Well yes. I did it.
I now have as many hairs on my legs as I have points-scoring finishes in cycle races: that is, none.
I have also – as my wife gleefully points out – gained a better idea of what women go through as part of their regular beauty routine. Most of all I guess this means I’m committed to racing my bike for at least the foreseeable future, starting with the first Goodwood Gallops (a handicap event where all levels from 4th up to Elite share the same track) not long after my return from our team’s Majorca training camp.
The Majorca trip is dominating my thoughts. I’m hugely looking forward to it while also being enveloped in an oddly childlike, pensive mood – almost as if this is my first ever trip beyond UK shores, as opposed to my umpteenth. What’s going to happen? Will my bike make it there in one piece? Will I forget to take something essential? How will I get on riding long distances every day? The latter is something I’ve rarely done before, since I normally favour days off between my training rides. It could be an interesting challenge.
It’s weird all this fretting over what is basically a chaps’ holiday at the end of the day, and I’m sure I’ll snap out of it once I get there and soak up the first rays of Balearic sunshine on my newly shorn legs.
I’ll be taking my laptop with me to the island, ostensibly to keep up with my day job, although the potential for remote blogging hasn’t escaped my thoughts. I’ll see if there’s anything worthwhile to say, over and above the staple “did 120km today… went up that hill… down that one…” sort of thing, which would get boring pretty quickly.
As I mentioned, I want to use Majorca to get back in decent shape because I really want to go racing again, after pissing about for what seems like an age. My loyal readers must also feel starved of any actual sportswriting to get their teeth into, given that my last Goodwood race report was more than a month ago.
But fear not: a racing I will go, and soon. After the season-opening Gallops on 26 April there’s the second of those events a week later, followed by a 4th Cat only race also at Goodwood on 8 May. This schedule might be punctured by a criterium in Brighton on 29 April, but I’d have to be going extremely well (and have some brownie points in the bag at home) to plump for that alongside everything else.
The family will be coming along to a seafront crit in Eastbourne on Sunday 22 May, which looks like it’s going to be a great day out since it’s part of a big cycling festival being held in the town. Then the action switches to a new circuit with a 4th Cat race at Dunsfold (home of BBC Top Gear) on May 27.
Strewth! From a trickle to a flood. If I can get through that little lot intact, and preferably with a British Cycling point or two in the bag, I’ll be a happy man.
With all that to prepare for I haven’t even glanced beyond the end of May, to be honest. Who knows, I may have qualified as a 3rd Cat by then (stop sniggering at the back you lot!) and have a whole world of different options ahead of me, mostly involving being left for dead by a notably better quality of rider.
In the meantime, it really is a case of onwards and upwards – the life of an apprentice cycle racer (aged 43½) is about to get a whole lot more interesting…