Monday, December 28, 2009

Me again

Now, where was I? Oh yes, underneath the Eiffel Tower on the day that Michael Jackson died. For a second, as we rolled to a stop beneath one of the most famous landmarks in the world, we imagined that thousands of people carrying candles and wearing one glove had turned out to welcome us after our epic bike ride. Not so, and their off-key, multilingual renditions of "We are the World" provided a surreal backdrop to the rest of our weekend in that beautiful city.

I've been shamed into writing something by the realisation that I've got two new followers, which seems a bit odd given that there's been nothing to follow for at least six months. But welcome, both - and I'll see what I can do.

If you're unfamiliar with the blog, here's a quick recap. I started writing it because, after decades of riding, building and occasionally racing, bikes - I felt like having a new audience to drone on to. The specific impetus was a serious illness in 2007 which left me struggling to walk and unable to work for a couple of months. As part of the recuperation process, I built up a new bike - sort of occupational therapy, and began gentle riding around Richmond Park.

Within months, I hatched a ludicrous plan to ride the Paris-Roubaix sportive, which is why the blog is still called "A Year in Hell". That project was scuppered by a ski-related shoulder injury, but by then I already had plans for other ambitious rides, and was anyway busy blogging about random fashion-related issues, cycling etiquette and pro riders genitalia.

So what have I been up to since June? Working, mainly - trying to establish a new business in the face of the worst recession since the Second World War. And a bit of bike riding, when I can.

And I've bought a new bike. My trusty, much loved steel Casati has been replaced in my affections by an all-carbon Condor Baracchi, with Mavic Ksyriums and a Veloce groupset. It's gorgeous, but I can't help feeling a little sad that I've finally succumbed to the lure of the black magic.

Two things assuage my carbon guilt. First, the Casati has been passed on to my 16-year old son - who's showing a real interest in some serious riding next year. Second, the lousy weather in the UK has meant I've spent most of my time on my steel fixed Carbon Tempo, the ideal winter training iron.

So what does 2010 have in store? My son and I have committed to ride up the Tourmalet in July, the day before the pros cross it for the second time in the Tour. Ferry booked, hotel booked - all we've got to do is ride up 2-thousand metres of vicious Pyrenean col.

He needs to practice. I need to lose weight. A combination of long working hours and excessive food and drink have left me at least a stone over climbing weight. So, starting January 1st, a vicious new regime, inspired by the great Bradley. Goodbye exotic Belgian beers, chips, and bacon for breakfast. Hello abstinence.

Hope you can join me on the journey.

1 comment:

Richard said...

Welcome back! Looking forward to your adventures.