Flying the Velominati Kit on Hurricane Ridge

Flying the Velominati Kit on Hurricane Ridge

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As you know, the first shipment of the Velominati kit arrived last week and the reception has been universally enthusiastic by the recipients (with the exception of Brett, who loves the look but is at least two months from peaking and too fat to climb).   Some of the most well-received details are the orange DutchMonkey cuffs on the sleeves and legs, the various placements of the Obey the Rules logo, and last but not least, the three Rules emblazoned upon the right thigh.

After having worn the kit in training several times during the week, with the arrival of the weekend came time to put the kit through it’s paces and see how it held up on a bigger ride and in bad weather.  So, when Sunday came around, my Velomihottie and I jumped in the car, took the ferry across Puget Sound and parked at the base of the Olympic Mountains outside Port Angeles, Washington.  On the menu was a ride up and down Hurricane Ridge; not an epic climb by any means, but a solid 30km uphill with about a 1500 meter gain in elevation.

Skies were overcast in Seattle as we left, but our spirits were high knowing that the so-called “rain shadow” on the Olympic Peninsula would likely yield better weather than what we had in town. It turns out the rain shadow is a load of bullocks, and the closer we got to the mountains, the more steadily the rain fell.  Enter Rule #9: we parked, kitted up, each tucked a vest into our jersey, and headed up the mountain.

The mountains along the Pacific Coast are unique in the sense that their base is nearly at sea level, while their peaks are still considerably above the snow line.  This means that as you climb (or descend), you often will experience weather zones that are much more pronounced than in inland mountains, such as the Alps or the Pyrenees; we started in the pouring rain, then moved into the fog (riding through tunnels in a dense fog is an experience that can only be described as “trippy”), and through a dry zone before passing the snow line and into the freezing temperatures where it was snowing at the summit.  It also turns out that the name “Hurricane Ridge” was not a sarcastic one.  Needless to say he descent was Gavia cold (descending through tunnels in a dense fog while shaking uncontrollably is an experience that can only be described as “scary as fuck”).

And that’s where the kit really shines: every time my head dropped, ready to let up or get wimpy about either the wet or the cold (or the wet and the cold), my eyes would fall upon the three Rules on my thigh, and I would just get on with the work at hand.  I found Rule #10 particularly meaningful while climbing, when your mind starts making idiotic posits like, “this fucking hurts, and I’m going fucking slow.”

For those of you who are in for the next kit order (being placed on Monday), you can rest assured that you will be most satisfied with this fine product.  Aside from being (dare I say) most stylish, it is also incredibly comfortable – definitely the most comfortable I’ve worn.  The bibs fit like a glove, the padding just right, and the jersey molds to your body.  And, in case you’re wondering, the magical Castelli fabrics stay crisply white, even in the wettest of conditions.

[album: http://filemanager.dutchmonkey.com/photoalbums.php?currdir=/velominati.com/content/Photo Galleries/frank@velominati.com/Hurricane Ridge/]

As the saying (almost) goes, May showers bring June flowers, so I’m expecting a very nice and flowery June here in Seattle.

// Kit // The Rules

  1. Wow! Some quintessential hard man shots here. Nice kit, too! Man, I miss the PNW!

  2. Frank all you say is true – it is a great kit – after 300k+ over the long weekend it is still impressing with comfort (function) and style (form).

    The placement of the Rules is the most inspired innovation in cycling clothing in 100 years! It is just a fucking turn on to look down when your cramping/dying and get this adrenaline rush of reminding of what its all about!!

    (Disclaimer: I am not a paid employee of the Velominati nor am I on the receiving end of any Dutch chocolate “Banana Bars” from any of the Velominatus and the above information was given of my own free will after independent, on the road, laboratory tests.)

  3. The white accents, gloves, shoes and socks, and bar tape are just dashing!

  4. Nice work man. Hurricane Ridge and that general area is one of the first places Stefanie and I travelled together. Thanks for the memories fucker.

    Very cool photos. You look toasted in that last shot by the car. I’m really stoked to see you two in a couple weeks.

    And I second Frank and Rob’s kit endorsement. I put 200k on mine yesterday and everything Rob says about seeing the Rules on your thigh is true. It certainly is the finest cut in a chamois I’ve enjoyed and those Dutchmonkey banners cultivate some damn crisp tanlines. In fact, I stopped in a LBS before my ride and got more compliments on the kit than my bike, but that goes without saying.

  5. Tsk. Blue socks and red arm warmers, what’s all that about?

    The kit looks lovely though an so do the photos. Quite disturbingly though, in the picture of Frank, out of the saddle, climbing out of the bend, he looks exactly like my mate Stu, riding style and all. Even down to the facial expression.

  6. Sadly, I sent on my ‘large’ kit to Clinton in Brisbane today… to see that fine piece of essential cycling equipment pass through my hands in a fleeting, taunting manner was truly a devastating event.

    But, I am consoled that there is a larger, non-peaking specific kit on its way in the not too distant future, and by the time it arrives, my midriff will be sufficiently adorned with the ‘winter coat’ and should fill out the jersey with aplomb.

    Oh, who am I kidding, I’m always peaking, and the beer gut ain’t going anywhere soon.

  7. @Jarvis
    And a green helmet, with a YJA in the back pocket! Sort your Velomihottie out there fella!

    Great photos, the mist gives them a real epic aura.

  8. Love the work, frank! Its inspiring. Thanks.

  9. @Steampunk
    Dude, the PNW is like none other. I can’t think of a better place for someone who loves to ski and ride. All that said, this has been one rainy-ass spring. I rode yesterday without knee warmers for the third time this year.

  10. @Rob, @Marko

    Thanks guys. I own a pair of Aero Race bibs that I bought retail and one thing that no one else who doesn’t own some of those knows is that the retail stores stock the bibs with a cheaper pad. We sprung for the Pro-issue pad which is triple-density foam rather than double. I can tell you, the difference is noticeable to say the least.

  11. @david, @Jarvis, @brett

    It pisses my Velomihottie off how much I concentrate on matching all my shit. I promptly bought a black helmet to match the kit because my old helmet had red on it. I’m perturbed by the red on my frame, but I’m (just barely) not willing to buy a new bike to match my kit.

    Her unwillingness to match is born partly out of a desire to get under my skin, and partly because she likes to be unmatched when she blows by matched riders. The blue socks, however, I took to be a subtle nod to the Dutch national colors of Blue/Orange.

    The red arm warmers are an abomination and have to go.

    The YJA is because retailers can’t seem to stock clothing that both fits a woman and is not adorned in pink flower patterns. Let me just say the YJA was the better choice under the circumstances.

  12. frank :@david, @Jarvis, @brett
    It pisses my Velomihottie off how much I concentrate on matching
    Her unwillingness to match is born partly . . . because she likes to be unmatched when she blows by matched riders.

    That’s cool.

  13. frank :@Steampunk
    Dude, the PNW is like none other. I can’t think of a better place for someone who loves to ski and ride. All that said, this has been one rainy-ass spring. I rode yesterday without knee warmers for the third time this year.

    Don’t I know it. I grew up in Vancouver, and have bounced around the US and Canada for the past ten years (settled, now, for five in Ontario). But I still miss the PNW something horrible. I miss the rain and the mountains.

  14. @Frank

    The kit looks great. You’re styling for sure.

    Hurricane Ridge is an awesome ride, have done it a few times myself over the years. You’re also right on about the PNW being a killer place to live and ride. I’ve been here for 21 years and couldn’t agree more.

    And yeah, this spring has been a little a wacky. 49 degrees the other day as I rode off to work – in June!

  15. Frank, awesome kit. How would the rules interpret only sporting the jersey?

    I’m missing the mountains already. My chum and I got caught in a torrential downpour at about 1400m just as we cleared a pass in Italy recently. It was a solid 16k of descent before we could turn a pedal in anger again, with rivers literally running across the road. Towards the bottom, we both absolutely mullered our largest gear, shooting past a very surprised german motorcyclist, just to try and stop our teeth from chattering.

    On the contrary, it was 29deg in London yesterday and humid as an overworked chamois. I was sweating toxic bullets after my usual ride and hating every minute of it. The only redeeming feature of the whole experience was that I got a proper set of panda eyes from all the dust and shite flying around. Lent me a certain rakish, Rule #5-esque look that was probably unwarranted given how slowly I’d been going….

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