It was a “sensual” cycling experience…

What to do if snow is forecast but doesn’t turn up? Get out pronto before it does.

Out into a mixture of solid and liquid precipitation, that is. There is something quite cleansing about doing something that no normal human would voluntarily do.

cyclefucius remembers a Robin Hood story in which one of the Merry Men observed that he had to experience a rainstorm twice – once as it fell and again later as drops from the trees as he crossed the Forest. Today it seemed to me about three times – once from the sky, once sprayed up from the road and again as it seeped into the skin through various layers of clothing.

All senses were implicated into enduring the elements for a few self-inflicted hours:

  • the sight of water dripping from cycling cap and helmet;
  • my own reflection on the stem and front tyre;
  • the sound of cars hissing by in slow motion like geriatric snakes;
  • the grind of brakes on bare rims, seasoned with extra grime;
  • the clean smell of pure water, punctuated only by the occasional overflowing Spanish drain;
  • the torturous feeling of falling body temperature and wondering if extremities are actually being done permanent damage or not;
  • a dreamlike sluggishness as you haul uphill the equivalent in water of the weight of a small child;
  • wave motions beginning to form inside your shoes;
  • the taste of … rain, rain and endless rain.

But of course we love it, and the feeling of achievement that comes after.

cyclefucius also remembers that the French for “soaked to the skin” is “soaked to the bones” (trempĂ© jusqu’aux os). The French know a thing or two about rain. And cheese. And (speaking very quietly) probably more about drains than the Spanish…

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