Friday, December 02, 2016

The Dreaded Works Christmas Do

I have had a great day on my bike today.

I started the day in a bad mood, dreading the annual social parade that is the Christmas Do, the time of the year when I realise that my life is so very different from some others and I don't necessarily relish that difference or, potentially live up to other's expectations - not that I care anymore.

I did still want to ride to work so I tossed caution out the window, dispensed with image and rode to work wearing the trousers I intended to wear for the evening with a change of blouse packed.

The new Alpkit pants are very comfy for riding in and only escaped from the security of my socks once but avoided being snagged in the chain. They are incredibly sretchy - akin to being in a reasonably thick pair of leggings.

When I left the office at 4.45 it was drizzling so I put on rain legs and coat to be on the safe side and headed out into the traffic, remembering at that moment that I had meant to put makeup on but probably not a bad thing, given the drizzle and all. Of course I was soon away from the traffic on my canal route and enjoying the ride as the rain got heavier.

I was disappointed to find out my friend's indoor bike park is now more exclusive since he moved out so I parked the bike in the rain, marvelling at the number of buildings with overhangs and porches that could accommodate covered cycle parks under their wings and yet, there lie barren and bleakly well lit every night... I mean why spoil a building with the messy practicality of a functional bike park?

Still, I used the building cover to shelter whilst I  removed overshoes, helmet and gloves and reorganised my spare bag to protect clean clothes from messy cycling shoes as I pulledon my suede boots. I considered changing my shirt but concluded that I didn't need to be that hobo and this is Sheffield city centre on a Friday night, not a cyclo cross race car park. The restaurant would have to cope with my cycling jersey for a few minutes.

I seamlessly changed into my flowery blouse in the ladies' loo, despite the cubicle being so small the door clipped the toilet seat. I even treated myself to a pairof knickers instead of padded cycling shorts.

Once changed I rejoined my colleagues, relieved that mountain biking Simon had an empty seat opposite him along with Andy who was on his last day with the team. It was effectively his leaving do so I was glad to have spent another pleasant evening with him again (we were on site together last week).

After our lovely meal they tried to make me go in a spangly place filled with spangly people. I put my nose in the door and lots of spangly faces eyed my mucky Carradice and suede rigger boots suspiciously, drew their boggling wine glasses closer and shuffled in the uncomfortable shoes they had been standing up in for too long already this evening.  We seemed to be at the back of a long line of people standing at the bar to get a drink they could stand up and hug for too long and I was starting to struggle with claustrophobia.

I made brief apologies to Simon then bolted for the door.  Without a second glance for Andy  (who was still smoking at the door) I paced down the street to where Phoenix was parked. I sat down on the dry, covered steps and changed back into my cycling shoes, rain legs and waterproof jacket and added my helmet to my hat. Now, I know this isn't a good look - l checked in the mirror the other day and my face is too small for the ensemble - but I didn't care tonight. It was fucking warm is what it was.

As I wrapped the waist band of my rain legs around my waist the straps cut wet slithers of cold across my belly fat where the thin tops I was wearing were not tucked in to my trousers, I thought, 'this is the worst of Audax' - this cold and this damp. This recycling of wet cloth to be rewarmed with every disembarkation from the controls and yet I would rather be leaving a control right then.

I snaked through the streets of Sheffield and gradually the drunk people thinned out.

At home I briefly didn't feel like stopping and I nearly pitched the tent for a trial winter bivi in the garden but remembered why we don't do that - because cats.

So I put bread on to bake and settled down for an evening of recovery - recovery for furtherment of adventure tomorrow.

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