Sunday, 20 February 2011

lookin' buff like 'Bert

As cyclists many of us fetishise that "euro" look. The desire to appear "PRO" (and yes it seems obligatory to capitalise it) often far supercedes the need to steer your bike properly, ride it efficiently or sit on it comfortably. This cycling equivalent of 9 inch stilletos finds its apex on facebook where people who spend hours ont he internet pass judgement on people who spend hours on their bikes. Fortunatley this trend has yet to spread to Europe. You're unlikley to see an Italian chastising people for wearing socks which don't match their gloves, using "unnapproved" apparel or for running a japanese groupset on a European bike (which they're PAID to ride mr dentist who crossed 3 lanes of traffic to judge me last week).

Anyway i would like to share with you an element of European cycling fashion which has yet to make it into the hallowed halls of a facebook group pertaining which can be edited by students in the US (including one who goes to a university called "American"). This item is more metro than the manbag (or murse if you will) more practical that the lobster glove and better at keeping the bugs at bay than Intravenous Echinacea. Ladies and Gents i give you the neckerchief, marketed in the US as the "buff".

It serves 2 vital functions: it keeps the upper respiratory tract warm and prevents you getting a cold AND it looks dashing as buggery (i mean come on, it's halfway between a ruff like one of the 3 musketeers might wear and a cravat which is the very definition of dashing). When it's really cold, putting the fabric over your nose and mouth can really help prevent the horrible burning sensation as the blood vessels in your throat burst thanks to the temperature differential between the air and your innards. It's also great for looking like a dayglo terrorist when it's too cold and snowy to even ride at all.

Now first of all is hould outline that the MOST euro of neckgaiters is not the buff but the etxeondo product. handmade by basque Shepherd's wives using Iban Mayo's pubic hairs (ok so some of that isn't true). Featuring a toggle at one end and a fleece lined tube of fabric it can serve as a hat, a neckerchief and a nosewarming/rebreathing device in extreme conditions. There are other notable brands and types of neckgaiter avaliable, the buff itslef is rather lightweight and works for warmer temps in the 5-15 degree range (Celsius people, it's sooo euro), below these temperatures i favour a full fleece unit or at least a thermal buff. Many colours and patterns are available and it seems to be the case that one can clash such an accessory with one's kit without fear of offending the style gurus who lurk behind the tubes of the internet being that they are yet to learn of the existence of such neckwear.

I myself was spotted sporting a rather dashing white fleecy neckgaiter at Today's CBR bicycle race (sadly about the only thing i did to distinguish myself today) and my good friend Bert the beefeater is such a fan he often sports two simultaneously.

Now all i need is a bright pink model......

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

building blocks and breaking bread

it's been a wee while since my last blog (find one recently which doesn't start like that) but i've been busy. My teammates dan and Bob have both come from colder climes to stay with us here in sunny California. it's been great having people to share our dream beach house with, especially when we're giving them a break from the chilly climes out east.

I've been putting in the big miles out and starting up the high intensity efforts. I couldn't be in a better place to be doing it, out in the East county of San Diego the hills are beautiful at this time of year and they take on a rather tuscan character with the obvious exception of the avocado groves. Talking of avocados i have been enjoying plenty of California's most delicious bounty recently, which brings me the "king of sandwiches" - fortunately this sandwich is not part of the repertoire of the burger king nor is it a meat filled deli monstrosity but rather a finely crafted piece of culinary perfection.

This Sandwich is pretty awesome it takes a BLT, steals it's lunch money AND gives it a wedgie. First you lay down the base (it's like training but yummier) i like to roll with Irish soda bread, but if you can't get hold of it i would go with rye. Then i lather on some mayo or avocado, 3 rashers of the saltiest bacon, then some green lettuce (romaine would work), good fresh tomatoes and (and this is where it really lays the nipple cripple on the puny BLT) a couple of good slices of home cured gravadlax (do it like that, but use brown sugar and tequila) i could also throw on this really cool herb which grows outside our house. It looks like a cowbell but has a lemon/cilantro flavour. Or some capers, or pickles, it depends on how i'm feeling.

I'd love to add a picture to this short musing but i've never been able to restrain my hunger for long enough. I'm thinking of trying to work more rare beef into my diet though, they tell me it makes one mucho mas rapido ;)

Until next time kids, stay hungry

oh and check out city and colour, they're a great chilled out band. Recently I've also been enjoying the works of matt and kim and MGMT when I'm busting out those longer intervals, they help me find a good rhythm. try it.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

on egypt

salient points well made