt outside more often and spend less time on the trainer. After reviewing all of the winter jackets I decided on the Castelli Espresso 3 (last year it was called the Espresso Due). This is a seriously warm jacket, suited for lengthy winter rides. Rated from 32º to 54º F but I imagine you can ride into the high 50's due to the zippered vents on the torso and open vents at the back of the shoulders, which actually give the jacket flexibility in the arms making it less restricting. The wrists also unzip to allow your hands to slip through easily and also provide a vented mesh in case you need to cool off even more. The adjustable venting is amazing on this jacket.

While I'm not the type who listens to music while riding, it does have an MP3 pocket with cable ports for your ear piece. Three rear pockets are deep with lots of volume to carry essentials. The outside fabric is a wind proof material with a 4 way stretch. The jacket is 3 layers. The primary material is Castelli’s Windstopper® X-Fast fabric and does offer some water resistance. The 2nd layer is designed to move moisture away for the base layer, and the interior is a mid-weight fleece with a waffle like texture that keeps little pockets of warm air against your body. I'm not a fan of heavy clothing and even though this jacket is 3 layers it feels much lighter and thinner and with a single base layer should keep me toasty down into the 30"s. The collar is nice and high and extends up the back of your neck to keep cold air out. Zipper is a YKK® Camlock, and has a large tab that you can grip easily with heavy gloves. While not cheap listing at $299.00 American dollars it's worth every penny with numerous adjustments for regulating temps and comfort.
Castelli Espresso 3 in Gray / Black

Cuffs are zippered to allow your hand to
slip through and mesh for more
Front zippered vents if needed

MP 3 pocket

Back of shoulders are vented and adds flex to the
shoulders making the jacket feel unrestrictive

Rear pockets are large and deep

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pushing your limits

Why do you push your body to the limits, put yourself under such physical stress, and sacrifice your time doing it? I get these general questions all the time from colleagues that aren't into training or anything physical for that matter. They view me as kind of odd I guess and some of the looks I get are priceless.  Some people simply believe if there's no financial value in it why do it?

Training and occasionally competing has become ingrained in my persona, and I am fortunate for it. There isn’t just one reason I do it, there's many. For one it's stimulated my curiosity about the human body to where I've studied it heavily. In a sense I'm studing myself. Recently, I was talking to a friend who does some hard core mountain bike racing.  He was saying after doing these events for a number of years he still gets nervous before a race because he knows he's going to suffer like hell but afterwards he can't wait to do another. That's another part of it.

It all comes down to athletes do something very unique - we seek out discomfort. When we're uncomfortable we learn about ourselves. There's moments the physical stress begins to take you beyond what you imagine to be endurable. There’s a repeated battle against surrender where mental strength accumulates and you develop an absolute conviction that giving up is never an option. You go places the untrained will never reach. Racing and training is very similar to life... hard. The mental positives you develop have a way of entering other facets of your life. That's the big payoff. It's truly unfortunate but the majority of the general population will never experience what that feels like. And lastly, at least for me, it simply makes me feel alive.
A little suffering never hurt anyone