Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Home Race

This weekend is the race weekend that I’ve built my ‘cross season around- the Windsor & Putney double. Both races feature great courses in interesting venues and are within very reasonable driving distance from my house. In many ways this is my big race weekend, and I’ve been thinking about it for months.

Each spring I get a couple pairs of gloves, or more accurately a couple pairs of 661 Rajis. Last year I went with white, and one of the two pairs I got were reserved for race day. That pair only ended up seeing action twice as the other pair stayed remarkably clean all season, so I decided to keep them for this year’s big races.

While pouring over European Race photos earlier this year I noticed that Marc Madiot’s Francaise des Jeux ProTour team has two different varieties of shorts to go with their white jerseys. First, Madiot is a two-time winner of Paris-Roubaix (’85 and ’91) and since he retired from racing has been widely regarded for his skill in developing young cycling talent such as Bradley McGee and Phillipe Gilbert. He’s also been a consistent supporter of clean cycling (as opposed to simply being anti-doping) and his was the first team to prominently feature predominantly white kits not because they were cool or practical, but because of what the color represented. Before CSC/Saxo, AG2R and Quick Step, FDJ wore white.

From what I gather the FDJ squad wears navy colored shorts for events outside of their native France (or in bad weather for obvious reasons), but when they race in France they switch to white shorts. Different “home” and “away” uniforms are common in most sports but otherwise curiously absent in cycling. It’s a subtle way that they put their best foot forward and demonstrate the pride in what racing at home means to them.

So this weekend I’ll be featuring my version of the home kit- my white gloves. I know they won’t help my performance, but when I pull them on at the start line I’ll remember the time and effort I’ve made to prepare.

Like life, the little things in cycling are what I savor the most.


  1. Home/Away kit is brilliant! And why not add names on the jersey for casual viewers? And every now and then, drop the (cycling) gloves and just let the teams go at it. Kinda like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nLmCuVZ4s0 but obviously the team managers need to learn from NHL refs on how to let a fight go.

  2. 'Cross guys are way ahead of the rest of the cycling world on this one- check out Todd Wells' personalized jersey.


    There were also fisticuffs between Jonathan Baker and AHM at 'cross nationals a couple of years ago. I suppose fisticuffs might be too strong a word for it since Baker swung at Myerson as Myerson rode away. It was certainly less embarrassing for both parties than the finish line spat at the tour this year.