Sunday, 21 July 2013

Climb every mountain

Just a short post today, a week after my return from the Pyrenees. It's a bit like BC and AD, only less religious. Maybe.

I'm in mourning. Not that it was much of a shock. Out of form sprinter with poorly-organised lead-out train loses to in-form sprinter with well-drilled model of , err, efficiency. Let's leave the stereotypes there before I get into trouble. My Mum would be so proud, it's all her fault really.

What Cav really needs is a brilliant Australian lead-out man to sort it out for him. Or not a lanky lad brought up in Kilburn riding for the Belgians, that might help. Well he was born in Ghent so technically he is one.

It wasn't as hot as in was going up the Port de la Bonaigua a week ago last Wednesday. Not was it as long, after all 55kms of continuous ascent is hard to beat anywhere, but it has been quite warm in England this week. It topped 30C on my way up The Wrangle on Friday as I came home from work. About 30 minutes later as I was starting my descent of Shipham Hill I had one of those awkward moments, when someone you know nearly kills you with their van. I was doing about 25mph in a built-up area but she was gracious enough to say she hadn't seen me.

It was a fortuitous meeting though as it reminded me that she does personal training and weight-loss stuff. Something I'm determined to do as the big 5-0 approaches next year. I really struggled with form for the first 6 months of 2013, but I feel I have turned a corner. Now I want to see an open road with a tailwind and a slight downhill gradient running to September 2014!

For the fourth year in succession Jennifer and I rode the Great Weston sportive. It is more of a fun-ride to be honest, and strangely it starts and finishes in different places. For most, this involves complicated logistics of buses or friendly wives or other such stuff. For us it means getting up early and riding into Bristol, doing the ride, then riding home. This also makes it more of a reasonable distance, but because I like to keep Jennifer on her toes we never ride the same way into Bristol.

Still, as far as comparisons go I can report that this was the latest in a line of four improvements for the said event, each year I have done the 85 (or so) miles faster and with less effort. So I do seem to be fitter even if I am heavier. Although weather plays its part too, but it's enough of a circular route to make valid comparisons.  Still in my one-man campaign to prove all this data I keep actually has any purpose other than to feed a compulsive need to feed an obsession, at last I can prove something inconsequential. I'm winning my competition with myself!

My main preoccupation today was insects. How many insects does the Tour de France kill every year. In 85 miles today I killed about a dozen, but I think if you are in the middle of the peloton you probably kill fewer. Then again, those in breaks or sprinting to get back to the main bunch must murder dozens. I would conservatively estimate that the total for all 21 stages is around the 100,000 per annum. Based on 20 insects per rider per stage, with 180 average riders per stage.

If you are sadder than me, you may come up with a different figure.

Keep it to yourself.

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