Just about every year I’m home in the summer I take part in Yukon and Alaska’s most notorious bike race – the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay (in fact this year I made a very ambitious new year’s resolution for this event). Like most sporting events, everyone who participates in or volunteers for the event gets a t-shirt.
Which leads me to a truly ungrateful admission – I have never once, ever, liked a t-shirt I have received as a participant in the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay. It’s awful, but true. This t-shirt dislike reached its climax last year when I was handed a bright orange poorly fitted piece with a moose on a bike. I’ll admit it…I gave it away to the Salvation Army (but in my defense, I wasn’t the only one).
This opposition to past designs has left me with a sense of guilt every time I unload the newest t-shirt installment. Who I am to criticize someone else’s design (which they undoubtedly worked very hard on and are very proud of) when I am unwilling to contribute my own t-shirt design?
So this year I stepped up when the 2011 t-shirt design contest was announced and got to work. Word to the wise – it is far easier to not participate and complain about the results then actually throw your back into it and try and make a difference (hmmm…there’s probably a life lesson in there somewhere).
I knew I wanted a simple black and white design (I loathe the idea of another orange t-shirt). And I knew I wanted it to be a little stylized. And I knew I didn’t want it to take itself too seriously. In the end I came up with the concept of a vintage “wish you were here” style postcard with slightly ironic taglines for each image that hinted at just how damn hard the race really is (bears; steep, seemingly unending climbs over mountain passes; and every weather imaginable…but most often the weather you would prefer not to spend hours biking in). You can view the results above.
Regardless of if my design is victorious or not, I can at least now say I tried. And if I lose, and find another orange monstrosity in my hands come June, I can feel vindicated about my subsequent complaint.