Sure, there were a few calm bluebird days tossed in. But we mostly saw massive doses of rain, wind, and even snow pummeling the year’s biggest races this season. It all started back in March with a blizzard-blocking Milan-San Remo, carrying on through a soggy Giro, thawing out for a minute, and returning again this fall for the World Championships and Lombardia.
We watched as riders prepared for battle each day, rolling out of team buses fully equipped with the latest weather protection from their teams’ apparel sponsors. The careful observer might have noticed something here, something that wasn’t really happening in the world of oversized, garbage bag weather protection of just a few years ago. What I mean is the dominance of these streamlined, element-blocking jersey/jacket creations and thermal bib shorts that riders have been arming themselves with. I won’t dive into the who-was-first-in-this-design debate here, but I will say that Capo’s appropriately-named Lombardia collection is one option worth considering if you find yourself in need of a foul-weather, late-season kit.
I’ve been testing the jersey and bib shorts for the past couple of weeks here in Utah, with fall weather conditions about on par with what you’d expect — high 30s in the mornings and evenings, the occasional cold snap, and a dash of icy winds and rain here and there. I should say that when I first inspected the clothes, I was a bit skeptical. I did the standard once-over and they seemed a little too thin for cold weather, a little too similar to dense Lycra blends.
When I pulled them on for an early morning ride, my prior reservations started to fade. The DWR-treated, fleece-backed material felt nice against my skin, and the coverage up top was impressive. The sleeves of the jersey hit me just above the elbows, and the jacket-like collar zipped up to my chin. These details alone surprised me, as I’ve just gotten in the habit of knowing where “standard” sleeves and collars generally hit. The drop-tail hem was also a nice touch, and I found later on that when I didn’t need the wheel spray/rain protection, it easily tucked up and out of the way under the elastic hem just below the pockets. The bib shorts also felt good, with the leg panels firmly holding my thighs with a lightly compressive grip. The straps were made of your standard mesh variety, but their breathable composition was a welcome addition when worn under the thermal jersey. It took a minute for me to adjust the chamois into place, but as soon as it was there, I was dialed.
Once I got rolling, any lingering suspicion I had for the Lombardia apparel was pushed aside. I quickly realized what the fuss was about with these super-powered kits. Rarely did I need my just-in-case shell stowed away in the rear pocket, even on pre- and post-daylight rides and speedy canyon descents. The brushed Roubaix fabric kept me warm, and when I did need to dump heat, a tug on the zipper was all it took to cool things down. The DWR-treatment made the rain and road spray quickly bead off, and, much to my surprise considering the density of the fabric, moisture collection on the inside was never an issue. Capo’s DP Carbon EIT chamois also stepped up to the plate in the comfort department, never causing any irritation,while providing plenty of support on long rides.
The only real gripe I had with the Lombardia was size-related. I’m just shy of six-feet tall and weigh around 150lbs., making it a little tricky to get the fit just right. My Medium jersey sample was spot-on, but the Medium bib shorts were a little small. In general, the Lombardia bib shorts feature a fairly low rise in relation to where the mesh uppers meet the leg panels, and this was even furthered with my long-ish torso. It took a little coaxing and some squats to get the chamois into place before my rides, which I’m sure wouldn’t have be an issue with the Large size.
Overall, Capo’s Lombardia kit did exactly what it was designed to do. For the majority of fall and spring conditions, I think it’ll be an ideal full-body protective layer on its own. And when the weather ratchets things up a notch or two in the winter, the Lombardia will be the perfect platform for layering.
Photo Credit: Ian Matteson