Sunday, 16 June 2013
As the London-Paris expedition looms ever larger on the radar, weekend rides have to take on some significance. Last weekend saw the start of a serious effort to get some miles in the bank, and this weekend was much the same. Except for the weather.
Instead of the bright sunshine of a week ago we were faced with blustery gales and a series of showers which did more than simply dampen the spirit. But, in the true tradition of bold explorers we soldiered on, constantly trying to avoid the black patches of sky that we knew would make us miserable. The first 60 miles were ok - except for the wind, which when catching you unawares was powerful enough to deflect the bike almost to the point of causing a crash. And, if we were facing it head-on, the battle to simply keep moving in a forward direction verged on futile. From 60 miles onward the rain came down as if from a hosepipe. Thick sheets, almost hail, and stinging our bare arms and legs. We sheltered where we could under the cover of large trees or huddled under bushes - it was cold, wet and totally miserable - a typical summer day.
I got to thinking about my tan - those of us in the pale-skinned ethnic groups know that to be considered a true, enthusiastic and committed cyclist, it is essential to get the cyclists tan. The basic elements of this are twofold: the tan on the arms, legs and face must be deep, deep nut brown, and, critically, the dividing line between the tan of the arms and legs and the pasty white of the rest of the body must be razor sharp. The thing is you need to wear either the same jersey and shorts for every ride or invest in several identical sets to ensure the dividing line is not compromised by differing hem-lines. This is why the pros are so careful about the fit of their race kit. Line up the hems with the previous days race line and you’re good to go. Of course not all kit offers the same UV protection and there is therfore a danger of a slight tanning action through the garments - this is a no-no and will redice the level of contrast - So, apply a liberal sun block to your white bits, maybe using masking tape on the arms and legs to ensure that none intrudes onto the tanning area - and there you go, an easy way to ensure you look good on the bike - and even better in the shower! - This plan is no good on days like yesterday however - the sun was hiding and the black dark skies of another season had taken over.
Still, no matter - by the end it was 107 miles for me - despite the adverse conditions I'm convinced I've recovered better than I did last week - and with a couple more long rides planned for the weekends ahead all should be good for the Paris trip. But it would be better and easier in good weather!