As you know, the first shipment of the Velominati kit arrived last week and the reception has been universally enthusiastic by the recipients (with the exception of Brett, who loves the look but is at least two months from peaking and too fat to climb). Some of the most well-received details are the orange DutchMonkey cuffs on the sleeves and legs, the various placements of the Obey the Rules logo, and last but not least, the three Rules emblazoned upon the right thigh.
After having worn the kit in training several times during the week, with the arrival of the weekend came time to put the kit through it's paces and see how it held up on a bigger ride and in bad weather. So, when Sunday came around, my Velomihottie and I jumped in the car, took the ferry across Puget Sound and parked at the base of the Olympic Mountains outside Port Angeles, Washington. On the menu was a ride up and down Hurricane Ridge; not an epic climb by any means, but a solid 30km uphill with about a 1500 meter gain in elevation.
Skies were overcast in Seattle as we left, but our spirits were high knowing that the so-called “rain shadow” on the Olympic Peninsula would likely yield better weather than what we had in town. It turns out the rain shadow is a load of bullocks, and the closer we got to the mountains, the more steadily the rain fell. Enter Rule #9: we parked, kitted up, each tucked a vest into our jersey, and headed up the mountain.
The mountains along the Pacific Coast are unique in the sense that their base is nearly at sea level, while their peaks are still considerably above the snow line. This means that as you climb (or descend), you often will experience weather zones that are much more pronounced than in inland mountains, such as the Alps or the Pyrenees; we started in the pouring rain, then moved into the fog (riding through tunnels in a dense fog is an experience that can only be described as “trippy”), and through a dry zone before passing the snow line and into the freezing temperatures where it was snowing at the summit. It also turns out that the name “Hurricane Ridge” was not a sarcastic one. Needless to say he descent was Gavia cold (descending through tunnels in a dense fog while shaking uncontrollably is an experience that can only be described as “scary as fuck”).
And that's where the kit really shines: every time my head dropped, ready to let up or get wimpy about either the wet or the cold (or the wet and the cold), my eyes would fall upon the three Rules on my thigh, and I would just get on with the work at hand. I found Rule #10 particularly meaningful while climbing, when your mind starts making idiotic posits like, “this fucking hurts, and I'm going fucking slow.”
For those of you who are in for the next kit order (being placed on Monday), you can rest assured that you will be most satisfied with this fine product. Aside from being (dare I say) most stylish, it is also incredibly comfortable – definitely the most comfortable I've worn. The bibs fit like a glove, the padding just right, and the jersey molds to your body. And, in case you're wondering, the magical Castelli fabrics stay crisply white, even in the wettest of conditions.
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As the saying (almost) goes, May showers bring June flowers, so I'm expecting a very nice and flowery June here in Seattle.