Classics? Castelli Gabba and Ass Savers
The Classics are often associated with tough conditions but the weather in Northern Europe has been less than kind to the Pro Peloton this year. Where last year we were enjoying the third warmest March since records began, this year has seen a cold spell that has sent every one heading indoors and made riding a bike almost impossible.
With freezing temperatures, snow and rain, organisers have had to cancel races, a list which includes Nokere Koerse, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and Dwars door Drenthe. Belgium is one place where bad weather in the spring is to be expected, but it wasn’t only in Belgium; Paris-Nice, the ‘Race to Sun’, was anything but and Tirreno-Adriactico saw 51 riders quit the race after climbing the Muro di Sant’Elpidio three times on stage six. Then Milan San Remo saw frozen riders having to climb onto their buses after 117km and be driven around snow closed roads…
While this has produced some fantastic images of riders battling against the elements as well as their competitors, one can only feel slightly ashamed at another human being suffering for our enjoyment, but that’s cycling!
So when they have actually been able to race, the riders have had to look to new products to help them get through this horrific weather. If you look at any of the photos coming from this year’s Classics season you will have noticed that a lot of riders are sporting tight fitting little black jerseys. Some are hidden under trade gilets, yet others are more brazen with the logos blacked out. The item in question is Catelli’s Gabba WS jersey which we covered earlier.
The Gabba is a tight fitting rain jersey that serves in place of the usual flappy rain jacket that while it protects the rider is also slowing him down. When paired with Castelli’s water-resistant Nanoflex arm warmers the Gabba provides the perfect aero, racing combo for the less than clement weather we are experiencing.
Another little item that can make a riders day at the office a little more bearable, is a brilliant bit of design that we picked up on last year called the Ass Saver. Nothing more than a pre-cut and folded piece of recycled plastic, it can be carried in a back pocket or under your saddle for when you need it. And what does it do? Exactly what it says! Saves your ass.
It’s a mudgaurd, sort of; though not the full length one you may be used to. This little number was meant to save hipsters from the worst of wet roads – namely cold, dirty water spraying up just where you don’t want it – without encumbering their single speeds with anything as unfashionable as mudguards.
Now fast forward to one of the worst Spring Classic seasons in a long time, weatherwise that is, and what do we see on the back of Lars Bak’s bike? It seems Ass Savers’s clever little idea had been seen by Selle San Marco, who had some printed up with their logo and have given to some of the teams that were using their saddles just in time for some truly horrible racing conditions.
Perhaps its a little ironic that Lars’ team, Lotto, is Belgian and are probably the last people that we would have expected to be worried about a little road spray. But then they do have more experience of riding in these kind of conditions than most and probably knew the benefit of a dry behind on race day…