In the pantheon of triumphant returns there are giants that stand head and shoulders above all others. Michael Jordan walked away from basketball because he was, get this, “bored with winning”. He returned a few years later still as masterful as he ever was. Then of course there’s LeMond’s ITT at the 1989 Tour, where he beat Laurent Fignon by just eight seconds, and in so doing overturning a 50 second deficit to claim the maillot jaune. My pithy return to riding outside after the frankly unhelpful and inconvenient weather of January was more akin to the return a missing dog, lolloping home after getting lost some time ago, hungry and withered. Uphill. In the cold and rain.
Like many other people I’d spent most of January either curled up in a ball wearing all my clothes, or staring out of the window muttering expletives at the weather. This meant that the only avenue of cycling was on the turbo. This means picking up the heaviest lump of metal know to mankind, using all the strength in my weedy cyclist/Britpop boy arms to open it up, then set the bike up in it after changing the wheel, getting Zwift set up and connected to my TV, then the peripheral stuff – towels, fan, water bottles, turn the heating off (I learnt that last one the hard way – bikram turbo is not fun), before clipping in and pedalling off around a digital reimagining of the real world; it seems so far away now.
I repeated this faff about four or five times, which is way less than my usual monthly cycling volumes, but given the chew on it is to get it all sorted isn’t that surprising. However, on the plus side it does mean that the horrible task of washing your bike in the cold isn’t needed, every cloud.
Finally, decency and civility broke out and the weather improved, thus to cheers and smiles I could now leave the house and ride a bike outdoors. The novelty of it. This is where my problems started.
Not only had a month riding exclusively indoors affected my confidence/ability at cornering in the wet but moreover my legs got very tired and stayed very tired. Granted I went from riding 40 miles a week to riding235 miles the next week, but still this disappointed me, and I have to say, was a tad concerning. What with a trip to Spain coming up quickly I was, nae am, a bit anxious about the climbing I’ll be doing with so little prep and achy legs. Hopefully a couple of days off the bike will rest them enough to ensure that come ride day I’ll feel refreshed and a bit stronger. If not I’ll be the pasty British chap swearing loudly in the middle of the Murcian countryside whilst he peddles square up the side of a mountain.