Review: Rapha Pro Team Base Layer Long Sleeve
(2018) Several years back I encountered a coach who caused me to dig deeper than I thought possible to find success. His form of motivation was a variety of turning red with anger and screaming his head off. What motivated me - and us - was the desire to never get yelled at by him. We even experienced sprints after a game when our effort was phoned-in. We were humiliated during the game as well as after. The Zamboni driver even retreated back to the office, not interested in provoking an already exploding man. All who shared that experience never forgot it or the lesson that accompanied it.
When Rapha continued their base layers with quotes, one featured the famous Udo Bolts quote “Qual dich, du Sau!” The loosely translated version he yelled to a cracking Jan Ulrich in 1997 is, “Make yourself suffer, you pig!” Seeing that quote on a base layer sent me back to the days of similar sentiments. Most people shirk at a garment reminiscent of motivating days, but that’s exactly why I ordered the Rapha Pro Team Base Layer long sleeve.
The design of the base layer is as expected. The mesh garment fits as if suctioned to the body. The sleeve length is adequate for a colder weather base layer. The thickness is where it really shines: this layer is perfect for those current fall rides. Making it the first layer to reach for, the Rapha Pro Team Base Layer was tested on cooler fall rides but also on a couple really cold rides with smartly selected outerwear. One thing Rapha does well with base layers is making a comfortable cut. This is a confident go-to garment in the off-season.
The purpose of the quote is to motivate if it becomes necessary to put pressure on the pedals and giddyap. The off-season is a tough time to get out the door when frost has encased the still green grass in a sleeve of rime. Motivation is precisely the propulsion that gets us out from under flannel covers and away from the brewing pot of coffee. “Make yourself suffer” justifies why we get out on the roads when those who don’t understand stay indoors. And when the route turns to go up one of the difficult hills, and curiously the outer layer gets unzipped, the quote returns the gaze. Perhaps another quote Rapha could blaze on their base layer is, “You are here by choice.”
I enjoy both the short sleeve and long sleeve base layers made by Rapha that are stored in the kit drawer. Some people could not justify purchasing an item just because it has a snappy quote, but this one is serves a purpose. Since the quotes rotate from season to season, there are sure to be more words affixed to a simple base layer. If you see someone wearing outerwear items reviewed on our site while hammering through some cold weather, be confident knowing there is a quote stamped across the chest, in an easily accessible place to provide summer light to the winter days. Maybe we will make our own quote base layers for training. We’ll start with the deeply motivating, “Hold your line!”