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Go-To-Gear: Baselayers

He'll never ride without a baselayer...that's Jim's superstition

Jim wearing his favorite base layer.

I loved watching Gert-Jan Theunisse climb. For those too young to remember the Dutchman, he crushed the stage to Alpe d’Huez in front of Greg Lemond and procured the Polka Dot Jersey at the 1989 Tour de France. He was an incredibly unattractive man who wore his unruly hair in a mullet and bobbed around on his bike like a madman. As was typical of those days, he did not wear a helmet.

I recently returned to the YouTube clips of this classic stage and while sitting there at my computer I noticed something; something I hadn't noticed before. While Lemond, Millar and the others were all bare-chested, underneath Gert-Jan’s PDM jersey, he was wearing a greyish baselayer.

That’s right. Gert-Jan was crushing the climb to Alpe d’Huez while rocking a piece of kit no one else thought necessary. As we now know, he was ahead of his time. A baselayer will keep you cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter and just so right the rest of the year. He’d figured that out, but it took the rest of field a while longer.

Nowadays I’m a freak for the baselayers. I have a closet full, and my one piece of shopping advice when you go to buy one of these wonders of the garment world is: spend more than you thought you ever would. A baselayer takes a lot of abuse and the cheaper layers stretch out and get mangled at a much faster rate then the spendy pieces. A baselayer will more than likely be the one piece of attire you notice while pedaling, after your chamois of course, so it is important to get the good stuff. A good quality baselayer, matched to a so-so jersey will leave you much h...