Monday, October 7, 2013

This Weekend's VIP ~ GORE Bike Wear Alp X 3.0 Jersey and Alp-X 2.0 Bib Shorts

This weekend was a big weekend for Deanne and I as we both entered our first races. Her race was a 5K run and mine was a 33 mile gravel monster cross race. We both spent a lot of time preparing and analyzing our equipment and gear leading up to the races. 

Since this was my first race I was unsure if I could even be semi competitive at this distance so I decided to do a trial run on the full race course a couple weeks prior to the race. This proved to be a really smart move. I learned two things from this trail run. One, I could do it, and two, I needed to reassess my race day clothing. I have always worn bike jerseys or athletic t-shirts and baggy padded mountain bike shorts for my training rides which are usually ten to fifteen miles without any issues. Thirty-three miles, however, was a different beast and I needed more padding in my shorts and more pockets in my jersey. This started a week long quest to find a jersey and shorts that would give me more padding and more storage. I started out by looking at a couple specialty shops and decided that bib shorts were a better option for me. 

I tried on the GORE Bike Wear Power 2.0 shorts and Phantom jersey. The materials felt great and the fit was perfect but I was not familiar with the brand so I decided to do more research. I looked at many other brands, even buying a jersey and bib shorts from another company, only to return them after realizing the materials felt cheap compared to the GORE Line. After researching the GORE company I realized that in fact I was very familiar with the company’s flagship material GORE-TEX and immediately understood why I was so impressed with the fit, finish, and feel of the GORE Bike Wear I had tried on earlier. So the brand of clothing was decided, now which line? 

GORE makes it easy to narrow down the choices to a line of clothing that matches your riding style. I figured the mountain bike multi day line made the most sense for me which lead me to the Alp-X line of clothing. GORE has you covered from cold and wet to dry and warm and any combination in between with their system of gear. I went with the Alp-x 3.0 jersey that has two zippered pockets, two side mesh pockets and three rear pockets. More than enough room to comfortably hold an extra water bottle, four Gu energy gel packets, granola bar, cell phone, and key fob with plenty of room to spare. 

For the shorts I went with the ALP-X 2.0 Bibtights short+. The materials are top notch. The Alp-X man insert is phenomenal. Tons of cushion right where you need it. The small pocket on the right thigh is a nice added touch. When I first put the jersey and bibs on my initial thought was this is how a kit is supposed to feel. I was able to get a fifteen mile ride in with the kit before the race and was very impressed. I knew on race day that my clothing was ready, and hoped I was. I was able to complete the race in two hours and forty-five minutes which earned me a 4th place finish. While I really wanted to place on the podium, the time and finishing position far surpassed my pre-race goals. 

The GORE Alp-X jersey and bibs performed flawlessly. They kept me cool, dry, and comfortable for the entire race. I really never thought about the clothing during the race which is best sign that they worked as expected. 

Over the years I have learned you get what you pay for and I expect a lot of the gear I spend my money on. While the GORE Bike Wear line of gear is not cheap, it is worth every penny in my opinion. I highly recommend giving the GORE Bike Wear and try. With the weather quickly turning colder I am sure that I will add more GORE Bike Wear pieces to my kit. The ALP-X Thermo Bibtights+, ALP-X 2.0 WINDSTOPPER® Soft Shell Zip-Off Jacket, and ALP-X 2.0 long Gloves are certainly on my short list of must have winter biking gear. 

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