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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's not all fayre at Christmas

Christmas time is meant to be a joyous occasion. A time we provide gifts for our friends and family. 
For Christians it traditionally marks the birth of Christ with the giving of gifts seemingly symbolising the gift that God had provided to mankind.
For Non-Christians the old Pagan religions also celebrated this time of year with the winter solstice.
A time when the days ceased to get shorter and with the promise of brighter times ahead.
For the pagans it was also an idle time, with little work required in the fields and only the animals (including Mules ) to attend to.
With no I pads, or x boxes, entertainment was based around the consumption of mead.
This was the foundation for finer things such as reciting of old and often tall tales, playing the lute and cock fighting.
When too much mead was consumed other  forms of nocturnal merriment were practised which seemed to corollate to the number of summer births.
Whether it be pagan or Christian I embrace both the giving of gifts and the celebration of longer, brighter days ahead. I also understand the 'Mead' thing but prefer boddingtons.

As a passionate cyclist I look forward to receiving any cycle related present and this year I was not disappointed 
With my partner Joanne also being a cyclist, she knew everything that a discerning cyclist might like. Here is some of my bounty:-

Retro Molteni Jersey - 

Molteni was an Italian professional road by cycle racing team from 1958 until the end of 1976. It won 663 races, many of them earned by its most famous rider, Eddy Merckx. Other riders included Giani Motta and Marino Basso who contributed 48 and 34 wins respectively.

Prendas cycle polo jersey
Prendas is a UK company that specialises in retro cycling gear 
They have made a cycle style polo jersey with Italian colours, it even has a nifty rear pocket.

Matching Caps 

The Cima Coppi is the highest altitude reached by cyclists during the Giro d'Italia. It was established in 1965, five years after the death of the "champion" Fausto Coppi.   
The Cima Coppi changes from year to year, depending on the altitude profile of the Giro d'Italia, but the Cima Coppi par excellence is the Stelvio Pass, which is 2758 meters, the highest point ever reached by the Giro. The Stelvio Pass has been used in the 1972, 1975, 1980, 1994, 2005 and 2012 editions. It was also expected in 1965 and 1988 editions, but in each case the course was modified due to weather conditions. 

Sadly some seasonal gifts you receive are not always wanted.
Especially black Ice which sabotaged my Strava Festive 500 km challenge (Completing the distance in 8 days from Christmas Eve to New Years Eve.
After three days I had done nearly 50% before my unwanted gift introduced me to an audition of 'Hurting on Ice'. 
On hitting the deck my ribs took the full impact on my inverted handlebars. hurt.
Thankfully I was able to get back on the bike as the New Year broke.
What a year I have planned. Surely it must be the Year of the Mule.

As I was tenderising my ribs our American Mules were having their own festive fun.
Creating their very own chain gang sleigh providing fund raising for a local charity.
I knew there was a Mule in the Christmas story.