On Dress­ing for De­scents and Ir­ra­tional At­tach­ments

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - 2018 GIFT GUIDE -

Ponte di Legno is a sleepy ski town in the Ital­ian Alps. In the sum­mer­time, it sub­sists seem­ingly on wealthy tourists and the oc­ca­sional cy­clist pass­ing through. By the time I’d reached it, the sun was peak­ing. I’d just come up the clas­sic side of the Mor­tirolo, a nearby pass. I was spent and stopped to eat.

It was early Septem­ber and usu­ally hot. I’d left Mazzo di Val­tel­lina that morn­ing with­out so much as a gilet, think­ing the weather would stick all day. By the time I’d climbed the 2,621-m-high Gavia, that all changed.

The Gavia is re­lent­less. The early slopes are well-main­tained and full of alpine views; the nar­row and in­ter­mit­tently cracked roads and tun­nels up top can chal­lenge even the fittest cy­clists. Max­i­mum gra­di­ents from the Bres­cia side aren’t Mor­tirolo-tough (less con­sis­tently steep), but the length of the climb (18 km) makes it hard.

With the com­bined climbs that day, my legs were heavy, my pedal strokes re­sem­bling squares. Two thou­sand me­tres from the top of the climb, the skies changed from sunny and blue to omi­nous and evil grey. Fo­cused on reach­ing the end, I barely no­ticed a shift in tem­per­a­ture to around 12 C. By the time I reached the restau­rant at the pass, I was cold and chilled from golf ball-sized hail that fell for the last 15 min­utes of climb­ing.

I walked in with the look of a man at his end. I reached for my layer to cut the wind on the de­scent while crush­ing a Coke. The shell is an in­ex­pen­sive, well-made Su­goi piece I got at the Five Bor­oughs Bike Tour in New York, a piece I usu­ally car­ried be­cause of its size and seem­ing weight­less­ness. But it wasn’t there. The gaff cre­ated an ir­ra­tional at­tach­ment to a jacket, or lack thereof, and left me freez­ing while de­scend­ing that par­tic­u­lar day.

I think about the Gavia ev­ery­time I pack that shell. There are many oth­ers like it in my kit drawer, but that one – the one I’d left back in Mazzo – that one’s mine.— Mark­co­hen

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.