the only things missing were a pair of shiny alloy toe clips, the stuff of which legends are made.
my drum student's father was discussing the likelihood of our seeing the aurora borealis in the evening sky, so clear was its blue as dusk fell. walking through the village after teatime was chilly enough to have regrets over not wearing gloves. dry but cold, and the very conditions that looked well towards going out for a quick whizz after breakfast the following morning.
i had been advised in years gone by that if a morning ride was what was intended, the ideal was to have all the appropriate clothing lying out ready. thus, prior to climbing under a nice new 15 tog duvet the previous eve, i laid out bib threequarters, long-sleeve baselayer and a decidedly retro del tongo colnago long-sleeve top. cosy though this promised to be, the crowning glory and the very item that gives credence to my opening statement, was a prendas thermal winter hat. one of those beauties that covers your ears and keeps them cosy.
the true height of retro and all the better for it. a quick plate of epo (extra porage oats) and i'm good to go.
disarmingly, the morning failed to live up to the promise of the previous evening. if the aurora borealis had made itself known this far south, there's every chance that cloud cover had obscured it from view. a grey morning. however, raining it was not, and cold it most certainly was. i lamented the omission of toeclips even further when wearing a pair of italian leather shoes, but under the circumstances, it's as close as i was likely to get to emulating a 1980s spring classics domestique.
it causes me great regret that my italian leather has not been worn more frequently of late, for aside from the inevitable sartorial benefits, they are inhabited by a pair of cyclefit custom insoles; i now remember what comfort means. however, it may just be the case that custom shims under the cleats are not in the precise position they once were. at least, not on the right shoe. heading out towards the abattoirenberg forest road involves a brief uphill over less than pristine road surface. i did have queries over whether the right cleat had fully engaged as i left the safety of washingmachinepost cottage, but my foot pulling out from the pedal rather confirmed that just as i passed the tv mast for bowmore village.
i stopped at tallant further along the road to check the cleat and pedal. nothing to see here; move along now. yet the connection wasn't being made.
if any of you own or ride a colnago master, you'll be aware of the fact that freewheeling isn't an option. even when the bike is heading downhill, it forces you to pedal; like fixed wheel with gears. on a chilly morning, that's not going to favour the ears; cold when standing still translates to hypothermic on a fast downhill. if ever there was a reason for that prendas winter cap, i have found it.
the cleats survived intact along the abattoirenberg road despite the serious roughage under those rather delectable wheelsmith hoops, though i still had my suspicions as to whether that right foot was truly engaged to the pedal. for authenticity, several of the roads had been peppered with agricultural by-products such as mud and isle of wight ferry, lending a greater level of belgique, complementing my winter hat and del tongo jersey.
much as i hate to be the harbinger of bad tidings, it's unlikely to get any warmer between now and next february. you will, i trust, be already in possession of a long-sleeve jersey and doubtless some form of waterproofing, but i really must insist that you gather for yourself one of these prendas winter hats. hand made in italy (it says so on the label - fatto a mano italia) and with prendas embroidered on the peak, i feel i must take issue with mick and andy's contention that you might find their under-helmet cap a better option under a helmet. au contraire mes amis, i had this firmly fitted under one of giro's finest without the least consternation or despair. .
i now look forward to a cold, wet autumn morning when i can laugh in the face of inclemency, while correspondingly laughed at for being out in horizontal rain in the first place.
the prendas winter cap is available in black/grey, one size fits all, for an extremely reasonable £19.95.
thursday 11 october 2012..........................................................................................................................................................................................................