SATURDAY - LAKE DAVIS, CALIFORNIA
As my body catapulted into the unforgiving terra firma of the subalpine Sierra Nevada Mountains, before the bolts of pain from every limb rippled through my body, before I would narrowly avoid taking down the former Czech national champion along with me, and before I was sitting on the back of a fire engine as my eyesight grew dim while my heartrate plummeted to near-zero, I wondered "Is the kit okay?"
Without the kit intact, everything would be lost. Fortune favors the bold, and the Gods of Crash smiled upon me that Saturday. CHPT3's ONEMORELAP 1.22 assemblage proved far more durable than my own carapace, paving the way for what was to come.
A MONDAY IN HELL
I knew this would be an infernal day before embarking, and even before narrowly escaping from the Lost & Found gravel race alive two days prior. It was the second day of my 700km mixed-terrain quest across Northern California, from the mighty Sierras to maritime Marin County. Today - Monday - would make up nearly a third of the total distance of the journey, a westward 225km monstrosity, traipsing from the foothill burg of Nevada City across the blistering, windswept Central Valley, then scrambling up the desolate eastern reaches of the Inner Coast Range to gain most of the day's 2600m of vertical, and then down into the parolee paradise of Clearlake. Today, the average temperature would skirt 90°F, and everything I wore would be tested. Even my sunglasses. What better way to celebrate the occasion than to don the kit celebrating David Millar's premature finish of the hardest one-day bicycle race in the world, Paris-Roubaix? ONEMORELAP, when his 113th-place finish was nearly left unclaimed after Mr. Millar failed to complete his final circuit on the velodrome of Roubaix.
1.22 ONEMORELAP JERSEY
CHPT3's initial jersey offering is the 1.21, a highly-tailored piece of kit that looks as good on the bike as off, with a buttoned collar, darting, long, tailored cut, and subtle details that wow even non-riders. The 1.22 ONEMORELAP piece is markedly different, especially at first glance. Modeled after a 1980s poster of Greg LeMond in the Castelli office in Fonzaso, Italy, it's a throwback piece with enough style and technicality to more than hold its own in 2017. The cut is unique - fairly CHPT3-svelte, but not quite as trim as the original 1.21 jersey, with a length more in the realm of a standard cycling jersey. Sizing is once more numbered, a la suitjackets, giving the wearer a more precise fit. I typically slot between a small and medium jersey in most brands, and the size 38 jersey fit my fairly scrawny upper body perfectly. The sleeves are fairly long and seem like they may have too much circumference for a typical bike rider, but both aspects coupled with the lack of a gripper made for a perfect combination without any riding up to speak of. The typical tall CHPT3 collar, in the NoveUnedici (pictured) colorway has a bright ruddy red color reveal underneath, accenting the rest of the line to a T.
The fabric itself is fairly soft, luxurious, and thick, with much more luft than we typically see in a short-sleeve jersey. However, its heavier weight belies its thermal regulation properties, and I was comfortable in the 1.22 OML until the thermometer hit the low-80s, when I found myself opening it up when my speeds dropped, especially on the dirt deathmarch climbs from the Central Valley. It also lacks a high amount of stretch in contrast to the original 1.21. This makes for a piece that, as long as it fits properly, looks exactly as it should in nearly any position without compromising comfort. It also means that the pockets, when laden, stay put, thanks to the support from the jersey. However, it does make it harder to cram a day's worth of food into the rear compartments, making for obligatory bakery/beer/taco stops along the way (woe is me). From a durability perspective, while my shoulder was ripped apart and bloody in the initial crash, not a mark was made on the jersey. Even after bleeding through it for another two days and dragging it through the dirt, it washed clean. Both the full-length front zip and rear stash pocket zip (no dumping cards on the side of the road) are extremely high-quality, industrial-feeling big-tooth zippers with a galvanized look. Like most pieces from the line, everything about the jersey is obviously designed, with nothing added as an afterthought or obligation. And, to put it curtly, the 1.22 ONEMORELAP tends to look good on most people, thanks to the cut and textiles. The white "NoveUndici" colorway is complemented by a more sedate "Outer Space" deep-navy color available, and more aesthetic treatments are in the pipe for the 1.22.
1.12 ONEMORELAP BIBSHORTS
The first bibshort CHPT3 released, the 1.11, is possibly the most polarizing item in the collection. With an extremely compressive/high waist and seamless construction it's a stunning piece on many individuals. But, its unique and eccentric fit can be polarizing - which leads us to the 1.12 ONEMORELAP bibshort. Using the same extravagant, 240g luxe fabric as the 1.11, it uses panel construction instead of the Bodypaint-esque seamless build and a more common strap design to bring costs down. With these changes, comfort - a different comfort - rises to the fore. The 1.12 has a much more free feeling around the waist, allowing the unique, high-stretch fabric to really shine with just enough compression, and the bibs feel immediately one with the rider, akin to a place it'd be easy to drop into for a six-hour ride. Or, eight-and-a-half, as my Monday was, especially in higher-heat conditions. They use the same CHPT3-edition venerable Castelli X2 chamois, and while it's a bit more minimal size-wise than the Cytech pads I've been used to with Q36.5, I never had issues with chafing or pain. The length is similar to the original 1.11, and sizing is still by waist, allowing riders to effectively split sizes to achieve precise fit. The gripper is a seamless, modern-feeling affair, but it's still an elastic band, and can cause a slight muffin-topping for those of us with tree trunks for legs. Fear not, fat-legged friends (like myself): Word has it that the 2018 version of these bibs will use a wide, laser-cut gripper. In the Outer Space colorway, the 1.12 ONEMORELAP bibs pair perfectly with just about everything else in the CHPT3 line, and for the vastly-reduced price compared to their 1.11 brethren ($200 vs. $325 MSRP), they might be the best value in bibs going.
My personal Monday in Hell finished in the early summer twilight along a lonely highway with no shoulder and tractor trailers traveling at 110KPH, with each slight rise encountered requiring the steely gumption normally reserved for tackling massive HC climbs, or staying on the wheel in front of my nose at 600 watts. I was utterly, brutally miserable, but none of it was because of the kit I was wearing. I finished the day haggard, staggering to the front desk of the most bizarre Best Western I'd ever wandered into. Apparently, I wasn't looking incredibly disheveled, as the clerk inquired if I'd been on "a little bike ride". I'll take it.