Hill climb season is on the horizon, time to put our summer legs and lightweight physiques to good use before they slowly start to disappear. In the words of Brian Holm: "don't believe your mother when she telling that you are too skinny, Dan Martin is fucking skinny and you ain't."
The Vuelta a España is a great source for climbing inspiration. The first image that comes to mind is Pavel Tonkov grinding up the Angliru during the 1999 edition; firstly because its a brilliant image, and secondly he looks fucking fantastic astride his Colnago C40; box rims, saddle tilt, Mapei kit and Sidi shoes.
The Angliru has a fearsome reputation, originally the road was used by shepherds to transport livestock. Spanish rider Oscar Sevilla described the Angliru as "an inhumane climb". Back in 2002, the pro peloton faced wet conditions, David Millar crashed several times on the climb, he protested the dangerous stage by removing his number, walking over the finish line, effectively abandoning the race. The climb was taken out of the Vuelta for six years.
It takes courage to stand up to race organisers, whatever the reasons or outcome. There is a fine line between entertainment and rider wellbeing, unfortunately, its crossed far too often because cyclists are hard as nails.
Millar has a lot of history with the Vuelta, which has inspired the latest CHPT3 collection ‘VUELTADATA’ telling the story of his final edition back in 2014.
The coloured design is taken from parametric patterns created from the data (a combination of my heart rate, watts, speed, distance, etc) of one of my final races, stage 17 at the 2014 Vuelta a España. It was the day after the final rest day, and in my pre-race plan was supposed to be when I started chasing a stage win, unfortunately, I had broken two fingers in a crash on Stage 15. It was a hellish day, my teammates, Nathan Haas and Ryder Hesjedal never left my side and helped me to the finish. The pattern from the day’s numbers paint a much prettier picture than the reality of the situation.
The sheer texture of the jersey catches the light beautifully and the asymmetric infographic adds a focal point, colour and shape. Heres the full story of 'the pain behind the numbers', more proof that cyclists are hard as nails.
Not just an accessory, the pendant is a vital component for hill climb season. Your legs pound out a rhythm, tick-tock, tick-tock, any change in drumbeat and you can feel it in the swing of the pendulum around your neck.
The pendant also serves as a good luck charm, superstitions and rituals help put you in a positive mindset. I wear one of my grandfathers gold medals from a time trial he won back in 1949, I always take him cycling with me. Paired with the Alludens Forza bar pendant, the chain length and bar weight hit the perfect frequency for that tick-tock feeling that keeps you in rhythm and adds a touch of classic style.
I can’t wait to hit the hill climb season in the VUELTADATA collection, pendants rocking. I can only try to look as good as Pavel Tonkov, even if I can’t produce the same power;)