Thursday, January 27, 2011


Can I call this a rule?  When one arrives home after crashing on a mountain bike one may drink a bottle of beer in the shower while assessing the bruises and damage.  But when one arrives home after crashing on the road one may drink scotch on the rocks while making that assessment, so long as one is careful not to let shower spray pollute the glass. 

The afternoon's projects were derailed by communication problems, and with nothing to do but wait til they got resolved, I headed out for a ride.  Climbing Town Mountain Road, far off a time trial pace but still sweating in the sun.  As the road wound upwards, I could see the tops of the trees at the higher elevation were frosted white.  I had climbed out of Asheville's sunny 40 degrees and into the snow two switchbacks later. 

I crested the top of the climb and began to recover from my effort on the quick descent to Craven Gap. Rounding a corner into the shade of a north facing slope, suddenly the road turned to ice.  I was on the ground, sliding fast downhill after my rolling water bottles, before I'd even thought to tap the brake. 

I reassembled myself.  Somehow, the only damage done was a tiny rip on the left thumb of my brand new Rapha Winter Gloves.  On their maiden voyage.  It hurt as much as if I'd just discovered a crack in my frame.  Well, okay, maybe not that much, but it still hurt. 

It's hard to keep up a good bad mood under such a blue sky.  Gazing at five layers of mountains folded up on one another across the shining valley: was there ever any clearer affirmation that I'm making good choices in this life?  Still, the cold wind and the aches from where I'd hit the deck kept me from real contentment.  Reaching home after four hours, I was in a miserable, shivering hole.  Dreaming of Arizona.

But those gloves: they really are fantastic.  Luckily I think the tiny rip can be fixed inconspicuously. Thom's review may have more details (more something, at any rate) but I will say I am pretty pleased with my little Rapha prize.  Elegant and warm. Comfortable.  Appropriate for formal cycling events and group rides with famous people. And never, ever to be worn on a mountain bike in the muddy briary woods: that's what Castelli winter gloves are for.  The only fault I found with the Raphas is that they are a bit hard to take off-- but why would you want to take them off?

 Swanky glove with a tiny tear.


  1. My recommendation, 12yr old Macallan (no ice though).. refill at short intervals as long as the hot water lasts.

  2. That happened to me on the BRP a few weeks ago, only I lost a bunch of skin on my hip. That ice is a killer with skinny tires.

  3. The glove has been baptized by, ice. Now you don't have to worry about crashing in them.