the remarkably successful american sitcom friends ran on our television sets for ten years from 1994 until 2004. i'm well aware that it's still being shown even now, but it only serves to underline the success of a screen formula arguably being currently repeated by the big bang theory. actor matt leblanc played the part of joey, an affable idiot who seemingly was no more aware of his intellectual failings after ten years than he was when the series started. it's what i believe tv producers would refer to as a device; in real life we would question its validity, but in tv land, a more than acceptable and ultimately humorous situation.
however, after friends was over, somebody who ought likely to have known better, offered leblanc a series of his very own, entitled not unsuprisingly joey. this fared considerably less well, interrupted by the broadcaster during the second series and finally withdrawn altogether when overtaken in the ratings war by american idol. the fundamental flaw in joey the series, was leblanc's continued affectation of lovable stupidity, a situation that worked well in the context of friends but looked positively anachronistic in the solo series.
i fear i may have been in danger of repeating this unbelievable affectation when it came to my professed ineptitude at cyclocross. this is/was a situation that i would wholeheartedly agree had continued for far too long, entirely due to my lack of suitable application. though i do thoroughly enjoy scuttering through the undergrowth in bridgend woods and subsequently across the machair that inhabits uiskentuie strand, quite frequently this is in the pursuit of some form of review. and even when that isn't the case, i kind of like simply to ride my cyclocross bicycle as fast and as hard as i can manage.
therefore, the finer points of mounting and dismounting allied to the honing of any handling skills i might need have mostly been neglected in favour of instant gratification.
but, having had jeremy powers send me his cyclocross video a few years back in which the art of mounting and dismounting is clearly dealt with, it seemed prudent that i finally spend the necessary time to learn these particular skills. so over this past weekend, i found a quiet spot near daill farm, lowered the saddle a few centimetres and spent over an hour learning to get on and off my bike the way sven and jeremy do. well, almost the way sven and jeremy do.
by incrementally raising the saddle everytime i mastered a specific height, when it was eventually necessary to head off to debbie's for lunch, i had almost reached the point where the saddle was back at its original height and i could offer a slow-motion similitude of a proper cyclocross rider. i know that these are not skills that are totally necessary for one who will never pin a number on the back of his jersey, but they're skills i really wanted to be able to say i had mastered.
i know fine well that by the time i return to my quiet spot in the sun next saturday, some of the acquisition will have faded and repeat work will be sorely required, but i'm just fine with that. though i'd never have managed any of this without the aid of jeremy powers' video, i'd also have failed miserably had it not been for prendas' aqualight thermal long-fingered gloves. though mick and andy have not specifically denoted these as cyclocross specific, i'm going to stick my neck out and do it for them.
bridgend woods, by its very nature, is full of trees. even on sunny mornings such as experienced in the hebrides over the past week or so, it means that tree-lined pathways do not heat up very much over the course of a morning; this is october and even when sunny, it's a tad chilly. hence the long-fingered gloves as opposed to the more usual track mitts. however, the palms of thes gloves are peppered with white grippy stuff in the shape of the prendas logo, making it simplicity itself to ensure both hands remained precisely where they needed to be, over and over and over again.
and believe me, they needed to be where they needed to be.
despite the improving heat both from a rising sun and repetitive exertion over the course of an hour or so, my hands never overheated. buoyed with my success, i undertook a couple of circuits around the woods, one section of which has need of dismounting, grabbing the bicycle with two gloved hands and running up an undergrowth infested piece of singletrack. i really am getting too old for this sort of thing.
the short cuff on these gloves is ideal for this sort of activity, not only when in hard use, but easing the job of stuffing them in a rear pocket when it really does get too warm. the aqualight designation infers that they're pretty well water resistant, a feature that currently i've been unable to verify. considering it's mid-october, i'll take that as a plus at the moment. if 'cross is your mojo and you don't mind taking advice from one who's admittedly just 'got the hang of it', i'd grab a pair right this minute. according to the prendas website, they're currently reduced to £29.95 and available in sizes from xs to xxl (medium reviewed; believe me, worth every penny.
monday 19 october 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................