Thursday, February 04, 2021

Jersey Time

The 2021 choices for PCL jerseys. Image courtesy of the PCL
 We all have the need to feel like we belong to something. It may be a family, another significant 'other' (don't you find that term odd?), or an organization or team. Whatever it may be, we humans are social creatures and we are attracted to 'tribes', for lack of a better term. 

Ever since I participated in the 2008 Good Life Gravel Adventure, and ever since the Pirate Cycling League guys started patronizing Trans Iowa, I wanted to be a 'pirate'. Not a rogue of the seas pirate, no, no, no! A fellow of the gravel riding 'Pirates'. I just thought what they had going on down there in Lincoln was something really special. But up here? Ha! I was ignored and considered a weirdo for wanting to ride on gravel roads. 

I tried to get things going up here, but it was like pulling teeth. I put on a group ride for years, faithfully showing up weekly and riding, many times alone. After several years of that, I grew tired and just gave it up. Of course now there is a thriving gravel scene up here, but that isn't the point. I wanted to get something going up here along the lines of the Pirate Cycling League. I thought maybe there could be an event started up here, and I even presented an idea to a local cycling team, but they voted it down, (right in front of me, I might add), because they were afraid it would impinge upon their efforts to put on a local cyclo cross event. And since then, I don't know that their event has grown a lick. Meanwhile gravel events are popping up all around us and it is likely that nothing will happen up here at all. 

Here I am flying the PCL colors in 2015 at Odin's Revenge in Nebraska. Image by Wally Kilburg.

I also thought it would be cool to have our own colors and get a local tribe going, and even though I wasn't successful, another small local group has tried this with about the same response I was getting. It's weird, but you know how it is: "I tell all of you with certainty, a prophet is not accepted in his hometown."

Anyway, no hard feelings, I just think it is so weird things turned out this way. And I found another outlet for my feelings to be expressed anyway. I just decided I would buy a PCL jersey and be a pirate in exile. I've purchased several PCL jerseys over the years, and while I skipped last year's offerings, I decided to buy in again this year. Over the last several years, the PCL has put out two designs to choose from. Boy, was the choice hard this year!

So I just ordered one of each!

Here I am wearing the last PCL jersey I bought a couple years ago.

Yep! I couldn't decide so I just pulled the trigger on both designs. I like each one really well, and while the red/black one might be more traditional, the orange one is a break-out from the traditional PCL garb and I think it is a refreshing change. Besides, it's orange. Orange is fast! 

Me? Not so much, but at least I might feel faster in that jersey! 

It might be fun sometime for me to dig up all the different PCL jerseys I have and show them here on the blog. I didn't buy every single one they put out, but I might have five or six different PCL designs that I wear regularly on rides. I know one I have goes way back, at least about ten years ago, I think. 

I also have one other PCL jersey which I have not mentioned to many people and I've only worn it maybe two times because,'ll see. I was at the first edition of Gravel Worlds when I had been drug back to the start by CVO, (R.I.P.), and I had told Corey, "Cornbread" Godfrey, one of the RD's at Gravel Worlds,  I was done and headed home. As I was walking away, he shouted out and tossed a plastic bag at me. It was a first year Gravel Worlds jersey. Yeah....I didn't deserve that, and I felt it should be something earned, but..... I'm still a bit conflicted by that jersey to this day. I do get it out and look at it from time to time and remember that day and the kindness of CVO and Cornbread. Ah!.......memories. 

Maybe I should have that jersey mounted in a frame. Hmm.... 

So, anyway, there ya go! If you see me flying the PCL colors, you now know why I do that. Those guys are special and I love them and what they do. Gravel event pioneers and good people. They deserve some recognition, and I can piggyback on and be a "Pirate in Exile" while I wear their jerseys up here. May as well, because the alternatives are few around here...... 



MG said...

Aarrgghhh... Anyone that says you’re not a Pirate will walk the plank!! You’re just as much a part of the family as any of us, Brother.

FWIW, regarding the successful proliferation of the PCL, I think it was a combination of timing, collective mood and a feeling that, if you want to be a part of it, awesome, but if you don’t, we’ll still ride free. We had a small core group that simply wouldn’t be denied, and fortunately our message resonated with other like minded cyclists. I’m not sure it’d ever happen that way again, but I’m sure thankful for what we have.

Thanks for being you, and for all the love and support you’ve given us over the years. We’re the lucky ones.

Guitar Ted said...

@MG - Thanks Brother! You are the best!