Gen­tly, the hand of shame cupped my cy­cling soul

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

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.

KEVIN McCAL­LUM

CHIEF SPORTS WRITER

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