Sunday afternoons were made for cycling; a delicious respite from the week’s hectic schedule.
Heeding the advice of the RCUK ‘porridge panel’, I consumed 100 grams of the stuff three hours before heading out (mixed with plain water, creating a concoction suited to the adhesion of wall paper) clothed myself in Rapha’s summer kit, and climbed aboard the Scott Foil Team Issue for three hours of bliss in the countryside.
In an unexpected relief from the forecast rain, the sky was a deep blue, punctuated with white clouds, and a warm-ish sun that beamed down its goodness on the acres of rolling countryside that quickly became free of traffic.
Early thoughts on some of the test kit: the mesh panels on the Rapha Pro Team jersey worked well; the peak of the Lightweight cap did not. It proved so long, the only way to avoid collision with the various hazards it obscured was to point it upwards, negating any benefit.
The Scott Foil Team Issue is impressive. I’ve ridden a few bikes in which I’ve struggled to see how the price tag is justified, but this was not among them. Yes, it’s far from cheap, but it kept the promise implied by the Team Issue tag admirably, excelling on climbs where its minimal weight was a real bonus. The super low front end was another plus. I took out the spacers to slam the stem against the miniscule top tube and found a super aggressive position that I perhaps wouldn’t want to ride all day, but on a shorter ride of around three hours proved to be lots of fun.
Descending the local 20 per cent gradient provided a heart stopping moment as I became briefly airborne, but found the courage (stupidity?) to get back down behind the bars soon after, and swept through a left-hander at the foot of the hill with heart in mouth and veins coursing with adrenalin.
Small pelotons are becomingly a common sight where I ride; further evidence that the man on the street is becoming the man on the bike in increasing numbers, spurred perhaps by the proximity of the Tour and the Olympics and the realistic expectation of British success in both. Team Sky jerseys are the new football shirts; the nation has found new heroes.
The sun remains undimmed as I head for home around 5.30pm. Summer has truly arrived, and cycling in the warm and dry was as pleasant as I had remembered. Deer and sheep covered the fields that surrounded the route home: a journey I was sorry to complete.