for those who may be aficionados of the big bang theory, you may recall the episode where sheldon cooper suffers from an alleged lack of closure. for those who are not viewers of the series, or who may not have seen the specific episode under discussion, think of setting up hundreds of dominoes only to have to pack them away before the domino effect can be demonstrated. or to have a jack-in-the-box removed before jack has the opportunity to pop up and say hello. or after making a wish and blowing out the candles on a cake, one candle is shielded to prevent being extinguished. i'm sure you get the general drift.
rapha's cima coppi jersey, featuring a most appropriate ultan coyle designed graphic, has created a similar effect at the croft. imperial works has a lengthy history of secreting story labels about the pocketry of many of their finest jerseys and jackets, occasionally directly relevant to the garment in question, but every now and again, rather cryptically so. maintaining this tradition always lives near the danger of becoming a cliché, but the cima coppi jersey, fashioned from magnificent sportwool (i love sportwool jerseys), hides the characterfully screened names of those mountains that have occupied the mantle of cima coppi in the giro d'italia since its inception in 1965.
i am not a garment specialist in the sense that were i to be handed several lengths of material and a sewing machine, i think a parachute may ensue rather than anything resembling a cycle jersey. however, based on observational deduction, it appears the names of each year's highest peak have been screened on the lower back prior to the pockets being attached. if you've followed me so far, you will already have a mental picture of typography which is all but impossible to read in serial fashion. i'm pretty sure that's exactly as rapha intended, and i'm happy to admit it suckered me totally and then some.
it may simply be a case of mistaken identity, but each iteration of rapha constituted sportwool seems more luxurious than its predecessor, both prior to and after washing. given its purported heritage, the combination of la gazzetta pink across the chest, shoulders and upper back, combined with a rich brown lower torso and left sleeve hoop which rapha describe as raisin is hard to fault. it celebrates the 50th anniversary of the cima coppi's origination as prize for the first over the highest climb in the race. this year, the col della finestre fulfils that honour; each of its antecedents is applied in raised lettering on the back of the jersey, while the numerals 1965 take pride of place on the centre pocket.
but for those who delight in enunciating phrases in a language they don't understand (like me, for instance), the right sleeve bears the embroidered mantra una scalata superba which, i believe i'm correct in stating, roughly translates as 'the ultimate climb'. the embroidered text and graphics mimic the era of il campionissimo after whom the annual prize is named. functionally, the jersey emulates many of its predecessors; three rear pockets with a fourth zipped version, quarter zip sliding into a zip garage at the collar and an impeccable fit. the only notable difference is a lack of the two outermost rear pockets fielding scalloped top edges. this fact, however, seems in no way to inhibit sliding the matching essential case in and out as required.
i cannot deny that the naming of the small, but perfectly formed essentials case seemed at first thought, something of a misnomer. on a jersey featuring three sizeably judged rear pockets and that all-important fourth zipped instance (for coffee money), why would a leather case, even with the ability to contain items that might be just as happy in raw pockets, be deemed essential? marketing at its best i'd warrant. or at least i would have had i not decided to place my coffee and cake money in its zipped inner pocket while allowing it the luxury of keeping my digital camera comfortable. by the time i'd reached debbie's, having made frequent stops for photographs, i was beginning to get a handle on this essential status, if for no other reason than the loop on the zip made it simplicity itself to extricate it insouciantly.
the crowning glory, if you'll pardon the allusion, is the matching casquette. once again, perception would indicate that rapha's caps have undergone a creeping schedule of endless improvement. the cima coppi example is certainly a far cry from the simple cotton team caps of yesteryear. the purist may view this as unnecessary enhancement of a utilitarian accessory, but few examples produced to recall the heyday of cycling's greats had need of spending their working day ensconced beneath a polystyrene helmet in the teeth of what passes for summer in the hebrides. the date 1965 once more makes an appearance atop the peak. for the more dapper amongst the pelotonese, there is also a cima coppi silk scarf available to match the three items already described.
by the end of this month, the giro d'italia will be over and done with for yet another year, and one rider will bask in the glory of having summitted the col della finestre ahead of his fellow riders. however, the memory of fausto coppi as one of the planet's finest riders of a bygone era will likely remain forever. aside from being a quite superb cycle jersey, rapha's cima coppi sportwool is as much a garment for right now as it is a celebration of a past heritage that is rightly often preceded by the adjective 'rich'.
rapha's cima coppi jersey is available in sizes from xs to xxl at a cost of £110. the matching cima coppi essentials case costs £45 and the cap is priced at £30.
friday 15 may 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................