It’s the time of the year when I would like to be impressing my readers with tales of daring winter rides through the biblical floods of South Oxfordshire or the frozen lanes of the Chilterns.
In previous years, I’ve told about epic homemade sportives like the “Hell of the B4135 and related minor roads” – mud, potholes and lonely winter roads, with the only companion the mileometer slowly clocking up the miles.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I have no epic tales to tell this winter. I’m more like the sickly boy at the back of the class who always has a note from his Mother to excuse him from games. I have had a few days of training in Sicily which was pretty good. But, mostly it’s been stop / start – a few days on, two weeks off. The worrying thing is I feel quite fine about it. I hope the article “Not everyone can be Eddy Merckx” isn’t a portent of things to come. The old competitive urge wearing away as I start to get used to pottering around the house in a pair of comfy slippers.
Though I know this has happened before. When you’re sick, it’s actually best you lose the desire to cycle and race. Enjoy life without the bike for a few weeks, whilst you can. You’ll have enough time to suffer in the saddle later. I’ve actually been here before many times. Time off the bike and it all looks bleak. You worry about miles missed and training schedules well behind. I have a mileage chart from Cycling Weekly, but I haven’t been able to fill even one block yet.
But, it’s never as disastrous as it feels to have a few very quiet months. You can definitely catch up, and – if you have to have a persistent cold that lasts two weeks – the first two weeks of January are as good a time as any.
Still, yesterday I visited a garden centre for the first time in many years, a pretty bleak place, early Jan. So rather than a usual days training, I coughed and spluttered through a bit of gardening.
I hope my readers winter training is going better. I’m sure you’re all ahead on the winter mileage charts.