As much as I love riding, sometimes that love is not enough to overcome other aspects of life. This fall and winter has certainly shown it's impact upon my riding. Between rain, wind and children I simply haven't been able to sustain the riding patterns of the last couple of years. There are just certain realities that we all face as riders. It is hard to get geared up to ride to work when it's 40 degrees, with heavy rain falling, and gusty wind conditions. Add in the need to haul a child to some event, and all of the sudden, the car becomes the most attractive option.
I admit, I compounded the problem by deciding to get fit last year. That decision has been a good one, and the results are good, but running gear and riding gear are not generally a good match, with few places to change at the various trailheads. Somewhere along the way, I decided that I needed to get back to basics in terms of my gear choices, and to a lesser degree my entire life style.
It is time to do more with less.
I recently finished my second marathon since I began running in February of 2012 ( pictured is mile 16 with the best cheering section one could ask for ). That year has been full of learning. Most of that learning has been about myself, and assumptions that simply haven't born out. You see, part of the assumption was that because of the damage done when I was young that I would be unable to transition into running with any effectiveness. I will never be 'fast', but I can run well enough that I can finish. Another part of the education is that you can get by with less gear if you pick and choose your gear better, and much of it can server double duty.
For riding, I have always advocated base layers for effective warmth. The lesson learned in the last year is that all base layers are not created equal, and you do not necessarily get what you pay for. While there are some great brands out there, some of them certainly get a price premium for products that simply aren't *that* much better. Under Armour and Nike are such icons in sporting goods, that you almost assume they are some of the best. Truth is, that both are better than some of the discount stuff, but not always, and rarely enough to justify the 5 or 6x the price.
That said, good base layer stuff makes a great transition between running and riding, and more importantly you can wear it to get to the trail, shed the over layers, workout, cool down, relayer and head home. Products like 180s.com QuantumHeat products are a good example. Not quite into the $$$ price range of good Nike or UA gear, but excellent quality in the middle $$ prices. Then of course there is the $ generic branded stuff at places like Academy Sports in their house brand BCG stuff. If the budget is tight, these are good products for use in base layers.
Over the coming weeks, I am taking a divergent path, looking at dressing for the weather and living as 2 wheeled commuter not from the aspect of the riding, but from how we can dress for the ride and still be presentable at work.