In part two of my pre-Transcontinental word vomit, I’ll take you through my choice of kit I’ll wear for the full event. As many of you are aware, I’m a proud ambassador for Rapha so everything you see here is indeed Rapha (and it’s the best!).
I’ll start from the top down, shall I?
“Why aren’t you wearing brevet, I hear you ask?” and it’s simply just personal preference. I get along better with the classic jersey, it fits me better and I find it more comfortable. Technically, the fabrics aren’t too far different. Classic has 4% less merino than brevet so I might start smelling a little sooner but other than that, it’s largely very similar. Another notable omission from classic vs brevet is the reflective stripes but that’s something I can deal with.
I’ve had New Balance sports bras in the past simply because I used them in my running days. They’ve been excellent and I still wear them to this day but this is the bra I save for Sunday best. It’s so comfortable and feels silky smooth. The girls’ feedback keeps me using it time and time again.
This base layer is new to Rapha this year and I think I’ll be buying a few more in the months to come. I wanted a base layer that would be both insulating if I need it but also cooling and lightweight. One of my main goals for TCR is to get away with being “not too smelly” and this merino fabric will hopefully do the trick. I’ve gone for sleeveless just because of the time of year, though I do have a short sleeve version too. Let’s get wicking!
These shorts are the cycling gods’ gifts to cyclists everywhere. I’ve worn these on almost every ride since I got them and I just got another pair to take as back-up for the race. They’re comfortable, flattering, have good leg length and dry quickly, which means I can wash a pair and wear a pair en route.
Once again, merino and reflective are two characteristics I’ve tried to stick to where possible. I don’t know if there’s much you can say about socks but I really like these and they match my insulated gilet and that’s the main thing, right?
These little dancing shoes took some getting used to after previously having my beautiful Giro Empires (RIP). At first, they’re really stiff because of the coating to make them reflective which is essentially tiny fragments of glass. Eventually, though my feet got used to them and now I wear them all the time. I’ve churned through cleats while these have been invincible without being invisible. My riding pals are frequently blinded by them if the sun catches them at the right angle. On a safety note, I think these are going to prove invaluable.
Much like the brevet bibs, I see this gilet as a must-have in any cyclist’s wardrobe. I have two in fact. When it’s a bit chilly in the morning, put this on. When it’s getting a bit cooler in the evenings, put this on. If you’re doing a bit of night riding in summer, put this on. If you’re caught out in a little shower (like, a tiny bit of drizzle for not very long), put this on. It’s saved me a few times and that’s why I’m taking it with me.
I’m not anticipating much rain but I dare say we’ll get some. For this reason, I’m not taking a full-blown waterproof jacket but rather this cape which is shower-proof and will do the job for at least a little bit.
I’m ginger, need I say more? When I was back home in Adelaide in February, I got really burnt so the very next day I bought these. They’re a little tight on the wrists but apart from that, they’re going on my arms when I’ve got to spend long days in the scorching sun. I’ve got them in white to hopefully reflect the heat but they’re available in black too.
Merino arm/knee warmers
For night riding, it gets chilly even if only relatively speaking. In the mountains, it might be windy and it’ll certainly be a few degrees cooler than the valleys below. I will likely wear these in the rain if it gets chilly too and while they’re not waterproof, they’re warm and that’s the main thing.
I sound like a stuck record but they’re reflective – YAY! And also really lightweight and comfortable. I struggled with nerve damage after I rode to Copenhagen and I don’t think mitts are ever going to change that risk but at the very least, these match my ongoing colour-scheme, they do a great job and I enjoy wearing mitts when I ride.
Forgive me for talking so highly about a pair of gloves you can’t actually buy anymore (I don’t know why) but these are the dogs. Unless it’s raining, I wear these a lot in winter usually with merino liners for a bit more warmth. During the warmer months, I’ll wear these at night for when it’s a bit chillier, especially on mountain descents.
For sleeping, I like to wear a hat. It’s comforting and makes me feel a bit more protected when I’m out in the open. Obviously in hotels, I won’t wear one – duh!
Got to keep those peepers peeping and what better way that with a pair of glasses you can barely feel on your face. These fit perfectly in my helmet garage too so when it gets bit darker or gloomy, they’ll happily sit up top. I have the bronze lenses but I also have a clear one which I’m not sure whether to take given I might break either of them when they’re not in use. Thoughts welcome…
Photo credit: Andy Matthews and Chris Hargreaves