Gently, the hand of shame cupped my cycling soul
THE KUKU Penthouse is a place, a nirvana of cycling that costs a little extra, but takes you to a hither undiscovered heaven of freedom and comfort.
The penthouse, situated at the front of the S7 line of Assos cycling shorts is, and I quote, because you don’t want to get this wrong in a family publication: “Another Assos innovation! The front part of the insert features a round pattern insert made of skin contact textile – no foam. Not only does it create a nest in which the male’s genitals are gently cradled, but also keeps this sensitive area cooler. It’s the evolution of Kukudelux.”
After 202km of the Coronation Double Century on Saturday, I must admit that my nether regions have never felt so gently cradled nor so cool. The rest of me was in several unattractive pieces, save for my bum, which benefitted from Assos’s RearTerminal technology. The Swiss certainly have a way of putting things that is as direct as a sledge by Roger Federer’s missus.
I cannot recall the last time my genital were so gently cradled. I told a colleague on the Coronation Double Century about the Kuku Penthouse pouch. He asked if I had to insert my bits into special pockets in the pouch, but, nay, they just cradle them. Gently.
I won the Assos shorts via a competition run by J&J Cycling, owned by Johann Ribbens, who continues to call me “McCallas”, which rhymes with the items his products cradle. Opening new cycling kit may just be the best thing about the sport. The actual riding is hard and better when it is over. The Double Century is a tough race. Doable, but tough.
It’s a lot more doable if you actually train for it. Save for a bit of time on a Wattbike indoor trainer, the DC was my third ride on the road since the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour (now thankfully called the Cape Town Cycle Tour) in March.
Sometimes you can take your tapering a tad too far.
We started in the early groups, a perk of riding with David Bellairs, kicking off at the ungodly hour of 5:02am. Just two hours earlier, a certain top professional had just managed to get to bed after discovering that the Full Stop bar in town serves Jagermeister until 3am if you ask nicely enough. We had fuelled on wine and pasta. They had Banting food at the pasta party, which is like putting water in your car instead of petrol. We filled up.
Off we rode, the Kuku Penthouse and I, and our teams. I blew on the first climb out of town. I do every year. The first 30km of the DC are for free, a slow descent with rolling flats to the base of the first, short climb, the Tradouw Pass, first built in 1873. The next climb, the long one, is the Op die Tradouw Pass. They like to recycle in the Western Cape. Up there, I went backwards again, and, yet, I felt gently cradled. The strong young men from the Velokhaya development academy, looked after the weak amongst us. They asked if I wanted a push up the hill.
I have my pride and said I would be fine. Not five minutes after they left me, I regretted it.
We rode on. Jon Gericke of the YMCA … sorry, eNCA had already bailed after having to be pushed down hill. The roads roll after the first climb. I like rolling hills. They gently cradle my cycling soul. We made decent time. Then my legs began to die. But, I was cradled. Gently so.
They say the toughest bit of the Double Century are the three ugly sisters of hills at the end. It is not.
It’s the long drag, the false flats that take you to the last 18km of the race. Here, the Velokhaya men offered me the “hand of shame”, a push on the back up the hill. I accepted. Then I accepted again. I haven’t had that many hands of shame since I was a teenager and Scope came out with those stickers you could scratch off. I finished the last climb by myself, then we dragged to the end. We set a new best time for our team, broke nine hours for 202km. I woke up yesterday happy and a little sore. But from below, there was nothing but the happiness of a gentle cradling.