Ride the Rapha Festive 500km

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I was emailed about the Rapha Festive 500 today:

Challenge yourself to ride the Rapha Festive 500 this holiday season. Complete 500km in the eight days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and document your story to win incredible prizes, including a Moots bicycle built to your specifications.

I love the concept of this, although my chance of success would be tiny!

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Rapha Team Sky Road Race Mesh Skinsuit

Lycra is already pretty revealing. One of the first things beginner cyclists have to learn is how to be comfortable in the shorts. The Rapha Road Race Mesh Skinsuit has taken that to the next level. One step short of nearly nude, the skinsuit is built for the hottest days on the bike in places like Australia, Qatar, and Oman. Most of us mortals would wilt under the heat of the desert sun just watching the race, let alone performing at the levels of Team Sky. To help ensure their athletes stay as cool as possible, the new skinsuit helps shed the heat, while leaving little to the imagination.

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The skinsuit made quite a ruckus after a certain rider by the name of Froome posted his racy pic on Twitter. Judging by the number of retweets and favorites, the public was quite entertained.

From Rapha:

Background

The Road Race Mesh Skinsuit draws upon Sky’s experiences from both the 2013 Tour Down Under and the 2013 Tour de France. In Australia, feedback from Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard on our Summer Bib Shorts resulted in the creation of a mid-season, second-generation Summer Bib Short, which was later used at the Tour de France. In France, the Team also had development prototypes of the Mesh Jersey, though on time trail days when aerodynamics trumped all other factors, the choice was for a more traditional skinsuit. During shorter distance stages, the bulk of the peloton, including Pete Kennaugh, started using skinsuits for aerodynamic advantage.

Innovation and Specifics

These traditional skinsuits, however, lacked airflow and required temperature management. Observing this, Piers Thomas, the Rapha Team Sky Design Manager, returned from France with a plan to make a garment that would be both cooling and aerodynamic.  He started by connecting the Mesh Jersey with the second-generation Summer Bib Shorts. Working with the Rapha product development team to refine this concept, the design evolved into the 2014 Road Race Mesh Skinsuit-  a 196.6-gram one-piece suit (size Medium) for the hottest racing days.

Technically, the mesh structure and material are similar to that used in the Rapha Pro Team Baselayer. The mesh upper and front thigh sections allow for maximum airflow and evaporative cooling while the panels in the shorts rely on our tried-and-tested coldblack® for additional comfort.

Commercialization

There are no plans for Rapha to sell the Road Mesh Skinsuit in 2014 as part of the Sky range, though there will be a Team Sky Mesh Jersey available mid-summer that features many of the same insights from the riders in its construction.

Rapha unveils Team Sky 2013 cycling kits

For 2013, Rapha is sponsoring their first pro team with full kit and the requisite lifestyle and “fan” replica pieces. In usual Rapha style, they’ve gone all out with the story telling and imagery.

The gear will encompass pro-level cycling kit that’s the same stuff team riders will race in, less expensive enthusiast gear that looks quite similar but is slightly less technical, and daily wear and accoutrements to let the rest of the screaming, cowbell swinging fans know who you’re rooting for.

Immerse yourself in the product range on their website or with their Mallorca training camp Look Book(including interview with Team Performance Manager Rod Ellingworth) to get in the mood, then click below for images and a brief description of the three tiers of clothing and kit offered.

FROM THE PRESS RELEASE: “The opportunity to work with the riders and staff of Team Sky has always been about improving how they perform, look and feel as a ‘Team Sky rider 24 hours a day’. We are excited about the refinements we have brought to the on­?bike clothing and are very glad to be able to redefine their look off the bike in a way more commensurate with the stature of these riders and the team,” said Simon Mottram, Founder and CEO of Rapha. “This has been a massive undertaking for everyone here at Rapha to get this launch today. To see the full breadth of the offer become a reality for everyone at Team Sky and for our customers is amazing.”

The complete collection comes available mid-­February online at Rapha.cc and at Rapha Cycle Club stores in London, San Francisco, and Osaka. Key supporter products will be sold at key European races and events via a mobile Rapha Cycle Club. A selection of the offering will be sold through the current Rapha stockists around the globe.

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Pro-Team: At the highest level, riders will be able to wear exactly what the Team Sky riders will wear to race and train in 2013, keeping the same design, fit and performance from the peloton. The Pro-Team offer includes a mix of jerseys, bibs, jackets, merino, and accessories.

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Replica: For the rider wanting the look but who doesn’t require the complete pro-performance or price tag. The Replica offer includes women’s and kid’s and “Wiggo” emblazoned jerseys.

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City Wear & Supporter: Created to dress the riders and staff of Team Sky, the offering for supporters ranges from new gingham check colors of the Rapha Long Sleeve Shirt, Rapha Jeans, T-shirts, and supporters scarves and flags. A standout new product in this offer is the ‘Supporters Jersey’, a top that has the look of the team but with a cut meant to pair with jeans for off-the-bike.