Marigolds, quintessentially the domain of the domestic scene and not really the domestique seen (in them).
The creme de la creme of washing up gloves, in a range of colours to suit your outfit of the day, they can be dressed up with some feathers on the cuff or perhaps a string of pearls. Neatly lined to prevent a build up of sweat while you toil away at last night’s dinner party dishes.
Closer inspection of this picture of a very organised rider’s kit for the day reveals a nifty little, well not so little, pair of Marigolds, careful selected in a fetching blue combination. So this begs not just the question of who would take a pair of Marigolds to a bike race, but why?
It’s France, it’s Summer, it’s the Etape. But it’s not just any summer, it’s this summer and with a track record of being more foul that a Wiggins’ press response, better prepare for the worse. Secondly it’s the Etape in the Mountains where the weather will be less predictable than a journey in London during the Olympics. For the experienced Etapers, suffering the trials and tribulations of wrong kit choice on past rides, they know their hard won experience will ensure to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
So why Marigolds (M) and not a lovely, expensive pair of well researched, high-tech waterproof gloves. If like me you laughed at the idea at first, you may soon come around to the fact that it’s a pretty smart idea. The lining and long cuff make it a perfect cycling solution, no sweaty hands, a long cuff to protect the wrists from rain and cold, and should it warm up a tad you can roll up the cuffs (though to the detriment of a little aero dynamics). Coupled with a pair of toasty merino wool gloves, my choice are the Defeets (D), as I noted were Charlie’s, you’ll have all bases covered. Cold wet (D)+(M), cold dry (D), wet (M), warm (none). And should the day turn into a scorcher then, at a minimal investment loss, you can ditch the Marigolds.
With six Etapes and a RAAM under the belt, Charlie Pearch knows better than most. And if Charlie’s taking the Marigolds to the 2012 Etape Act 2, then woe betide anyone not kitted to the nines for bad weather.