It arrives pristine and neatly folded in a hermetically sealed bag, a bag that we save and use throughout the season, because we’re strange like that. The jersey’s colors pop out and the contrast between the bright white and royal blue is startling. "This time", I vow, "my jersey is going to stay nice." The first time I wear it, it still has fold marks, smells fresh, and I wear it with pride. It makes me feel fast and I am happy to represent our sponsors with such a fine piece of apparel. "Dynamic Physical Therapy" screams from the white bubble with sharp tones and crisp font.
After the first few washings, I snatch it out of the laundry basket and carefully hang it in the closet so it stays unwrinkled and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Then, races like the DK200, Blackwater, Black Bear occur, with hours-worth of sweat, dust, dirt, grime, bog water, snot, maybe even a little blood worming their way into the threads of the jersey. Suddenly, it comes out of the wash looking a little grimey, not so crisp, not smelling quite so freshly laundered. When it comes time to pack up for another race, I have to dig around to find it… "Honey, have you seen my jersey?" becomes an oft-repeated inquiry in the Shogren house.
As the mountain bike season wraps up, spots abound on the not-so-bright whitish bubble, I can see where I left gum in the pocket, and where I scuffed the royal blue hitting a tree. The whole jersey has acquired a slightly gray pallor to it and certain smells emit from it, despite repeated soakings.
Some things don’t change, though; I still feel fast when I put it on and I still represent our sponsors with pride. This jersey, I realize, was not meant to stay nice.
Our Swiftwick socks also live a rough live, probably worse in some ways, but being as most of ours aren't white, they come through "looking" a bit better time after time...
Here our are dirty-jersey race results as of late-
24 Blackwater- Betsy 1st, Gunnar 1st Vet (1st SS and 4th overall)
31 Little Beaver- Betsy 1st, Gunnar 1st Vet (1st SS and 2nd overall)
06 Big Bear Ultra- Betsy 1st, Gunnar 2nd SS (4th overall)
14 Black Bear WV States- Betsy 1st, Gunnar 1st Vet (2nd overall!, 1st SS)