If, like us, you’re sat somewhere in the northern hemisphere looking out at rain, sleet and snow, you’ll likely be thinking it’s time to head south. And for many riders, a pre-season training camp is just the tonic for the winter blues. Whether it’s a long weekend in Nice, or five days finding form on Sa Calobra, training camps can be the key to a great season of riding. Even if you can only manage a wet weekend in Wales, there’s nothing better than some new kit to get you in the right frame of mind. Here, we offer Rapha’s guide to some of the essential pieces that will help make your riding that little bit better in 2014.
The unsung heroes of the Rapha emporium, Merino Base Layers are the unflinching domestiques of the range and among the most essential pieces of kit we produce. Supremely soft and comfortable, as well as highly insulating, having one or two new ones each season is never a bad idea. The Merino Mesh Base Layer, on the other hand, is ideal for warmer climates, or for intense, high-tempo riding. The odour-resistant nature of merino also means you can go for a week’s riding and get away with taking just two or three base layers. Available in a wide range of colours, weights, and sleeve lengths, Merino Base Layers not only transfer moisture incredibly well, they are also itch-free.
If the Shoe Fits
There’s no point trying to break in a fresh pair of road crepes when the racing has started and the big rides are coming thick and fast. Short, pre-season rides are the ideal time to get your feet used to their new homes and ensure your cleat set-up is just right. If you are going to invest in a new pair of shoes for the upcoming season, make sure they’re Rapha Grand Tour Shoes. Designed in collaboration with Giro for cutting-edge performance and optimum power transfer, the shoes feature a perforated yak leather upper, Easton® carbon sole and cork/EVA footbeds that mould to the shape of your feet. The shoes are finished with a machined aluminum buckle and titanium D-rings.
Even if you don’t race, a good massage while on a training camp will both aid your recovery and give you that pro experience. To make things easier for your ‘soigneur’, shaved legs are a good idea and will also accentuate your ripped pins when you return home. Rapha Shaving Cream is a luxurious blend of natural ingredients and essential oils for the well-groomed cyclist, and is perfect both for your legs and face. It’s also worth packing Rapha’s Winter or Summer Embrocation, depending on conditions, to make your legs feel amazing and smell great. Just remember not to use it immediately after shaving. Especially on your face.
Like base layers, Rapha’s Leg, Knee and Arm Warmers are essential when riding in the changeable climates of the Mediterranean and Balearics at this time of year. If you start a day’s riding just as the sun is rising (and you should be if you aim to get the most out of your precious time away), then having coverage for your arms and legs that you can remove and store in a jersey pocket when things warm up is vital. With merino and Thermo Roubaix® versions available, they also make your riding wardrobe truly modular.
New Jersey & Jacket
There’s nothing better than pulling on a box-fresh jersey on your first day of camp. The Rapha collection now boasts numerous jerseys we would happily recommend but perhaps Sir or Madam might be interested in something from the Pro Team collection? With both short sleeve and long sleeve jerseys available, as well as the ultimate jersey-jacket hybrid, Pro Team products are ideal if you’re building your training camp intensity. If you prefer timeless style, the Classic Jersey comes with complimentary Arm Warmers. And, if you’re only going to take one jacket, make it a Classic Wind Jacket. Stylish, stowable, perfect.
Recover in Style
Rapha’s Transfer collection products are among the standout innovations from the past couple of seasons. Made with PrimaLoft® ONE insulation and ideal for post-ride recovery, as well as travelling to and from camp, the Transfer Jacket and Transfer Gilet are both light, snug and packable. Transfer Trousers are the perfect compliment for your legs and when combined with some Merino Boxers, offer the ultimate post-ride recovery wear.