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Wear Your Story: October
Last month we launched Wear Your Story, a project to share narratives on how our clothing directly links to every ride we do. October has seen plentiful postings on the Rapha Facebook wall. Below is a selection of our favourites.
About 4 days into the trip we got hit by Hurricane Irene. We biked through the 5 day storm of nonstop rain, hail, and wind up to 30mph in 50-45C. We all packed light and the only long sleeve apparel I brought was the Rapha cyclocross long sleeve jersey. By the end of the trip it literally [looked] like it went through the apocalypse. Whenever I miss the trip all I have to do is wear the jersey and go for a ride.
Mine is not a tale of a heroic crash, but rather a collection of stories that come from living in a garment day in day out. I’m currently about half way through a ride from the UK to Australia, (8500km and counting) and each and every day I’m either in my Rapha Tour Shorts or my Rapha ¾ Lengths; neither has suffered any catastrophic tears or stains but at the end of each day they tell a tale. Whether it’s copious salt stains from climbing a Pyrenean Col in 40 degree heat; a covering of mud from negotiating a rural Romanian dirt track; or subtle streaks of dirt and grease from an emergency roadside repair; one thing is for certain, when I roll up to my place of rest for the evening my shorts help to tell that day’s story.
My 4 year old stow away jacket, with white seam tape for a tent on the inside of the left sleeve. I had it a week and slid out on a sandy descent. It's been my go to jacket when ever rain is light and it's around 60deg.
About a year ago I was taking it off while riding and had to grab the handle bars. I ripped the zipper loose at the base. I fixed it with an industrial staple! Now it's a pull over!
A couple of years ago I was on the way into town when a dopey driver pulled out in front of me, breaking my collar bone into a million pieces tearing a mystery 4 inch gash through my right thigh muscle. The lovely chap got out, shouted at me for smashing his window then drove off and left me for dead. As you can see all my clothes had to be cut off, amazingly my Rapha cap didn't even come off my head even though I'd just flown over the top of a car like a ragdoll, that's magic!
The big rides leave their mark on you. Like a high water line, they set a reference point for future elation and suffering that you can look back on during future rides and say 'It's not worse than that. Keep going.'
It was on the return climb that I felt that retreating sense. The under-water distance where only the tempo of legs and breath are at full volume, spokes spinning beneath the nose. It was like that for a long time, and then the road disappeared to give way to gravel. That signaled the final few kilometres to home and a kick upward in the road so hard it countered any feeling of impending salvation. Black tyres turned the clay-colour of clay, little trails of dust behind the front wheel. Sweat on the top tube.
When the wheels and the pedalling stopped the bike was still weightless but I felt like a tonne of dead meat. I sat down against the wooden hut and breathed. After a few minutes I peeled off my criterium gloves [now sold out] but they were still there, and were for the rest of the summer.
At the weekend I competed in my first 12 hour mountian bike enduro, in Thetford Forest in Suffolk, UK. It rained for the entire 12 hours, and, Thetford being a sandy forest, many riders were complaining about some wear-and-tear in the worst possible place. My wife had bought me some Rapha chamois cream, which I'd applied liberally before the race. I can't show any pictures of the product, but it saved my ass.
Rapha Randonnee Appennini Ride April 2011 - excited by the beauty and majesty of Italy, day 1 was always going to be a highlight. 165km, 3600m of climbing including the formidable & infamous San Pellegrino in Alpi to climb with two daunting 18% ers after 22km of 7% average. Simon Holt advised us of the tricky and fast decent down, "take it easy guys, there is a long way to go" his words echoed.
5 minutes later a sharp hairpin at circa 35kmph, I attempted to "French Kiss" a rough and unforgiving Italian stone wall. BRAND NEW bib shorts & top (bought for the trip!) were opened up as well as my inner and underarm, thigh, knee, cheek and hand as I skidded along the wall, she was clearly resisting my advances! Those Italian woman are tough.
Scars are left on most body parts but thanks to my excellent Rapha gloves my hand remained intact, but the glove was shredded. What an amazing trip - you have to go, but don't try the wall snog.
Allez les Violets
I stood up on the pedals and leaned over my handlebars and went after him, this was no longer about having the same shirt it was about the right to wear it. I hung grimly onto his wheel the protests of the Garmin forming as much part of my rhythm as my own forced breathing. Close to the summit the elderly occupants of a blue Renault Espace which hung precariously off the edge of the road on the steep verge, began to shout encouragement as we drew closer. "Allez! Allez! Allez les Violets!" One last effort.
My wife gave me a beautiful pristine white pair of your finest gloves the day I left to do this year's Etape. My first ride in them took me over Galibier, Alep D'huez etc. etc. Together we were conquering the world.
A couple of days later they accompanied me on my usually far less challenging commute from Shoreditch back to Bow on my poorly maintained single speed work bike.
Looking back, it seems I hadn't got my chain tension right. I discovered that just at the moment I put my foot down to get away from some lights. As I got out of my seat, head up over the bars, driving the pedals around, my chain popped clean off, and I threw myself forward straight over my own handlebars. I was surprised, to say the least.
My bike and I slid down the road for a good few metres, shedding bits of me, my bag and my shoes as I went. As in all such situations, my first thought was of course for my newest bit of kit, and sure enough my gloves had big holes in them and some blood spots fast appearing on them. They certainly weren't white anymore.
As I thought about that and started picking up the other bits of me and my bike from the road I noticed that as well as the usual bystanders, drivers and other cyclists, my crash had caught the attention of a number of girls who worked in the strip club that I'd crashed right in front of [metropolis, if you're interested], who thought my crash was pretty funny.
While I reflected on the injustice of that, the last button still on my shorts after the crash must have given way. The first I knew of it was when my shorts dropped to my ankles, tripping me in the process…
- There are still a few of these sweet Rapha + Raeburn jackets at the SF @raphacycleclub. http://t.co/C2d98yCRL0
- The hills above. #raphasurvey http://t.co/jlIkXowxyT
- U23 winner in 2012 what's in store for @RichHandley90 in the @anpostras http://t.co/xyZWX3NbtG
- Sunday morning race day, church car park scene. @anpostras #ras2013 http://t.co/2E1UlfAxhe
- Will all these numbers be able to wear the coveted t-shirt in one weeks time? #menoftheras #ras2013 http://t.co/ai1oqnDIyh
- Team about to start the @anpostras probably the Worlds friendliest race.
- RT @nedboulting: Kristian House's Grandad was a fantastic man. He told me about him once. Then I read this: http://t.co/ZCeYbm4sFU
- @DeanHardman @nedboulting @j_t_locke such a shame...
- @TeamSkyGirl @nedboulting @j_t_locke we've asked JTL to change his name.
- RT @Ed_Clancy: Watch @raphacondor team mate Kristian House take another win (and lap me in the process) around his favourite circuit to…