Friday, July 26, 2013
Life in the Charente - it's payback time
Some of you may know that I have an annual golf outing with three friends and we have been playing together since we were 17 years old.
Now, without wishing to appear boastful, it's relevant to this little tale that I'm better than any of them.
I was a single figure golfer as a kid and if you go to the Drift Golf Club in Surrey you'll see the Downie name scattered around quite liberally in the trophy room.
My three chums were all cricketers and over the years have suffered from various ailments including hooking, slicing, topping and shanking.
We.ve played some fab courses together though - from Druids Glen to Paris National I've boomed one down the first only to try and pretend I'm not with them as they amuse the gathered audience with a collection of airshots, slices into the next county and even (I swear this is true) a shot that ended up thirty yards behind the tee. How much did I enjoy saying "It's still you Steve"?
Better still we always play a few rounds of Greensomes which is where you take alternate shots. Usually my partner gets to play from 300 yards down the middle but woe betide if I hit a duff drive and have to take my partners tee shot. I've played from the ladies tee on many an occasion as well as out of bushes, bunkers, ditches and adjacent fairways....all the time with people passing by and smirking, thinking what a duffer I must be.
I've suffered in silence because that's what you do for friends.
Well, it's payback time. Golf is my past but cycling is my future....more accurately cycling with my father-in-law is my future.
You see we've entered a 20km, two man, time trial in October - the "Duo Jarnacaise".
You might see where this is going. Pa-in-law is not just a good cyclist, he's a very good cyclist indeed. He's been cycling all his life and has conquered the Ventoux, the Tourmalet and any other European mountain worthy of the name.
He has legs of oak, lungs that could power a steam train and a competitive spirit that makes Sir Alex Ferguson look like a politically correct junior school coach.
We cycled out to look at the circuit today and had a trial ride round.
It didn't go well.
Pa-in-law had this crackpot idea that we'd be taking it in turns to shield the other from the wind and that this was some sort of team event. Not so - we'll go fastest if he drags me around behind him but we'll still be way slower than if he was doing it by himself.
At the end of our practice I was wheezing, panting, dead on my saddle but generally pretty pleased with myself.
Now, I get on like a house on fire with "beau pere" - he's more than family and is one of my best friends on the planet. So I could tell he wasn't happy.
Our ride home started with some chuntering. Words like "humiliation" and "disgrace"started being bandied about and soon developed into "knew you were a wrong 'un" and "I'd be better off doing it with your mother-in-law".
Haha....I've been waiting 35 years for this....you just have to take it on the chin Dave. I know what it feels like to be dragged down but as Mahatma Gandhi said "The law of sacrifice is uniform throughout the world".
If anyone wants to come and cheer us on, the Duo Jarnacais team time trial takes place on Sunday 6th October.
I'll be the one sheltering behind the chap with a look of anguish on his face and his cap pulled down low :-)