What to choose? My Assos “pre-winter" tights that seem to heat up as I ride? The Rapha rain jacket that I love the fit of. How it rolls up snuggly into a jersey pocket. My GB triathlon suit with “Wilkinson" proudly stamped across the butt? Or the yellow dress that I wore once in Paris having cycled from London in 24 hours to watch Le Tour?
I got this cycling jersey after my first cycling trip in the mountains. Organisers of that trip Peter Dumplemann (66) and Lilo, his wife (73) asked me about my cycling experience, I will never forget the look on their faces when I confidently explained I commuted by bike to work and had climbed up Ditchling Beacon once.
I love it as a memento of the magic and eternal grace of the mountains. It reminds me of all of the reasons why I cycle, the places that cycling has taken me, and friends that I have made along the way.
It reminds me that cycling is a social sport, that not only pushes personal boundaries, but that brings people together.
When I wear this jersey it makes me feel a part of something that is bigger than myself. I cycle a little faster. I feel a little more alive. I remember my friends who I have cycled with every year since.
It’s also a jersey that engages me in conversation with others, because people ask me about it too. I climbed those cols. I earned that jersey.
This jersey is reserved for the rides where I need to dig a little deeper or want to experience the magic.
Like climbing Mont Ventoux in August.