This year, Martin McKinlay is one of the Team Wiggle riders that is 'Living with Castelli'. Over the 2016 season, he'll be testing and talking about the range of triathlon and cycle apparel from the Italian brand. Here is the first instalment in his series...
This year, I've been lucky enough to be selected to live and breathe one of the top cycle apparel brands on the market - Castelli. Compared to many of the riders at Wiggle, I've only been riding a relatively short period of around 4 years; but during this period, I've always been clad in at least one Castelli garment. Its reputation for technical and stylish garments is one often spoken of in the Wiggle office, which first lead me to the brand. Its qualities on the bike, are also what lead me to use it during my previous two triathlon seasons.
3 weeks ago, the team at Saddleback delivered me a rather large selection of Castelli kit; to keep me riding in all weathers. In this first blog, I'll look at an outfit that's perfect for the springtime; a period that's often tricky to dress for when riding long hours in the saddle.
The Castelli Perfetto Light SS Jersey
You can't watch a Spring Classic without seeing one of the famous Castelli Gabba 2 Jerseys. The first bit of kit in many pro's bag; it's even been spotted on the backs of non-sponsored riders (with the logos blanked out!). Improving this garment wasn't an issue for Castelli; so they looked to create a lighter-weight jersey, with all the wind and water defensive properties. The result is the Castelli Perfetto Light Short Sleeve Jersey. Available in the usual suspect colours, mine being the royal blue, it's designed to be worn over either a jersey or, as I have done, over a Castelli Pro Base Layer, accompanied with Castelli Nanoflex Water Resistant Arm Warmers.
The fit is, as you would expect from a race-inspired jersey, is rather tight over the shoulders; which meant I went for a Large. What this does mean, is that it fits perfectly in the all right places; especially on and under the arms; minimising any chance of drag on flapping material.
The grippers on the inside of the sleeves help to keep arm warmers firmly in place, and allow you to multi-layer, as the summer creeps up on us. Another feature carried over from the Gabba is the lower back section, which covers you right down to the saddle; preventing water seeping into your bibs after it beads down on your back. Flaps over the top of the pockets keep your valuables dry, but note that there is not a zipped rear pocket. (Check out the Castelli Alpha Jacket if you fancy this feature).
The highlight of the jersey is of course the way it prevents the elements from reaching you. During the New Forest Spring Sportive, the wind was icy cold and the rain was in that annoying drizzle state; neither of which bothered me whilst in this jersey. Despite appearing as a firm barrier, not once have I felt over-heated either; due to the Nano Light Pro fabric, which is highly water repellent and stretchy, but has no membrane to inhibit air exchange.
The Castelli Evoluzione Bib Shorts
On the bottom half, I have been using what I can only describe as the comfiest bib shorts I've worn since the Castelli Body Paint Bibs; the Castelli Evoluzione Bib Shorts.
At the entry level end of Castelli's shorts, it utilises a number of trickle-down technologies via the Kiss chamois. The best compliment I can bestow upon this, is that once riding, the chamois doesn't feel like it's there, due to its perfect sizing, shape and comfort. The ProDry2Strati material quickly wicks sweat away from the skin, so pair it with Castelli Chamois Dry Lube for all round riding pleasure.
Whilst wearing the Perfetto jersey and Evoluzione shorts, I've paired them with the ever reliable Nanoflex arm and knee warmers. An ever present in my cycle wardrobe to date; they keep out all levels of wind and rain!
A great start to me season with the Scorpione brand!