Monday, November 23, 2009

Lance Armstrong eat your heart out

Just recovering from yesterdays exertions in the rolling countryside of the charente valley.

My father-in-law has been a keen cyclist for years and is a regular in the amateur stage of the "tour de france".  Since he moved out here he's started to take me out on weekly rides and he just won't take no for an answer.

He had suggested we add an extra stage to our normal Sunday morning route and cycle to Barbezieux and back - a journey that is tiring enough when I do it in the car.

Now, as well as being ultra fit he also has the advantage of a €1500 lightweight racing bike and proper riding gear (yes, even the hideous pink jersey and lycra shorts).

I have to struggle along with a twenty year old mountain bike (brakes not working since 1998) with flat tyres as I haven't got a pump.

Meanwhile, my expensively put together cycling regalia consists of a pair of shorts and an official, yellow, 2006 tour de france tee shirt which is the only genuine item of sports kit that I possess.

Maddeningly, my overnight prayers for rain went unanswered and we set off at 8.00am on Sunday morning. Needless to say there was a strong headwind and the only silver lining was that pa-in-law couldn't hear my foul curses as they were whipped away into the vineyards as soon as they left my mouth.

"Come on boy, I'm giving you 15 years" loses any inspirational meaning after the fifteenth time and it took us 1 hr 20 mins of wretched sloggery (not sure that's a word but it really should be) to reach the summit of Barbezieux.

Then, miracle of miracles, we turned around and everything fell into place.  Whether it was an adrenalin rush after turning for home we'll never now but I felt great.  Having a tail wind helped and we did the 22km's back in 58 minutes.  I even found time (and energy) to make polite conversation and to stop for a pee when he was caught short.

I know that a 44km ride is chicken feed and you're probably thinking "so what".....but nuts to that, it was me pedaling not you and it gave me a huge sense of achievement.

My legs don't half ache today though.

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