Usually, by this stage in the season, I have a few hilly time trials under my belt. This year the only thing under my belt is a very slightly expanding waistline. 2017 has been all about pies, peas and stretching exercises, so far.
I have been able to get out every now and then. Spring threatened to break-out last week, with some very enjoyable riding conditions. I’ve been cycling up a few hills, just to remind myself how hard it is. I realise that to reach your top potential, you need to be in good shape physically and mentally. With a few aches and pains, it holds you back in more ways than one. I haven’t entered any races yet, though I have started to compare times on hills to previous years. This process of comparison has brought some dispiriting realisations that you have to work really hard to get up climbs in short time.
The goal of 2017 is to try and replicate the hill-climb form of the years 2011-15. It doesn’t sound the most overly ambitious goal in life – but I’m coming to realise that with advancing years, staying where you are – can take an increasing amount of effort and commitment.
Road sign and daffodils.
This is a village near Haddenham, possibly called Ford. You can cycle through a village a hundred times and still not remember its name.
Milan San Remo
I enjoyed watching the last 20 minutes of Milan San Remo. It may have ended up being a rather dull sprint finish, but a tailwind on the Poggio encouraged an audacious Peter Sagan to attack. There’s no better sight than the World Champions jersey disappearing up the road at the pointy end of a Monument. Sagan is an amazing bike racer, who inevitably raises comparisons with Eddy Merckx; but fortunately, he’s not quite as dominant as Eddy Merckx. Sagan finishes second just often enough to leave us with uncertainty who will come up trumps.
Recently, I gave a talk about cycling with Dan Bigham at Beeline Bikes for Cowley Condors. I was impressed they have over 200 members, despite forming quite recently.