cyclocross loves me.
all around are those with practised skills in the art of dismounting, leaping aboard a moving bicycle, bunnyhopping and running effortlessly with a 'cross bike over one shoulder. i, on the other hand, have none of these attributes. my dismounts are fraught with the left cleat remaining attached to the crank bros. pedal, re-mounts verge on the hilarious, bunnyhopping hurts my arms and the less running involved in the process the better.
i am cyclocross' object of revenge. something of an easy target most would say and i'd find it hard to refute that aspersion.
yet, in a manner bearing a strange kinship to the average status quo fan, i cannot stop battering my head off a brick hurdle. i desperately want to be regarded as a bona-fide cyclocross rider, one to whom the rabbits in bridgend woods look up to, a husband whose wife can now turn a deaf ear to one more aspect of velocipedinal life. not that she cares much, but in the nicest possible way.
with that in mind and despite having watched jeremy powers' cyclocross camp movie more times than i've watched the original indiana jones film, i'd still embarrass a class of total beginners. however, any excursion on the ibis hakkalugi to thunder through flocks of disparate sheep and herds of ruminating cattle, ringing my alexander graham bell to clear the way brings a smile to the visage that would vye with that of a flurry of paradiddles on a dw classics snare drum.
and that's quite a lot.
the problem is one of fastidiousness. that jeremy powers movie explains clearly and patiently just how to practice both dismounts and re-mounts, yet everytime i leave the croft, intent on adhering to each and every instruction, enthusiasm gets the better of me and i just play at the bits i can do. like pedalling. to my mind, that probably means i am in need of a greater level of protection than the riders on which cyclocross does not exact its revenge. the lucky blighters.
rapha's previous years' cyclocross kit has mostly inhabited the world of sportwool, but perhaps in view of its growing importance in the competitive world, the stakes have been raised to pro-team level. in the process, the bib-threequarters have seemingly gone the way of the dodo. they will be missed, by me at least. now incorporating a skinsuit (popular with the pros and those better than i) and short sleeve jersey with probably the finest interpretation of the red and blue colour scheme, i opted to satisfy my predilection for long sleeves and opt for the third variation of pro-team kit.
and what a pair of long-sleeves, if you will excuse the exclamation. i'm sure i need not reiterate my total love for this style of jersey, but considering the amount of energetic and largely incompetent faffing on and off a 'cross bike in which i force myself to indulge, a pair of sleeves that remain firmly in place around the wrists and shoulders should immediately be taken home and introduced to your parents.
and while i'm in the shoulder region, this particular area has been reinforced to laugh in the face of an incorrectly sited top tube. this is probably the bit i have the greatest difficulty with; i can shoulder the bike sure enough, but i can never remember whether the right arm ought to fit under the top tube or the downtube. conjoined with the knowledge that i will most likely miss the handlebar entirely and you can see why rapha found it necessary to introduce even subtle reinforcing.
unlike the previous long-sleeve 'cross incumbent, a jersey that had but one large zipped rear pocket, the 2015 pro-team example has the regulation three rear pockets, augmented with a small internal zipped version. cyclocrossers need coffee money too, you know.
the association between imperial works and team sky has obviously paid great dividends, even for the wannabe cyclocrosser. aside from the impeccable fit and the previously mentioned and lovingly crafted long sleeves, the fabric is not only of a breathable persuasion, but of a heavier weight than that worn by chris froome near the top of a few french mountains. of course, there's nothing other than the label that pays tribute to its affinity with the undergrowth, so riding out with the sunday morning peloton works every bit as well as does inaccurate scrabbling in the mud.
the modern way of the cyclist demands adherence to the corporate image, as prescribed by velominati rule number 17. though this is principally concerned with the non-wearing of team kit by those of us not in a team, we are advised that if we absolutely have to wear it, mismatching of shorts and jersey will be seriously frowned upon. though strictly speaking, rapha's cyclocross kit does not confer team membership upon the wearer, it does sort of demand that at least socks and cap are of similar hue.
the former, i'm please to say, are of the mid-calf length variety. a short skittery section leading down towards islay woollen mill has, over the years, become partially concealed by encroaching foliage, some of which has a distinct propensity to scratch at bare legs. though i agree riding through such undergrowth risks catching the yarn on the way through, i figure it's worth it. naturally enough, heels and toes are thankfully reinforced while the top seems built from a cooling mesh of sorts.
and if i have to point out the necessity for a matching rapha supercross casquette, then you're reading the wrong blog.
thursday 24 september 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................