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Nov 30, 2010

Randy Cobb Wins Heroic Gloves In Roadracing World Contest

Jason DiSalvo chose Randy Cobb of Nipomo, California, as the winner of the second "Jason Against the World Contest," Presented by Heroic Racing Apparel. Randy won a pair of Heroic SP-R Pro Gloves.

"I chose 'Harsh Life of Gloves' because of its truth. Not everyone treats their gloves this way, but I've definitely had pairs that I put through the ringer. It's a good reminder to all riders to take care of their gloves and they'll take care of you!" said DiSalvo of Cobb's letter.

The winning entry follows:

THE HARSH LIFE OF GLOVES

By Randy Cobb

My anticipation was building as I went through tech with my bike. Each track day is like my first with butterflies actively generating enough lift to take me to the moon. I asked myself, 'I wonder if the Pros get these before every race? Surely pros like Jason DiSalvo don't get butterflies, do they?'

My thoughts moved on quickly as I dove into my gear bag to get ready for the first session and it was upon looking at my gloves that a realization hit me as solidly as having your brake lever go all the way to the grip: My gloves were knackered! (The Brits use such great terminology!)

My gloves were all shriveled and dried out and as I looked at them, I remembered telling myself after my last track day that I badly needed some new ones. I mean, I don't know about the rest of you, but based on my own observations I would say that most of you are like myself, in the way we treat our gloves.

Motorcycling gloves have to be the unsung heros within our gear bags. They are the least thought about, and the most abused in the way they are treated, stored, and used throughout their life. If only gloves could talk, what stories could they tell? What has happened to cause their condition? Can you imagine the story the gloves of Troy Bayliss or Roger Hayden might tell of the events that led up to eventual amputation of a pinky finger?

As I looked at my gloves, I decide it has been the amount of sweat during those times of, well, let's just say "excitement," that has certainly been the primary cause of their condition. I can luckily say for myself that it hasn't been due to any direct contact with asphalt, gravel, dirt, or any other substance one might find while sliding off course through Turn X at your home track. For riders who push much harder than I do, that is not the case. Without having the skills of a Pro like Jason, my lean angles and approach is one of self-preservation which has bode well for my gloves over their life.

I suppose, though that the time my brake lever went all the way to the grip, causing me to stand the bike up and run through the weeds and mud produced enough anxious (scared) perspiration to those gloves to do them in right then and there. At the end of the day, the gloves get shoved in the gear bag and forgotten about until they are needed again.

Time and time again, gloves are subjected to continued abuse, like the time I was railing (in my own sense of the word) through a corner, approaching the apex, when what should I see come into my peripheral view but a splash of color which turned into another rider who was taking that inside line away. As he stuffed me, coming only what seemed like inches away, the response was typical for your average Group B rider having fun at a track day--mild panic, over-compensation and running wide, finding out the paint on the curbing on the exit isn't that fancy no-slip stuff they use at the professional tracks. Pulling in after that session I was sweating enough you would have thought it had been raining inside my leathers. My poor gloves were so wet inside I propped them up in the sun and hoped they'd dry out in the 40 minutes before it was time to go out on track and do it all over again.

Then there was another guy, who came within a foot of me on the edge of the track to my right, riding the curb, as we approached a left-hander. He was clearly not going to make the turn in, but as he passed me and encountered another rider in front of me, he tried anyway, making contact and forcing both of them to go straight into the dirt. Plastic pieces started flying off before they were even off the track, and my last view was the innocent rider going down in a cloud of dust. I couldn't believe what I was seeing but with the concentration similar to DiSalvo dicing with Hayes, I stayed on my line and made it through the corner. My heart was pounding so fast I thought I was going into cardiac arrest right there. Again, my poor gloves were getting subjected to extreme mistreatment with my sweat, which looking at these shriveled, dried up pieces of leather must be as corrosive as battery acid.

So, oondering the life of these things that barely resemble the beautifully crafted items they once were, I can't help but think about how gloves are so important in our arsenal of protective gear, but are not given the proper attention. Do you think Troy Bayliss, or Roger Hayden take better care of their gloves after their incidents? I would hope so. After seeing what can happen in those instances of going down, I now have a much different approach when buying gloves. Whether it be the gloves I use for track days, or the gloves for my everyday riding, I no longer simplify the purchase as gear I can cheap out on, either in cost or quality. Gloves are indeed the "Heroic" figures of our arsenal, and need to be treated as such.

Give your gloves some love, and start treating them better.