IT”S THE NEWS WE’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR (well, I have, anyway). Lucy Piper is officially back on the bike.
At last, life can get back to normal. A bit. I still can’t run – the place where my appendix used to be still really hurts when I try and jog. Maybe it left a big gap when they took it out? Should it still be hurting like this? Who knows. Doesn’t matter for now. I can pedal.
What I can’t do is signal; as soon as I lift one hand off the hoods, I realise that I have zero core stability. And yes, signalling has become treacherous, and yes, I will officially take on the title of ‘Swervy McSwerve’. For the time being.
I finally started using my Strava account, which I’ve had forever but never actually used it before. And it tells me that since last Saturday, I’ve ridden 347km. Plus about 10km a day in commuting but I don’t think that counts as I wear my jeans when I commute. Does it count as training if you’re wearing jeans? I think Strava might get a little addictive, as it gives you all these medals and trophies. They’re just virtual, of course. But still, better than nothing, which is what I have in real life.
I also swam THREE TIMES last week. That is more than I trained in a week during ironman training. Which explains my swim times in races.
So three swims and six rides. I feel so much better now. When I’m riding my bike I’m like a dog let off the leash, albeit a small dog with short legs, who thinks it’s a horse but really it’s just a sausage dog. That’s probably more where I’m pitched. But on the inside, I feel like a tiny dog who feels like a big greyhound who feels like a horse. Does that make sense? I’m not so sure it does. Let me just say this: I am much more relaxed now. Poor Jarrod has had to put up with me moaning about not being able to do sport, non-stop for eight weeks. I think he is more relieved than I am that I can ride my bike again.
In other news, I just wanted to give a bit of praise to the cycle kids at Rapha. I emailed them this week about a pair of fluoro socks I bought from them recently, that lost their colour after one (delicate) wash. (Now this is a long email, I suggest you skip it and scroll to the bottom).
I just wanted to get your opinion on something.
When I ride my bike, I wear your kit. Jersey, shorts, sleeves, hat, rain coat.
To say that I love your brand would be an understatement; standard lycra makes you look like nothing short of an idiot. And I already do quite a good job of that myself, without dressing up in some ridiculous shiny green, yellow, black, white, pink, red and blue skintight array of lycra, covered in sponsors (even though I’m far from professional), that makes me look like the confectionary counter at the local newsagent’s.
So thank you Rapha. I now have self-respect during those brief periods when I’m still in my kit, but not actually physically on my bike (walking in and out of my office etc).
The most recent addition to my ever-increasing Rapha wardrobe was a pair of Chartreuse pro-team socks. Having previously lived in the Alps, I have a somewhat hazy but positive nostalgia for Chartreuse. I’m not sure this influenced my purchase, but I’m just setting the scene…
I was never intending to buy the socks – as cyclists, you probably have similarly insufficient funds to me, due to spending on bikes and their accompanying paraphernalia. But you surprised me with some good Rapha karma: I’d been saving for one of your raincoats for a while, and when I finally went to buy it online, you had launched a ‘one weekend only’ 50% off deal.
The socks went into my virtual basket. And so did a copy of Paul Fournel’s ‘Vélo’ – initially given to me as a 30th birthday present, I had recently left my copy in the back of the seat after a flight from Melbourne to London. This 50% off sale was one of the best days of my life so far. No joke.
If I’m being honest with you, I actually bought the socks for my husband. That’s why I got them in a large size. But when they arrived, I couldn’t part with them. So I didn’t tell him I had intended them for him. No, I kept them. My guilty, greedy, Rapha secret socks. He doesn’t ride in Rapha yet anyway (he will, soon. When I get a pay rise…).
I kept them for myself. I’m a terrible wife.
I wore them once. And they were magnificent.
And then I washed them once. A delicate, cool wash.
And now, they are no longer magnificent; that one wash has transformed them from a flashy fluorescent chartreuse, into the muted yellow of the insignificant post-it note stuck to the bottom of your screen to remind you to ‘MAINTAIN PERSONAL EXCELLENCE’ (see attached screen shot). If it were in chartreuse, perhaps it would be a more visible reminder. But alas, it is a vague shade of Anchor-butter – destined to be forever ignored at the bottom of the screen, rather than being the flash of inspiration I intended.
Similarly, my husband’s brand new chartreuse Rapha socks have turned into their post-it note equivalent, and are no longer a 90rpm (65rpm if Im being honest) flash along the roadside as I whizz past.
So my question to you Rapha, is this: Did I do something wrong when I innocently, and delicately, washed my new socks? Is there a trick to maintaining the fluoro goodness beyond one wear? Or were they intended as a throwaway item, destined for a single, showstopping outing on the road? Or perhaps it is Rapha karma paying me back for not giving them to my husband as I originally intended…
This was a very long email. Apologies.
This laborious piece of brain dump was received by Rapha, and responded to in the most eloquent, prompt and friendly manner. They were awesome. Having sold out of aforementioned sock, they asked me what they could do to replace the item, and are now sending me some new oversocks. They didn’t have to do that. They could have just said “you’re a terrible wife who stole her husband’s socks which were intended as a gift, and then did a rubbish job of washing them, alas making you a terrible AND undomesticated wife”. But they didn’t. They were wonderful.
Thank you Will at Rapha. You are a customer service boss.