Today's return to winter-like weather was my fault. I registered for the Rapha Hell of the North 3 and was thinking to myself how good the weather was on the previous two and I began planning how I would use my sportive bike more than the Basso. Then someone in charge of the weather thinks they'd better top up the reservoirs and Sunday starts wet, gets very wet and then snows. Proper Belgium classics weather, just like when I rode the Ronde van Vlaanderen sportive in 2008.
I should have got re-acquainted with the turbo trainer, instead I set off on my 100km ride to do my best impression of a Belgium rouleur. I chose the Basso because it still has the Crud Catcher mudguards fitted and my winter wheels have the Vittoria open pave tyres fitted - ideal.
My selection of clothing wasn't great though. The Schutt VR race cape was excellent but I should have added another layer to the base, jersey and gilet. I also totally under-estimated the temperature, went for the long-fingered Specialized gloves and left the waterproof Chiba winter gloves on the radiator.
By the time I got home I was frozen to the bone, couldn't feel my fingers and for a brief period I thought I was going to be sick. All sorted by a hot bath and a mug of coffee.
Riding in this weather increases my respect for the racers in the classics.
I shall be watching Paris-Roubaix in the pub at the end of Rapha's free ride, drinking a free pint and eating free frites. I just need to go fast enough to finish in the early bunch and get a good seat.
I know who I'll be cheering for.
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