Team ChainLUBE were temporarily disbanded for a morning as our second rest day took place. A large part of me would like to tell you how much the freedom of rubber on road was yearned for; the industrious purr of chains and cogs was craved and the need to feel the wind howling beside our ears was sought but this was far from the case. The rest was met with open and welcome arms. Not quite for myself as I was required to make the short 13 mile journey from Pontypridd to Cardiff and besides almost pulling onto the M4 motorway, it passed without incident. I had intended to make use of the Taff trail – an off road route which skirted along beside the A470, quite possibly a safer alternative but its route remained obscure in the depths of concrete flyovers and underpasses. I didn’t take it.
Cardiff however, was a pleasant surprise. Hidden in the southern Welsh recesses of Glamorgan the old port was positively luminescent in the July sun. Having ascended and descended seemingly at every turn in Wales, the Capital relented to our demands of convalescence and lay prostrate and flat. Most surprising for myself, particularly as a Londoner, was the cosmopolitan and multicultural pride of the city – certainly more so than had been anticipated.
We ate lunch in a boisterous Italian establishment, adorned with monochrome photographs of previous contended diners and celebrities. As I entered, my eye caught the photo of a youthful Barbara Windsor; smiling gleefully into the melee. I felt slightly unsettled, particularly with my back towards her. We all ate pasta accompanied by a sizeable jug of water. That this was the first appropriate meal in our tour on a day of rest without cycling was some delicious irony and we ate on. In time, when the presumed manager lurked about our table, gently enquiring as to the appropriateness of our food, my mind drifted back to the Sopranos, the myriad references to the marriage of italian cuisine and organised crime, and the calamitous Artie Bucco. “You know better than the New Jersey Zagat? ‘Artie Bucco, warm and convivial host’.”