I went five days without cycling this week. FIVE! This seems like an outrageous luxury of inactivity given that the big ride is now just 44 days away. But I think I needed the break after a really demanding wet, cold and windy 114 miler last Saturday (yes 114 miles – another double century missed by a whisker).
Today’s reunion with the bike was a gorgeous 62.75-mile spin around sun-kissed Sussex country lanes. It would have been just under 60 miles but there was no way I was going to miss out on yet another century so I went round the block a couple of times when I got home.
I couldn’t have asked for nicer weather and yet I found myself wishing it was a bit colder, a little windier and perhaps even that a spot or two of rain would appear. And why would I be entertaining such perverse thoughts? Well, lurking in my saddlebag was my newest guilt-ridden purchase: an exquisitely pink Rapha Stowaway jacket.
Yes, I’ve succumbed to the lure of the bicycle style meisters and parted with what is really a ludicrous amount of money for a small nylon jacket. But if it goes even halfway to living up to the hype I suspect I’ll be rather pleased I did as the traumatic memory of parting with the cash fades. I’ve spent too many hours in the saddle boiling inside ill fitting, flapping jackets that won’t fit in a pocket, or shivering uncontrollably and wet through in jackets that will.
Last weekend’s ride was the last straw so I went to see those nice people at Condor Cycles in London and tried on various jackets by Gore, Mavic and Rapha before settling on the Stowaway. I was a bit torn between the pink and the grey – my head said grey but my heart sang PINK! When the sales guy said most people tend to buy the grey one and leave the shop looking over their shoulders at the pink one they’d left behind I grabbed the pink one and ran to the counter before I could change my mind.
It’s a funny old world. If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be the owner of a pair of Assos shorts and a Rapha jacket and that I’d be actively looking forward to an 847-mile bike ride I’d have laughed in your face.