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One Man, Two Jerseys
Every rider should have at least two black Classic Jerseys in their arsenal. The first one will give you something to wear when you have run out of new colors. This will happen at some point. You will find yourself in the middle of a tour with nothing to wear. The second is for the day when the first one is already soiled.
This exact scenario happened to me in Colorado last summer, on the final day of riding during the Rapha Continental’s tour of that state. More specifically, the route of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The final day seemed destined to be a bit special. We’d spent the previous week churning our way through the great state of Colorado, riding the route and then subsequently checking out the towns at night. Our last day of riding was preceded by a last evening of imbibing. This in turn had left us at altitude and late to get started.
I had been avoiding wearing the Classic Jersey for the majority of the trip and as I stood there with it in my hands I just couldn’t think why. This was the jersey that got me into this harebrained scheme in the first place. This was the jersey that caught my attention and made me think possible for a few friends to take on a series of 100-plus mile rides together and have a good time documenting their experiences in the process.
This was the jersey that led the riders of Cycle Oregon to dub the Rapha Continental ‘the black train of death’, an epithet based as much on our furious spinning abilities as the fact we were all dressed in black.
And this was the jersey that, on that day, caused another cyclist that we happened upon to respond just as emphatically. “Hey,” he called out to us, “I saw those black jerseys and I thought to myself that has to be the Rapha Continental.” And as I looked back down at my Classic Jersey I realised this was the one, the jersey that had started it all.