From d’arrière to derailleur

“Diamants-de-Foegre” is coming on ok, I’ve managed a few rows of the leaf panel (above). I have decided that this project needs finishing before the end of the Tour de France, because if I put this down, I may never pick it back up again. Reasons explained in the final Intermediate Sprint.

Give us a highlights package of your TDFKAL. What were your goals for the Tour and have you met them? Did you have some major stage wins? Are you going home with the yellow jersey (or other equally wearable item)? Or did you spectacularly crash into a labrador or run off the side of a mountain? Did your equipment break down mid-race, leaving you stranded on the side of the road waiting for the team car? We want the blow-by-blow account using your very best sportscaster voice, Franglais, and/or cycling metaphors! (The use of Phil and Paulisms is optional but looked on favourably!)

The term in association with food would be ‘eyes bigger than my belly’, ‘ideas above my station’ seems a bit harsh and ‘too big for my boots’ is just ridiculous, have you seen the size of my boots? But thinking about it, it would make cycling difficult, the soles continually kicking my bottom bracket, causing it to fall apart and loose my marbles…(ok, I know, they’re ball-bearings).

Having one of those beautiful lace scarves that you can see all over Ravelry was my dream. I never had the nerve to produce something so delicate or the inclination to cast on until the Tour KAL gave the opportunity.

With the pattern chosen, swatches taken, washed and blocked, I felt confident I could do this. I wanted to climb the Alps “like an angel”, “to scream down the Côte de la Rochette” and take the Yellow, Green and the Polka Dot…(I’m too old for the White!).

In reality, I set off from Brittany, “the sun had melted the bitumen” and I still had my stabilisers attached! but like a true Brit I ploughed on, refusing to believe I could be eliminated at the first stage.

So with my “suitcase of courage” packed in to the back pocket of my cycle jersey, I made to the finish line of the first few stages, just a couple of seconds after the peleton, “wearing the mask of pain”. I wasn’t enjoying this ride at all. Lace is just too slow, it takes too much concentration and with four children and a house to run (as well as the voluntary work I do) it was too much. It was a case of “Bridge to engine room, we need more power’, but folks–there is no more power.”

I took a few diversions, avoiding the “road furniture” and “tackling the sleeping policemen”. I changed the pattern, didn’t work, changed colour, didn’t work, knitted in the sun, didn’t work…I had “over cooked it on the corner” and my dreams of “blowing the peleton to pieces” were over.

Truth be known, I’m a sprinter, I can work fast on something that moves fast, I get bored far too easily and have no stamina for long distance racing, either on my feet, on a bike or in my seat with a load of yarn. My “legs have turned to rubber and effort reduced to mere survival.”

So, “turning the pedals in anger!” for the last time, I’ll “add another page to this fairy tale that just keeps going on”, and instead of the scarf I have always dreamed of, it will be a skirt, if it blocks large enough for me, it’s mine, if the “elastic snaps” it will be a skirt for Jasmine.

“Now if I were an Olympic cycling judge—which as it happens I am—I’d say that was all right.” Liggett

Have I learned anything? Will I be “dancing on the pedals in the Polka Dot Jersey”? Well, I would argue that I have. It was a challenge, I met my challenge and threw every part of my body at it (original quote “they threw every part of their body at the bike”). I have learned that fine lace knitting isn’t for me, I am destined to be the “voyeur” (Which reminds me, has anyone seen “El Diablo” this year?) of this beautiful craft and envy all those who ride her!

Check out these photographs. and Liggettisms


7 thoughts on “From d’arrière to derailleur

  1. An excellent piece of work (lace and words) if you ask me. And I think you did.
    I’m sure I spotted the devil early on, and then again yesterday, in fact, he was pointed out by P&P. Unless it was an imposter.

    Are fans of Phil Liggett philophiles?

  2. Could have sworn I pressed “Submit”! Trying again. If I repeat myself, well that’s just unfortunate.
    I deem your lace and writing to be excellent examples.
    jen (philophile)

  3. I would grant you a jersey just for the laughter that your post generated – I’ve been snorting coffee out my nose while reading…

    so congratulations! I think you’ve gleaned everything you could from a real learning situation, and at the very least, deserve a jersey… and maybe a beer… or two

  4. Wonderful entry, if not a wonderful experience…the fact you attempted lace with four children means that regardless of finishing, you totally earned that polka dot jersey. Let your blog wear it with pride!

  5. Pingback: Five minutes peace « Riggwelter’s

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