I've been wearing garments made outta Gore-Tex for more years than I can remember. I think my first item of clothing mighta been an ugly yellow jacket I bought from Nashbar in the late '90s. If memory serves, I wrecked the first day I wore it at work, tearing a hole in the elbow. I should stop wanting nice things in my life (author types while staring at the stain on his two month old shorts). I still have the very ugly green Nashbar Gore-Tex coat that replaced the torn one. It's the "I need to wash my bike or do trail work and it's raining and I don't wanna ruin any of my good Gore-Tex" coat.
Somehow along the way and probably thanks to this blerhg, I'd been brought into the Gore Bike Wear Influencer discount program. It's given me better access to more stuff. Windstopper jackets and gloves, a rain proof cap, rain knickers... stuff.
So when I was asked recently if I wanted to be an official Gore Bike Wear Ambassador, I had a lot of questions before I could answer yeth or no.
Would I be expected to heavily shill product... because I don't want to do that?
Can I be particular about what comes my way, because I'm very particular about gear?
What if I don't like something, because there's a good chance that I'll have some nit to pick?
These kinda things.
You see, I feel like I have a pretty blessed life. I don't really have much want for more things, and I've actually been trying to get rid of excess stuff in my world. No, I still haven't gotten rid of the two full CD towers in my dining room yet, but I plan to... eventually.
I do really like the few items of Gore Bike Wear that I consider staples in my wardrobe. If you scroll through images of my bikes here on the blerhg, you'll see loads of pictures with my favorite orange Windstopper jacket strapped to the top tube.
You'll see a lot fewer images of me actually using full-on rainproof Gore-Tex stuff... mostly because if I've busted it out, the weather is bad enough that I'm not taking my phone out just to grab a selfie.
Having "free stuff" come to the house isn't the "living the dream" scenario that it may seem (when you have my "issues"). At least when I buy stuff, I reserve the right to hate it straight out for not meeting my expectations, and the only one left with hurt feels is my wallet.
"Free stuff" usually has some expectation behind it.
"You're gonna love this. You're going to want to tell all your friends about it. It's sooooooooo good."
So it becomes quite the sticky thicket when you don't fall in love, and even worse, have much disappoint.
I bought a pair of Windstopper gloves through the Influencer Program years ago. I don't generally like padded gloves, but I took a risk in the interest of happy hands. I got them, couldn't stand the padding (I own zero pairs of padded gloves), broke out the seam ripper, yoinked the pads off, and ended up with a pair of gloves that kept me warmish but weren't loose-fitting enough to squeeze in the liner gloves I also purchased. I went back to my old shitty system of cheap knit jobbers under some terribly poochy-fitting gloves from Answer... occasionally slipping a windproof lobster shell over the whole garbage system. I still have those Windstopper gloves somewhere in the house... a reminder to myself to not bother with padded gloves because I'm not the guy who wants pads. Ever.
BTW: I should mention that I've tried more cold weather glove solutions than I can think of since I started riding semi-seriously back in the early '90s, and I've been consistently more disappoint than not. Also, that wasn't the first time I pulled the padding off a pair of winter gloves rendering them unreturnable.
Anyhoo, The answers to my questions were all what I needed to hear, and I've agreed to be a Gore Bike Wear Ambassador. I'm not expected to be a giant shill. I can be as particular as I please. I can pick all the nits.
I get to still be me, but it will be cheaper than before (aside from the money I'm gonna spend on all the returns because...
"This doesn't flatter my figure."
"I don't really like red."
"The sleeves are a 1/4" too short."
"These make my hands look small/butt look big/head look stupid."
Things like that.
So expect to see an occasional Gore Bike Wear related post from time to time. I mean, if I like something, they must be doing something right. Personally, I don't know anyone that's as "attuned" as I am when it comes to... well, just about anything bike related. I like what I like, and I hate everything else.
After a bunch of back and forth emails there was a phone call and then some things were shipped but then I followed up with a couple more emails and some other things were shipped the next day and a box showed up yesterday. Last night there was lots of trying on and preening in the mirror and deep knee bends and helicopter arms in an effort to figure out what works and what doesn't.
This surprised me:
Power Trail jersey. I saw it in the box and went "eewwwww," thinking that it was something that was definitely going back, but then I tried it on and went "oh." Nice slim fit (did not make my butt look big), sleeves the right length, and the right weight for a good layer or a slightly cool day. It made the keep list for sure. Now I wait on box number two and pro and con everything to figure out what needs to stay here.