I don’t know why, but I just didn’t fancy it out there today.
Actually that’s a bit of a lie; I do know…its was down to my legs feeling like a pair of old lead drainpipes after four days off the bike plus temperatures that with the wind chill factored in felt well below zero.
Temperatures against which I was at least one thick clothing layer, ski gloves and neoprene overshoes short of a full defence, as it turned out. Especially once I got to the windswept slopes of Devil’s Dyke, a hill I was intending to climb twice but bailed on after just one rather creaky slog.
In fact, it’s only after languishing in a hot shower for a considerable amount of time that my hands have defrosted enough to type this gibberish.
But type I must…
Some hours earlier:
Editor: Good God, man, the hits on this blog have gone off a cliff, you gotta write something fresh or we’re all lining up at the soup kitchen.
Me: But I haven’t actually done anything worth writing about.
Ed: Since when did that make any difference?
Me: I know, and so far I’ve managed to get away with it. But if I write one more big spiel about thin air I could blow the whole circus.
Ed: Don’t worry. As long as you chuck a movie quote in there and find some sort of funny photo no-one will notice the difference. Trust me.
Me: True. Let me try to lash something together. I am, after all, a professional.
So, strong coffee close at hand, here goes…
I’ll start by welcoming back the ‘proper’ professional cycling season, which is always a cause for great excitement in this corner of the Green household. The thrill of trying to find hooky streams of Belgium’s wonderful Sporza channel for the Spring Classics and semi-Classics is a guaranteed work diversion at this time of year. And this weekend my absolute favourite race of the season – Paris-Nice – begins.
Why such a deep love for Paris-Nice? Well, because to me it is the end of winter and the coming of spring personified in one, wonderful Race to the Sun. From the cold and damp outskirts of the French capital (despite its name it doesn’t actually start in Paris) the riders head south, slowly shedding layers of winter gear until they’re cruising to the finish along the Promenade des Anglais in short-sleeved jerseys and regular bib-shorts.
Paris-Nice also marks the seasonal debut of Eurosport’s cycling commentary A Team – Messrs Harmon & Kelly – reason alone to tune in by my reckoning.
I shall have to catch up on the race’s first stage later in the day, because on Sunday I’m taking part in my only sportive this year, The Puncheur. This 69-mile meander through the hillier bits of Sussex should be great fun, because thanks to the wonders of Twitter it seems a rare old bunch of local cycling enthusiasts is planning to ride it together.
The weekend after will not be for jollity: at long last I’ll be racing again. I’m over all the aches and pains from my crash and still hopeful my replacement brake lever will have arrived at The Tristore in time to get the race bike fully fixed up and ready to go.
Between now and then I’ll also need to get some fast miles in, starting tomorrow with a three-hour, two-up ride alongside our team DS, Mark. I’ve dismissed today’s rather meagre effort as simply a tune-up for that, although one thing a bit of solo riding did afford me was the opportunity to have a sneaky first practice at riding a racing bike with no hands. Or, more precisely, freewheeling with my arms spread in victory pose.
Well, you never know, do you…?