RAMROD Stories: The 2018 Jersey Design

The concept and design behind this year's event jersey

This year's jersey is the result of a wonderful combination of opportunities: celebrating a past volunteer's contributions to RAMROD, leveraging the talent of a current RAMROD volunteer and celebrating our 35th anniversary.

Our current Jersey Director, Pam Austin, wanted to honor Jane Whitely who for many years beginning in the late 1990s was the Jersey Director responsible for establishing the expressive jersey designs that have come to define RAMROD jerseys. Jane's designs are well-loved and celebrated the beauty of Mount Rainier with illustrations of the mountain, trees and wildflowers.

Last season, we discovered that Paul Franks, a local cyclist, RAMROD veteran and RTS volunteer, was beginning to share his artistic talents and watercolor paintings of scenes from his training rides. We approached Paul and asked if he would paint a mountain scene to use for this year's jersey design. We were thrilled when Paul said yes and the idea was born to use Jane's 1999 jersey depicting wildflowers under Mount Rainier as inspiration.

Paul shares his thoughts on his inspiration behind the painting selected for the jersey...

Wildflower details in watercolor

Painting Rainier
I love passing under the huge timber archway that is the entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, on my bike. This is the beginning of my favorite part of the journey around Mount Rainier with my other 799 cycling friends. As I work hard up and around each bend in the road, I anticipate the magnificence of landscape that is changing before me. I manage to look up to see glimpses of massive rivers, glaciers and the wildflowers scattered among the boulders thrown about the landscape by the harsh conditions. I see the contrast of the blue and purple shadows in the rocks and the magenta of the Indian paint brush. There is an alpine smell that powers me further up the mountain. This is the inspiration for the 2018 RAMROD jersey design that I painted in watercolor.

I painted a rough sketch to interpret one of those memorable views in the Park. I intended to refine the painting, but the sketch was filled with just the right energy and emotion that is Mount Rainier. So the sketch became the 2018 RAMROD jersey. I can hardly wait to capture a new inspirational view on the ride this year.

Wildflowers, Snoqualmie Valley and Reflection Lake

Cycling provides me with lots of inspiration for my watercolors. Last year, while I was leading the RTS series, there was one of those inspirational views on the route, but I was not able to stop, as I was the ride leader. But the view stuck in my mind, so after the ride, I cycled back to capture a picture and then completed the watercolor in my studio. Some of you may have been on that ride in the Snoqualmie valley. And who can resist this view of Mount Rainier at Reflection Lake? I hope that my paintings will inspire you to look up to see what I see on this magnificent ride while we are working hard for every foot of elevation and vistas set before us.

- Paul Franks

The 2018 RAMROD Jersey
This year's jersey features a soft blue, red and green colorway inspired by wildflowers above Paradise and Sunrise.

The 2018 RAMROD Jersey