300 not on 100: A Cannondale Morphis Jacket Review
Note: This review is self-funded
Since the start of this NQB, Nick and I have slowly uncovered the heart of what this site is really about: Having fun through misadventure, saving a few bucks along the way, and topping it all off with good beer. Back in the springtime I started our misadventures off by committing us to recon Raid Rockingham without the requisite fitness. I soon dropped off our 4-man pack and languished by myself on NH backroads. When we got around to brewing beer, we had about half of the necessary equipment yet somehow managed to get it all together. At the Great Brewers / Gloucester ‘cross race, Nick flatted on the the first lap; coming home from Providence CrossFest I contracted a serious infection and spent a few days in the hospital.
However, none of these really compare to my hilarious (or disastrous) attempt to ride a portion of this year’s edition of 300 not on 100, the annual ride consisting of Ted King and Tim Johnson putting the screws to internet-famous Ryan T. Kelly over massive portions of New England roads. I first came in contact with Ryan at the very beginning of NQB, and promptly humiliated myself by trying to ride my rollers in the famous #feelingbarn while Ryan slammed out 3-digit RPMs and curiously watched me gasping for air like a fish on a dock.
Not wanting to embarrass myself again, I messaged Ryan to see if I might be able to tag along for a bit of the 300 not on 100, but made it clear that I didn’t want to make a fool of myself. For a little bit of backstory, Ryan lives just up the road from me. He said I should just come hang with the group for a bit, do what I could, and head home. Better yet, he was riding to Exeter NH, the start of the ride and I could tag along with him. Best of all, we’d have to leave around 4 in the morning to make the start time in Exeter. One thing you can say about me is that I won’t shy away from getting myself into ridiculous situations. I tossed and turned the night before the ride, and somehow drug myself out of bed around 3:50 in the morning to scoot over to the local donut shop and meet Ryan…right about this time things went south.
As I was getting ready I realized I had no idea where my leggings were; by that point I had no choice but to lather up in some sub-par embrocation…in New Hampshire..in the fall-time…at 4 in the morning…and ride to the Exeter in just regular bib shorts. Ryan had joked that he was going to make me pull all the way to Exeter so he could save his legs; instead I spent most of the 18 miles huffing and trying to catch up to him, just hoping his blinky light never faded into the distance. One thing I do appreciate about guys like Ryan is they have a real love for bikes; they know the history and the players when it comes to cycling in their region and will give you the lowdown and some great stories even if you’re struggling to match their pace. Please note I was just trying to match his pace on the ride to the real ride and wasn’t faring too well. When we showed up at D Squared Java in Exeter, I got a chance to meet Ted King and Tim Johnson. Ever the suave cyclist, I introduce myself to Tim Johnson like this:
Me: Hi Tim, How’s it going? I’m Seth – I rode up with Ryan.
Tim Johnson: Hey, nice to meet you.
Me: How’s it going? (Did I just say “How’s it going?” twice in 10 seconds? Dammit….)
This firmly established my spot in the pantheon of giggling cyclist fanboys and also confirmed that 300 not on 100 was yet another classic NQB misadventure. I played it slightly cooler when meeting Ted, then talked with Arlon of Raid Rockingham/Krempels King of the Road Challenge fame and Chris Rosenberry who I’d met through NQB. We hopped on the road after fueling up and started making our way to the coast. One thing about riding in New Hampshire is that the roads are hardly ever flat, but mercifully the chosen route to the coast was fairly low-key. Despite that, I was in the back quarter of the pack (of 20 or so riders) immediately and the pace was pretty high. Over the next few miles an inversely proportional relationship developed; as the pace increased I dropped further and further back in the pack until I was basically a straggler trying to play it cool like I belonged there. Duvine tours had a chase car with a camera crew and they filmed the ride as it developed. I hung with the pack desperate stay relevant, but on slight inclines I’d lose a little bit of ground until I was a hundred feet or so from the peloton. Feel free to watch me implode in real time with the following youtube video (skip to 1:10, or watch the whole thing if you prefer):
Notice the Cannondale Morphis Jacket I’m wearing…we’ll get to that in a minute
At this point the group was 8 miles in and I was sunk; I could have pushed a bit more but I was fully aware that where ever I stopped was only halfway in my journey. I dropped off the pack in ignominious defeat and turned around to head home. The sun had risen by then and I slowly rode back home with my head hung low. I wobbled up the steps to my house, and there are not many times when you’ll put in a hard 50+ mile ride yet be home by 9am. I reflected on the whole fiasco but knew it made a story worth telling.
“But Seth,” you say, “I thought this was a Cannondale Morphis jacket review?”
Let’s get to that: in my search for inexpensive fall cycling clothes I’d just picked up a Cannondale Morphis Jacket. I’d worn it that morning on for the ride and was pretty pleased with its performance. Like I said at the start of this article, the heart of NQB is having fun and saving money. This jacket only ran me $54.99 at Nashbar and for the price, this is an excellent buy. I put it through the wringer on this ride and it handled it (and my subsequent flop sweat) with equal dexterity. When this first arrived I wore it in a few typical New England rainshowers. Out of the box, the waterproofing on this jacket is excellent. The zipper seams are very tight and do an fine job keeping the water out. On top of that, the sleeves come off in a 1-piece cape making this a versatile vest when your morning ride starts to heat up. The sleeves are held on magnetically yet I never had a problem with water leaking in these seams. There’s also a well-hidden zipper pocket on back to hold the sleeves when riding with this jacket in ‘vest formation’.
Stock pic of the jacket, just for reference
The back of the jacket hangs low as any cycling jacket should; there are small reflective accents on the back but don’t count on them for safety, they’re pretty small. I also thought for the price, the breathability was fine as I never felt clammy. It makes a nice wind barrier as well – I wore my typical base layer underneath, along with a jersey and stayed warm even at 4am. This jacket’s not really made to be warm but does just fine as cold-weather gear provided you layer up. The cuffs are properly tight and the I like the styling. That’s personal preference, and although it doesn’t match my bike I’m a sucker for Cannondale livery. A note on sizing: I ordered a large, I’m 6′ tall and 180~ish lbs; the jacket fits fine, almost tight but I think this is preferable in a cycling jacket. I have long arms so I was a tad worried about the sleeve length but this was fine as well. As our readers know, cycling jackets can be crazy expensive but I think this one is an easy choice. I’ll continue to wear it this year. I might not be fast, but I can at least look good while dropping off the back.