Dragging myself out of bed on Sunday was hard work. I don’t normally need any encouragement to get up at dawn and sneak out of Clifton with a car loaded up with bikes, thermos flasks, cake and kit. But Sunday my legs were heavy as lead after Saturday.
I do 50 miles most Saturdays so what was different this time? I personally believe that my Minx pink jersey has a lot to answer for. When I wear it I am filled with a kind of oomph that gets me into trouble. I decided to ride at the front to ‘push the pace’ on Saturday and as the wind was blowing and the hills were cheeky, my heart rate was soon soaring and sweat was dripping off my chin. But wearing pink means you can’t give in. By some sort of inverted social law, it stops you from being able to be a ‘girl’ and wimp out of drafting duties. It means you have to not only do your fair share but prove that pink doesn’t mean girly wimp. It’s supposed to be a slap in the face to the male-dominated cycling culture whose members gently and often kindly tolerate weaker women riders. When I wear pink I do more front-work than otherwise and find myself admitting less pain. On Saturday there was no let up, no relaxing, not coasting, no freewheeling, no slowing and certainly no admitting to even a gentle discomfort.
So by the end was tired with lactic-seized legs and sweat-soaked clothes. But I hadn’t broken the pink jersey rules. But I got home and thought, ‘who exactly was the most macho – the guys whose butts I tried to kick or me?’
Decided not to dwell on that.