TransAm gear: Castelli kit

TransAm gear: Castelli kit

Several years ago when I wanted to have some EC kit made, I spent some time looking at options and selected Castelli to make it for me. This was due to the high quality of their product, the range of kit available and the fact that their US custom clothing is made in Washington (with offices in Oregon), so about as local as I could get!

When I was then needing kit for my TransAm attempt, I was grateful to receive support from Castelli – these are the items I selected and how they performed:

San Remo suit

Castelli came up with this concept several years ago – half skinsuit, half jersey/shorts. I got one initially looking for the aerodynamic benefits for road racing. But then discovered just how comfortable it is – no bib straps means no pressure points, back pockets that stay put tight to the body, and easier for ‘comfort breaks’ than bib shorts. So it was the obvious choice for the TransAm – comfort and aero. I had no complaints during the race, comfortable in all the conditions I encountered. I washed it each night in the shower (I had mailed a fresh one to halfway, but of course I never actually got there…..) and it was dry in the morning.


Velo vest

A lightweight vest is great for managing temperature control, especially with long climbs and descents. This is Castelli’s lightest option, fits tight, packs up tiny and of course matches the color of my bike! Happy to be extra visible with it too. The dropped tail and taller collar prevent any drafts. This worked out great – since I didn’t make it to the hottest part of the crossing, I was wearing the vest for a lot of the riding time.





Idro jacket

I have tried a lot of waterproof jackets over the last 25 years. From basic to very expensive, but despite various claims of ‘breathability’, I have never been able to find a jacket that will actually keep me dry – I mostly end up getting very wet from the inside even if the rain is kept out. So when I read about the new Gore Tex Active fabric (a single skin of their membrane without the usual sandwich layers), I was intrigued but skeptical – I have heard these claims before!

Castelli took this new fabric and crafted a close fitting, very lightweight rain jacket. Actually smaller than most windshells, it packs down to half a jersey pocket. The first time I used it was on a cool (30s), but dry morning. In a couple of hours of riding I never overheated and stayed dry and comfortable. A good first test – but generally it is when jackets get wet that they stop breathing (those sandwich layers of fabric absorb water and stop the moisture transfer process. With the Active ‘shake dry’ fabric there is nothing to do this). So the first proper test came with a five hour ride, continuous rain and a temperature in the 40s. I was wearing a base layer and jersey underneath. I remained comfortable throughout without overheating. But the most amazing thing for me was to arrive home, unzip and discover that my base layer was completely dry! I have never before experienced that when riding in the rain.

For anyone who must ride in the rain, I cannot recommend this highly enough – yes it is expensive, but boy what an improvement!

On the TransAm I was fortunate not to have any rain during my time on the race, but the Idro made a great windproof shell to keep warm during early mornings and late evening descents. To be snug and warm with no flapping at the end of a long day was very nice.



Keeping my kit to a minimum was all about layers. I had a wool base layer under the San Remo suit, and could then add/remove warmers as needed – as it turned out I kept the knee warmers on for almost the whole time. These are Castelli’s Thermoflex arm and knee warmers – very comfortable, they stay put, and adapt remarkable well to a very wide temperature range (30s to 80s).

The gloves are the Aero Race model – I generally prefer to ride without gloves, but with being out in the sun all day I wanted to cover vulnerable skin where possible, so having just a thin lycra back made these great for that purpose.

I also had a pair of Tempesta Gloves – I needed these for early mornings and cold descents. But (thankfully!) didn’t get to test their waterproofness.

Many thanks to Castelli for their support:

One Comment

  1. I’ve got two of the Gore ‘Active’ shakedry jackets and it’s phenomenal fabric!
    I actually prefer the running version over the cycling version as it comes with a hood, and has a much better length, for barely any extra weight or bulk. But either way, the fabric is amazing. First jacket I’ve ever had that doesn’t just wet out in constant torrential rain. And just ridiculously light and small when packed.

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