Sunday, 22 July 2012

What we have will always remain

Well it's been quite a week for cycling, particularly British cycling. And I use that word advisedly, because it's more than English for once. I'll leave all the superlatives, outpourings of emotion and open top bus parades to others, I just wanted to reflect on the essence of Britishness.

The way Wiggins has carried himself, with that mix of swagger, elegance, respect for tradition, and genuine humility and thankfulness at his, and his team's, achievements, has been so refreshing to see and hear. For a British team, with a British rider to win the Tour is the equivalent of winning the World Cup, the Euros, the Champions League and the Premier League all rolled into one. So for the man that did it to be so understated about it is such a delightful contrast to the celebrations and hysterics you would see from the footballers.

And Froome (almost my namesake for I have Froom grandparents and ancestors, mini MR is convinced we are related) is similarly modest. And born in Kenya with adopted British passport and nationality, following in his parents' line. David Millar, Scottish also did us proud, and of course there is the Manx missile himself. What can I say about my hero? Brash and forthright as ever, but showing a new maturity in his teamwork, whilst still kicking all their arses on his piece of road.

Central Paris belongs to the Brits tonight.

And what do we get on the BBC sports news? Golf, a good walk ruined, that's what. Never mind chaps, while you were walking round the course, a revolution was happening.

Elsewhere, on the roads of Somerset, Bristol and the Cotswolds, I have been keeping my promise to go upwards as much as I can. On Tuesday night a window opened up in the grotty weather for a quick blast around the Mendips with Mendip Mackem, and although he then followed it up with another 15 miles to Wedmore, I contented myself with 25 and 2500 feet of climbing. Including Draycott Steep, aka The gliding club hill. First time for a long time but I got up without stopping, and followed it up with the climb to the masts by Black Down and the road over Rowberrow.

Tuesday evening's quick ride with Gary

Friday's commute into work also saw me climbing Wrington Hill (the steep way) Belmont Hill and then Dundry, Blagdon (the steep road past Yeo Valley food) and Rowberrow again, before looping round to do Winscombe Hill the steep way. Around 55 miles all told with about 4500 feet of climbing. Notice how fast I have become at my fastest, not bad eh?

Don't know about you but I can see a pattern emerging.

Friday's commute

Skip had arranged to do the Tour of the Cotswolds long ago, and this week, in an attempt to do some new and different climbs I persuaded MM to join me and ride as a group of three. And that window in the weather that was Tuesday night? Well it may have shut last week, but this weekend the whole side of the house is off as glorious summer sunshine has come pouring in.

It was scorchio!!!

Well, maybe just a bit hot, but it's easy to be carried away with the so-called Summer we have had so far. Today dawned a bit cool but cloudless, and it got better and better as the day, and the ride went on. Skip carries a camera with her, so as soon as she has done her blog I'm going to copy a few of her photos and post them here.

Lovely varied scenery, varied roads, different climbs, pretty villages, empty lanes, nice company and friendly faces all round. Just shy of 80 miles with about 6000 feet of climbing, all in all, a useful week on the bike. And today there was cheerfulness, another thing the British can do if we set our mind to it. Set your mind to it tomorrow!

The one downer to the day is a big one. MM dropped us on the first big hill, and Skip and I never caught up with him. There were lots of steep climbs, particularly towards the end, and it was on one of the corresponding descents that he came a cropper, ending up in casualty (a real hospital not the TV series) resulting in stitches, a hole in the elbow, lots of road rash and one totally trashed road bike.

All this was communicated to us by text, so I hope you are feeling better and back on a new or repaired bike very, very soon. On the few occasions I have crashed I'm always a bit wobbly when I first get back on, so I hope you are back to riding full gas soon.

Today's route by Charlie Garmin

I read something interesting this week. And I was the judge of that. The word "passion" comes from the ancient Greek verb for "suffering". I know words evolve and language changes, it's wicked, and cool. Whatever. But don't you think it's an apt word for riding bikes up crazy, steep mountains, 3500 kms in 21 days, at crazy speeds, and in tight-packed bunches, full of danger?

And of course as Mendip Mackem showed today, we are not immune from danger either, a pot-hole did for him today, one of the hazards of our roads. As i said before, get well soon, and don't let yourself be tied up in the gym, it's just a preparation for the nursing home, get outside if you can! Sitting in front of the TV letting your arteries clog is inherently more dangerous as well, and I think we all need to do something to get our adrenaline going. It proves we are alive.

Five weeks and counting.

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