09 June 2011

Earned Jerseys

awesome but unearned
When I was drawn for my first Ride the Rockies in 2003, I had serious cycling wardrobe shortage. I had not a single jersey or pair of cycling shorts, with about two months to correct the situation.

First thing I noticed, of course, is cycling clothing is not cheap. Unless you buy it on eBay. Which is where I bought my first jersey. US Postal had become The Blue Train, but this jersey was old news. And old fabric. Thick. Double knit. Hot. It came dirt cheap. $10. That included postage. I wore it as a Secret Weapon on Day Four to power me through the only century ride (100 miles) I've ever completed to date. This shot was snapped at Curecanti National Recreation Area by Olympic silver medalist Nelson Vails, who also participated in the 2003 Ride the Rockies.

US Postal
My second jersey also came from eBay, and it wasn't particularly cheap, but I wasn't about to pass up the only "Let's Roll" Triple Bypass jersey I've ever seen for sale. I've never done the Triple Bypass and don't expect I'll ever be able to, so wearing this jersey never felt quite right. However, I'm deeply connected to the patriotism that blanketed America following the 9/11 attacks, I lost a friend and many business acquaintances that day, and one of my closest friends translated "Let's Roll!: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage" into Braille. When The Lizard and I were dating (and riding Vail Pass, the final climb of the Triple), I gave him my "Let's Roll" jersey. He'd revealed he'd always wanted to ride the Triple Bypass. He's now completed the Triple several consecutive years, so he is a much more appropriate owner of "Let's Roll."

Let's Roll
I picked up a couple of old Ride the Rockies jerseys on eBay, as well as an old San Francisco MS-150 jersey and a tattered Gary Fisher jersey. I would be riding a Gary Fisher "Marlin" mountain bike with knobby tires on my first Ride the Rockies because that's all I had.

The Gary Fisher jersey was symbolic in more ways than one. The original owner had shredded it in a nasty OTBSC crash he survived. I had a nasty crash while wearing it. A few years ago, I gave it to my grown adopted son, who confessed he'd always wanted a Gary Fisher "Sugar." He wore the jersey during the only group ride he's done with me since he became an adult, the Buena Vista Century. (I did a metric century or 65 miles, and he did 24 miles.) He later abandoned the jersey, but that's a soap opera I probably won't be sharing any time soon.

The Gary Fisher jersey brought me to six in 2003, the number I would need for my first weeklong tour (because we had a rest day that year). Then I found out entry fees in most rides include jerseys. The Swiss cheese Gary Fisher jersey would get to stay in the closet. I received my first-ever earned jersey when I did the Elephant Rock as training for the just-two-weeks away Ride the Rockies. This was my favorite jersey for many years because it was the first one I earned. It's still a favorite now because you don't seen many of these anymore.

At RtR check-in, I received my first earned Ride the Rockies jersey. I bought shorts to match. This set continues to be a sentimental favorite because it was my first weeklong tour and the first time I'd been successful in the RtR lottery. Because of personal things going on at the time, the 2003 Ride the Rockies marked a turning point in my life. A new beginning.

This particular Ride the Rockies jersey taught me to check the inside of the collars for secret messages...

RtR hidden message
In each host town of Ride the Rockies, merchants set up booths to sell all sorts of cycling gear, including jerseys. Including discontinued jerseys. Being from New Mexico, I couldn't resist this gem for a whopping $20. The roadrunner is the New Mexico state bird. I've always loved the zia (on both sleeves), a Native American symbol for the sun, because it's easy to draw, embroider, quilt and crochet. (BIG grin!) Plus, this jersey taught me to look inside the back pockets for MORE secret messages! (A practice Primal Wear sadly has now abandoned...)

Road Runner
A week after my first RtR came the MS-150 and another earned (albeit paid-for) jersey; this time, a team jersey. But I never felt part of the now defunct team. No one talked to me at the team lunch and team tent either day. Team members passed me by without so much as even acknowledging me when I flatted on Day 1. I have no pictures of that jersey. I gave it away. Because I wanted to throw it away. I'm on a team now that loves and cares about both The Lizard and me. We get a new jersey every couple of years or so. Free. We LOVE Team Great West!

Go, Team Great West!
When The Lizard and I began dating, I thought we should have matching jerseys, since most of our dates were rides. I bought a pair of Sobe jerseys, for obvious reasons, and we still wear them once in a while. Sometimes even on the same ride!

matching lizards
We have many matching jerseys now, and sometimes we try to match. But sometimes we wear the jersey that will inspire and motivate us for a particular ride, and we each have different favorites.

His favorite is his Kokopelli jersey, which is not earned, just a Christmas present two or three years ago. I'm sure this year's Double Triple Bypass will be even more special because of the amount of training and hard work that will go into completing 240 miles and six mountain passes in two days.

Kokopelli Lizard
My favorite is the commemorative 25th anniversary jersey from last year's Ride the Rockies. It's not the official jersey, which may be one of the reasons this one is my fav. Not everyone bought the commemorative jersey; the economy limited a lot of surplus spending last year. So there aren't as many of these out there.

The Lizard has one, too. And this is one jersey we do often wear the same day. It makes us a perfect pair.

25 times 2


  1. The first thing I noticed was "Ad Alta Per Aspera" inside that top jersey's neckband. Cool.

    E bay! You're a genius! Never thought of that.

    How fun to see some of what must be a great collection. I didn't know you got jerseys for entering rides. (Just like running.)

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Haha, I LOVE the roadrunner (hope I could run as fast as he :), and the matching jerseys are so cuuuuute.

  3. Love the secrets hidden inside the collars... there is so much history just in the roadmap of jerseys and their stories laid out here.

    The two of you really are a perfect pair! That last shot says it all.

  4. I love the story of your jerseys! You have quite a collection now, of beauties and earned rewards. Way to go!

    I tend to buy my cycling gear at the start of winter, when I can buy discontinued stuff very cheap. My favorite jerseys are my sponsored jerseys from my serious racing days... and my labrador jerseys. I never ever used to pay full price for a jersey until I ran across a couple with labradors on them. I can't resist those ones!

    I have to say that I particularly love your roadrunner jersey!

  5. not even going to try to pick a favorite. Thanks for telling their stories.


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

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