The most influential moment in sport for the younger Wattmeister came on July 22nd 1987, the day of the 21st stage of that year’s Tour de France.
The mountainous course of 185 kms from Le Bourg d’Oisans to the ski resort of La Plagne is etched into the folklore of the Tour. It is the dramatic day that Irishman Stephen Roche put a hefty deposit on the yellow jersey with a storming finish which forced him to dig so deep that he spent the night in hospital, his participation, (and his deposit), in the following day’s stage made uncertain.
Fast forward eleven years to September 1998, The Wattmeister’s 40th birthday and a year after completing Lands End to John O’Groats. The opportunity to buy a Special Edition frame from his hero, (by now retired), was too much to resist. A telephone conversation with the great man himself resulted in this magnificent Columbus EL Oversized frame and forks being purchased as a present to mark the significant birthday.
It has been built up in many guises, Shimano Ultegra, Campagnolo Chorus and now Shimano Dura-Ace with some retro bits and pieces. However, the Zipp 404 deep section wheels have given it something singularly pleasing.
The avant garde/retro look not only works aesthetically for its owner, but the ride is amazing, so much so that The Wattmeister has managed some decent times on Strava (for an ageing warrior).
In addition, via the wonders of social media, the new incarnation has received the blessing of Stephen Roche himself, and perhaps more importantly, style guru RaphaPaul of the Muswell Hill peloton was caught secretly admiring its unique lines.