Author note: I was running short of posts, and I needed something. Also, Rahpa is having a contest and I wanted to… err… throw my hat into the ring. Hence the name dropping. I also really like the hat. I will hopefully return to some kind of regular scheduled posts. Whatever that means.
“You aren’t wearing that out” My Girlfriend’s voice pitched upward at the end, but I’m sure she wasn’t asking a question. She was making a statement. She was telling me that under no circumstances was I going to wear my sweat stained Rapha Cap out. We were heading out, to meet friends, or the grocery store — some place that had nothing to do with cycling. This fact alone should have disqualified use of the hat, however habit is hard to break. Over the past year at least 90 percent of my trips out the front door have included a bike, hence the habit of placing its three stitched panels on my noggin, and my (formerly) white hat shows it.
Deep down I knew buying the white one was a bad idea. That no matter how often it was washed the result would be the same. Yellow, black dinginess. This is why I wasn’t “allowed” to wear the offending hat out. I talked of retiring the hat one day after seeing that the frequent washes were not enough to stop the oncoming assault of sweat, weather, and time.
Slowly the bright white started to fade and the front started to take on a darker hue. I bought a new hat, in the colors of a local team, but felt like an ass wearing it out because well — it wasn’t my team. That hat was also too big for my small pin head. It took about a week before I fell back to the dingy white Rapha Cap.
Now, standing in the kitchen I looked down at the floor and sheepishly said “No…” Pulled the hat off my head left the house. Two weeks later I bought a new one. This one black, with a fetching pink stripe. It should last a bit longer.
Still I keep the white one near by, on my desk. Etched into it’s faded cotton fibers are thousand of miles. Ridden in the rain, heat and whatever else the Northwest weather has managed to throw my way. Etched into those fibers is the sweat shed in the pursuit of a brake away, or in the final sprint to the line. I’m not really a sentimental chap, but this hat holds part of the story that is my first year back after taking five years off. It’s the story of my first season racing. For that reason alone it will continue to hang around. Maybe we can ride again someday.