there are more than just a few theories as to why we are generally so besotted with hills. by which i mean both riding and watching. though a dutch win on alpe d'huez is as likely these days as a frenchman on the podium in paris, the climb is still renowned for its dutch encampment on at least one of the twenty-one corners. whether they actually see anyone cycling is a something of a moot point, but orange would seem to be the colour most associated with the mountain.
it is a sad reflection on our grasp on reality, that many of us are convinced that, because we've read in search of robert millar a couple of times, his anti-gravitational properties have been osmotically transferred. the truth is rather less palatable. even those who regularly form the grupetto in the pyrenees and alps are better climbers than the rest of us, yet we persist in entering sportive rides that have more climbs per kilometre than you can shake a stick at.
being part of the audience at a grand tour in the mountains, or one of the hillier classics can be brought down to bang for buck so to speak. if you've ever stood at the finish line of a tour sprint stage, you'll be well aware of the speed achived by a large collection of riders fighting for position. even with the superhuman abilities displayed by the very best climbers in the world tour, they're never going to reach the 60+ kph of a sprinter, and nor are they going to pass in one large, fast clump of riders. seen either individually or in small groups, perhaps at a more respectable 25kph, the mountain climb audience is going to be entertained for a lot longer.
whichever way you want to look at it, from that of spectating or participating, there's a good chance that displaying allegiance to the anti-gravitational attributes of the grimpeur may be uppermost on one's list of apparel. much like those oval tan-lines on the back of the hands, this can be the equivalent of a special handshake. there's almost as much smugness to be gained from civilian ignorance as from peer group recognition, as long as one does not resort to brashness.
in the cycling wardrobe i have a polka dot le coq sportif retro jersey, meant purely for leisure wear rather than on the bike. i wear it sparingly. however, the folks at condor cycles in london's grays inn road have the ultimate cunning plan that plays more than one side of an equation. their extreme polka dot socks rather obviously pay tribute to the king of the mountains prize in le tour and others. however, orange is rarely the colour associated with summitting first.
it is, however, the favoured colour of a friend of condor's production director, a man who sadly died of cancer at christmas last year. the late gentleman was also a lover of riding the pyrenees, so condor decided to honour his memory by offering these quite excellent white and orange socks and donating the profits to prostate cancer and the hospice in the weald. i cannot think of a better reason to buy this particular cycling sock; the fact that they're also of great comfort to your feet in all weathers can only be viewed as the orange icing on the cake.
the orange polka dot race sock retails for £8.99 with all profits donated to charity. they're available in small/medium and large/extra large.
thursday 16th july 2013