Yesterday was the first day of spring and, to my chagrin, Ski Santa Fe reported 10 inches of powder and it it was cold, windy, and flurrying in town. After the last few weeks of shorts and short sleeves thanks to unseasonably warm conditions, I simply couldn't bring myself to climb on the trainer. That meant bundling back up to get out for a ride. I'm a total pansy about the cold, so the fact that I was able to get out yesterday—and all winter, for that matter—is testament to just how good winter gear has become.
If it seems like a strange time to load up on warmies (with spring coming, and all), remember that many of these items are good transitional pieces and will serve you through spring and even on mountain rides in summer. And with shops clearing out their winter inventory, it's a perfect time to score some deals.
Castelli Espresso Due Jacket ($300) Though it functions great as a jacket in very cold conditions—I used it several times this winter over heavyweight jerseys on days when temperatures never got out of the teens—I've been layering this plush piece over just a baselayer and feeling comfortable up to the low 40s. It's very tailored, but the shoulder articulations allow for plenty of movement, even in the drops. I really appreciated the zippered chest vents, which I could open up to cool off on climbs, and the wrist zips kept sleeves trim and tucked into my glove cuffs—thus preventing cold from creeping in. The best part, though, is the flip-up collar, which was a quick way to warm up when the mercury drops.