Sock it to me

October 23, 2017 § 37 Comments

The first time I met Diego, he must have been around fourteen. His dad Joe had brought him along on the Man Tour, a ridiculous odyssey of geezers riding five days from San Jose to Los Angeles, flatting, falling, complaining, getting indigestion, getting road rash, getting saddle sores, getting achy, and having the best time this side of a fresh box of Depends that we were ever going to have.


Diego’s signature move each day was to collapse on a bed, unable to move, where he was essentially force-fed enough nutrients to make it through the next day. We were old and our prostrates were leaky, but we were still able to cover more ground faster and recover quicker than a little kid.

A couple of years passed and youth put age in its place as Diego became one of the fastest riders in SoCal, eventually landing a spot on the Hagens-Berman team and planning for a career in Europe. Along the way he became an Eagle Scout, because, you know, why not? More important than any community service or academic achievements, he also set the KOM on the Switchbacks here in Palos Verdes. Way, way more important.

After a brief stint in Belgium where the distance from home, poverty wages, brutal competition, lousy weather, unfamiliar food, and daily risk of life and limb convinced him that SoCal wasn’t so bad after all, Diego came home, put the $12k bike racer dream out to pasture, and embarked on a new  venture–his clothing company, Base Cartel. The ethos behind the clothing, in addition to quality construction, is a design aesthetic that focuses on the sights, sounds, and cultures of Los Angeles. Not being a designer myself, and only vaguely an imported Angeleno, I’m not sure what that means, but his stuff certainly looks great.

I can’t otherwise comment on Diego’s bike clothing line other than that it looks sharp and the people who wear his kits say great things about it, people who are pretty critical when it comes to cycling apparel. I can tell you that bike riders and bike racers in the South Bay love to support a hard-working young man whose business is community based and devoted to all things cycling. It’s refreshing to see a small business flap its wings and get off the ground, supported by friends, family, and personal relationships.

What I can comment on are Base Cartel’s socks. It was well over a year ago that he gave me a pair of his Pro Mesh socks to wear. Of course, even if they had fit like a plastic sandwich bag and felt like sandpaper, I would have gone ahead and purchased a couple of pairs to help the kid out. But I wouldn’t have bought more than thirty pairs for my own personal use, and I certainly wouldn’t have bought over 500 pairs to give to friends and as prizes for the La Grange Cup if they weren’t amazing beyond any words.

Pro Mesh sock, how can I describe thee? Thou art soft and comfy beyond any reason or rhyme. Thou grippest my toes in a loving embrace and leave nary a chafe or raw spot, no matter how tightly I lace down my shiny white dancing shoes. The first few times I wore these socks I thought, “They’ll be falling apart after the fifth wash. No way that anything this delicate and soft and smooth can last.”

But in addition to a softness and form-fitting nature that makes you want to snuggle with them between the covers, whisper sweet nothings into their cuffs, and bring them pancakes in bed, the socks are crazy tough, no, they’re Wanky tough. I don’t know what the secret sauce is that they pour into the Base Cartel socks in China or wherever the socks are brewed, but it is at least one part frog’s wart for every cotton/polyester fiber. That’s how magical these things are.

Of course, knowing that you’re supporting locally grown talent adds to the comfort, too. As it should.




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§ 37 Responses to Sock it to me

  • KK says:

    Diego flashed by me on a ride once, I think, but I didn’t know the history. Just ordered my socks! I will look through the rest of the gear ASAP. Wishing the business all the best.

  • I was interested in his product line until I saw the “praying hands” on his products. What a turn off.

    • fsethd says:

      The socks don’t have any religious motif.

    • Waldo says:

      Ditto re praying hands. Way to alienate adherents of all other religions, Diego. And now the only thing available is the socks; nothing else shows up. Someone needs to give the kid a lesson in marketing.

      • senna65 says:


      • senna65 says:

        Seriously? And then you wonder why Trump won?

      • Waldo says:

        Yes, seriously, the kid needs a lesson in marketing. I was a Sanders/Clinton supporter and am a non-believing Jew. For me, praying hands was a dealbreaker. Trump has nothing to do with my opinions on kit design.

      • JL says:

        Is the Entrada’s ‘praying hands’ image spiritual? There’s a lot that is called spiritual. It depends on ones background, one can go into this very deeply, or just skim the surface. In the Japanese culture, two hands placed firmly together means please or thank you. The people of India when doing this gesture would say the word “Namaste” which is a kind of sacred hello. Spirituality is very personal, so Base Cartel leaves it up to the individual to decide. Whether you look at it as a greeting, a thank you, a prayer gesture, the praying hands image promotes diversity and community in today’s cycling world.

  • Michelle landes says:

    Great guy great kits and socks !!

  • dangerstu says:

    Shock horror, I got some new shoes, perhaps I should get some new socks to go with them.

  • Kevin says:

    Amen, brother, praise to dog, they are fantastic socks!

  • Dan says:

    Sold! (one pair of socks)

  • Geoff says:

    Terrific socks with a truly amazing person behind them. Honestly wear Diego’s promesh socks more than any other sock because my feet are just so damn happy in the comfy, silky-smoothness of Base Cartel socks. Also happy I just got the new black ones on Saturday so I can wear them to work now, too!!! Impressive, smart, driven young man behind it all making it such a pleasure to support, but the bottom line here is that the Base Cartel socks will make your feet go ahhhhhhhh.

  • Dr. Sherri Foxworthy says:

    I don’t know what Diego’s secret recipe is, but it is so good I have made two surgeons Base Cartel believers! They have replaced their stiff and stuffy compression socks with the buttery smooth feel and always fashionable look of what I call the Base Cartel foot glove.
    Thanks Diego…your socks are now rocking the ORs at UCLA Medical Center!

  • nealhe says:

    Hello Seth,

    Are you a Laugh-In fan?

    I have had some Base Cartel socks for several months and liked them so much I got my brother a pair …. he liked them and bought more.

    A couple of weeks ago the triathlon forum ‘Slowtwitch’

    had a poll for favorite socks with 20 or so brands and no Base Cartel listed.

  • Bob Kellogg says:

    Any tips for keeping my white South Bay Cycling socks looking white? I wash mine with bleach, but they are still developing a yellow-ish tint.

  • shano92107 says:

    Cool, never knew the story but those socks are some bitchin’ Camaros. Definitely warrants 2 doubles snaps in a Z-formation!

  • John says:

    Seth, how DARE you pimp stuff when, in fact, we’re all prostitutes to something!

    Oh, I ordered two pair. Would love to test out the comfort factor while kicking a couple d-bags in the pimp-zone.

    • fsethd says:

      I sell legal services and blog subscriptions. No financial stake in any product or service I recommend. No blog ads. Just my version of the facts. You will love the socks, I bet.

  • paa says:

    I like how “spare the indignation” is full of indignation over graphics on stuff they were never going to buy.
    Haterade the drink of hypocrites.

    The praying hand graphic is cool. It’s not religious unless you see it that way. How do you use the word “PRAY”? Is everyone that says “pray” of a certain religion? Hell no.

    Anyway, if you have to explain cool graphic stuff then they are not going to “get it”. Ever.

    • fsethd says:

      One fashion never fits all …

      • paa says:

        The best ones have a unique voice and find loyal customers. Hell, even Primal Wear – the cornerstone of Fred-dom in the flyover states and pot belly, eyeglass mirror, visor wearing Freds – even Primal went more “niche” with their products.
        Besides, I like that cars see those praying hands on your back. That’s kinda funny too. Hope he sells kit soon.

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