Monday, August 26, 2013

My Morning Jacket

My new Showers Pass Transit Jacket

This morning it was raining a bit so even though my "ride" to work is two minutes or less, I threw on my light-weight rain jacket (it's still very hot in Toronto). I didn't bother throwing the rain cover on my knapsack.

Two minutes later, my laptop bag was soaked, my arms were drenched and my shoes soaked through. Two minutes. For two minutes it was like riding through a car wash. When I sat at my desk, I double checked three of my four weather apps, all which were reporting light rain. The amount of rain was small, the intensity would've power washed graffiti from brick walls.
“…an increasing trend in extreme events”
Light rain is not actually a concern. My beloved Castelli Leggero jacket is perfect on hot days with light rain, but that was not what I just rode in. My typical approach to wet weather has been to wear light weight, quick dry clothing; you're going to get wet but at least you can dry out quickly. But as I've grown tired of wearing trail clothing and eventually just started wearing street clothes (because let's face it, trail gear might look normal in Seattle or Ottawa but not anywhere else). That meant riding a bike with fenders and chain guard to minimize street spray and just some typical rain jacket. As I started extending my riding season, fenders and rain jacket just didn't cut it. This spring, as wet and cold as it was, I thought I had cracked this problem. Comfortable merino wool base layers,  light weight rain gear, plus a bike with fenders. But today, that "light weight rain gear" let me down. Don't get me wrong, the Leggero jacket is still the tiny perfect jacket to throw in a bag or take on a ride for just-in-case scenarios, just not for it-is-raining-like-an-Indian-monsoon type scenario.

Which is in fact, the real problem. You can read all about it in this report:
Historical Trends In Short Duration Rainfall In The Greater Toronto Area

The upshot is this for a ten-year period:
"No consistent trend in annual extremes was identified but an increasing trend in extreme events for some months, particularly May, was identified."

Sort of like what happened in July when a typical month's worth of rain fell in a few hours. The total rainfall for the month wasn't significantly greater but the intensity of it meant extreme flooding and crop damage. Thus our storm sewers and other hydrological structures need to be designed for extreme rainfall, not typical rainfall.

And not just our "hydrological structures" but also our hydrological clothing. So I decided to just give up on all my other kind of "okay" rain jackets and fork over well earned dollars to purchase one known to be one of the best on the market. I also upgraded my rain pants. I'm done messing around. No more mister nice guy. I don't care if I look like a member of the junior SWAT team or an astronaut on furlough. I just want to arrive dry-ish. For awhile I've had different jackets for different weather; one for wind (Gore-Tex), one for hard rain, but not breathable and no hood (Cannondale), one 100% waterproof not breathable with hood (MEC) and one for light wind and rain (Castelli).

Now, with this Showers Pass jacket I'll have a water and wind resistant, breathable jacket with detachable hood. I stop here. No more will I wonder what else can I do. I will have done everything and this is it. This is as far as I go. Hopefully, I will go far.

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