Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cycling Jerseys Transport Local Man Back In Time

There is always a first...and for most cyclists, there is nothing like the first team jersey. While the excitement of flying the team colors for the first time is something most racers enjoy, there is often a certain letdown when you catch that first glimpse of yourself in the new kit. Even if the jersey is cool, the acquisition of new gear does not always ensure that one will cut an imposing figure on the start line.

For reference, this look back at some team jerseys from my Junior racing career may not be used for psychoanalytical purposes relating to the residual effects of wearing the following articles of clothing as a teenager.

I had done a couple races unattached before being fortunate enough to get hooked up with the Marin Cyclists as a youngster for my first official team jersey. With an understated silhouette of Mt. Tam on the chest and a very mellow color scheme, this jersey was pretty sweet in retrospect. I didn't appreciate the importance of the latter element at the time but would come to remember it fondly in the following years. Here's why:

Okay, the Morgul Bismark/Killer Loop team was great but the kit left a little something to be desired. Maybe it was the fact that we had Killer Loop as a primary sponsor that made them want to make the jersey as blindingly bright as possible. Not sure. Regardless, operating out of Davis Phinney and Ron Keifel's shop on the Hill in Boulder and run by Randy Gaffney, the team was one of the best in the country for a while and well worth the day glow. This was also at the time when everyone was rocking the flourescent yellow however, I can't look at the above photo without thinking of the high-lighters on my desk. I am missing the Morgul Bismark jersey design that followed this one because none of the platoon were able to make it home from the battlefield intact. It was a doozy too but compared to my next team jersey and first foray into mounatin bike racing...it was great. On to the world of dirt...or rocks since I raced in Colorado and the Rockies:

The Salsa/Cycle Logic team was excellent in most respects, but the the initial jersey design was not one of them. Don't get me wrong, I was incredibly proud to race for Salsa Cycles. We got bikes and a lot of other great stuff from the sponsors so I am not proud of criticizing the kit but...
...engineers have confirmed that there were some design flaws from the beginning. The alternately colored sleeves were especially perplexing to me and continue to baffle me many years later. I also believe Salsa was working on some new "Pepper Man" designs and used our team as a test group. The above design was not highly recommended by this rider. So then we got to rock these as an alternative:


This jersey design has actually aged well but I often felt as if I was leading the Mountains Competition of the Tour de Jamaica. I was recently watching the 1989 Tour de France DVD and noticed that the RMO jerseys, worn most notably by Charly Mottet, were strikingly similar. Somewhat less Rastafarian but similar nonetheless.

The two elements of this jersey that I was never able to get a straight answer on were the "Peace" sign and the seemingly random homage to Stevie Ray Vaughn on the back right pocket. The era of this jersey was shortly after Vaughn's death but it was amazing how many people asked me about it on startlines and group rides. The peace sign just seemed like an afterthought and didn't help me get riled up for battles I was taking part in. I blame the peace sign for many, many losses.

So the moral of the story is that bad team kits are kind of like family. You can't really choose them and sometimes you just have to accept them and hope that the next year is better.

2 comments:

Bitch Kittie said...

Your kits have sucked. I am sincerely sorry for that. Look up Tea 19. Slick. Anyways. You can't have it all. Do you know my friend Chari who did Bob Roll's website? Email me at jessi.pacetti@gmail.com
Peace Out
bk
www.bitchkittie.com

Bitch Kittie said...

Team 19. The wine is in effect.

Peace Out
bk