The horror! The horror! (of losing fitness)

 

“Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats in the bush, he gets stronger.”

That quote, from Apocalypse Now, has been running through my head this week, while I took an enforced break from cycling in order to fulfil some client business in the Middle East (he writes, trying desperately to make his job sound more exciting than it actually is).

Green contemplates another day of missed training...

My best laid plans of hitting the hotel gym every evening for some brutal punishment on the exercise bikes translated in reality to plenty of splashing about in the warm Arabian sea and just a couple of hard sessions of pedalling.  There’s no way that output was sufficient to offset the huge additional calorie intake that became inevitable when a man with my appetite is let loose in self-service buffet environments for all three of his daily meals…

I’ve yet to establish how far these eight days of hotel living have set me back fitness-wise, but any softening in the legs will be hard to recover given that my first race is looming large.

Very large.

In fact my debut is going to be even earlier than I’d bargained for, since the Sunday 20 Feb event I’d signed up for has just been cancelled because the Army apparently needs the venue.  Instead I’m turning out at the Longcross Test Track on Saturday 19 Feb, under the auspices of the Surrey League.

This season opening event is billed as “beginners’ races” and the 4th Cats are off at the bright and breezy time of 9.30am.  Given the popularity of the Surrey League (which, despite its name, covers my home county of Sussex as well) I expect a good turnout of riders – all of whom, like me, are no doubt pooh-poohing their chances of even clinging onto the bunch while secretly harbouring dreams of crossing the line with their arms aloft…

So, time to kick-start my training; and not a moment too soon.  I have a spin on the turbo planned for later today, just to loosen up after all the long-haul flying.  After that, things pick up with a Saturday morning spin in the company of Bayeux team-mate and illustrator extraordinaire Rich Mitchelson, then it’s the usual 60 mile team ride on Sunday plus whatever else I can jam into next week.

A further potential complication is an impending session of blood doning.  Though not in the Riccò sense I should hasten to add…my armful will be finding its way to a deserving NHS recipient rather than being stored at home next to the cheese and eggs…

And on the subject of doping I was cheered to read in this month’s Cycling Plus that Echinacea, which I’ve been taking regularly to help stave off ‘long-haul lurgy’, is now believed to add blood boosting to its many talents – a kind of legal EPO if you like.

With all this in my favour, how can I possible fail…

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