Rollers for a Tour de France Party

Amidst the usual routine of sport and grocery shopping on a Saturday morning, I was contemplating my wardrobe. I was flipping through a mental catalogue of my Autumn/Winter collection to find something suitable for a Tour de France party. The party was to be held at Rapha in Surry Hills. I was certain that there would be more women in attendance than the last TDF party I attended. Rapha has made a big push for more women in cycling with its hosted women rides on Fridays and their beautiful cycling clothing for both women and men. Of course, they advocate fast riding in lycra. But why wear lycra when you can wear something more flattering?

While packing groceries into the GoGet Car, I decided on my outfit for the evening.  We were at Macquarie Centre for my children’s figure skating lessons.  With a spare half hour, I went to H&M to buy some sheer grey tights.

The afternoon passed and my husband Justin left for the Blur concert with friends at 5:30pm. Our nanny arrived and my children happily played a game in French after dinner. I dressed for the evening.

I found this jumpsuit at Zara at the end of summer. I wore it to the Derek Blasberg event at Westfield with J.Crew booties.

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Ah summer evenings without tights, jacket, gloves, scarf. One day soon!

As it was now winter, I would be wearing tights and tall boots to stay warm. My blush coloured Lululemon winter riding jacket would keep the top half of me warm.

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The Luluemon jacket is very warm and feminine.

I thought the jumpsuit would be a more casual look for riding fast.  Of course, I rode to the Rapha shop on my Gazelle City Zen, all uphill too!

I find it fun going to a party alone. I don’t know who I’m going to meet and how the evening will fare. I said hello to Nick from The Spokespeople who organises many events with Rapha. I ran into Daniel whom I met on my first Rapha group ride months ago. He helped me with my tyre after the person in front of me neglected to point out a pothole. We chatted and while he attended to the set up of the rollers, I found a drink and a spot at a table. I met Darren and we chatted. I asked him to tell me who the main competitors were in the TDF. I have to admit that I have not watched any of the Tour. With two kids, husband and work, I barely have time to read for pleasure much less watch television these days.  Chris Froome, masquerading as a Brit, was compelling to watch.  He was all forceful arms and legs.

And then it was time for all of us to try our hand at the Tour de Rollers.  Several pairs of young men with fantastically long hair went in the first few rounds. Hair flying, they all sprinted 250m. Everyone could see their progress on the screen. Red versus Blue. The crowd was cheering wildly at all attempts. Then two women from Rapha who are ride leaders were next.

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I have ridden, no, tried to keep up with these ladies. They are so fast! No lycra in sight tonight!

It was a fantastically positive atmosphere and a friendly crowd.  I asked Darren if he would try it. He demurred. I wanted to try. I had come prepared this evening. But for it to be interesting, I would need to find another woman with whom to ride. Behind me was a lovely lady in pink shirt and jeans with fantastic eye liner and glasses. I asked her if she wanted to try it with me. Her initial answer was not “no” which was encouraging. She pointed out her heels. I pointed at mine. She said yes. Her partner was also encouraging.  I spoke with Nick and we were up next.

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Getting set up for our own tour!

The seat height was adjusted for me. It was damn uncomfortable. Where was my Selle Avant? I looked over at Corina. She was having a similar experience although she had taken off her heels. 

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Our names on the board, finally. We’ll be sprinting soon.

She was serious about this sprint which I liked.  We looked over at one another and traded smiles. My boots were strapped into the pedals. The crowd counted down. And we were off!  Nick was my cheerleader.

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Head down, legs on fire, Nick’s voice in my ear, “Keep going Sarah!”

In an intense voice he told me how I was doing and that I was leading and then lagging. 250m seemed like a long time. My legs started to burn with the exertion. And then we were finished.  It was one of the most uncomfortable fast rides I had ever experienced. I was a little winded but my recovery was quick. The ride was so short there was not even time to break a sweat. I had never been on a roller before.  I have sprinted on my own bicycle(s) and usually there is a natural sway involved. This ride was fixed and it was an unfamiliar bicycle. But was super fun!

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Tights intact and such a simple way to have fun on a Saturday night.

I dismounted from the bicycle and a group of young women cheered me on for having ridden. I said that I was just happy to have not ruined my tights.  They all laughed. And then I suggested that they have a turn.

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Made a friend!

Tonight’s ensemble: Zara jumpsuit, H&M tights, Cartier Santos, Swarovski earrings and ring, Aerosole boots, Lululemon winter riding jacket, Yakkay helmet.

Happy Cycling!

X Sarah

P.S. A big thank you to Darren to who took most of these photos!

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