bikebritain Says June 3, 2011

RIDE24 Training - Why is the wind always in your face?

Welcome to the latest instalment of my RIDE24 training diary. It seems a little vainglorious to call it that, since it contains little detailed analysis of my training and, instead, stories of bike theft, internet research and kebab vans. Of course, this episode is no different at all.

With just over a fortnight to go, the dominant emotion is now panic; a sort of all-consuming panic, rather than one regarding any specific aspect of how the event might pan out. As it turns out, this is probably the best brand of panic as it affords you very little time to focus on any one of the myriad of issues that might derail you. 

I say that, but the past week saw a particular new issue thrown bluntly into the mix, one that I hadn’t previously considered: the climate. Up until last Thursday, I hadn’t really given much thought to it, what with our rather clement spring, but then on my way home from another hard day in the office, the heavens opened in spectacular fashion and I was engulfed in the heaviest rainfall I have ever seen in the UK. In saying this, I am aware that I make myself sound rather well-travelled. You, the reader, need not know that I am actually talking about a particularly aggressive shower in Magaluf in 2006, which actually turned out to be Dave from Runcorn relieving himself from the balcony above after one too many bottles of San Miguel. Anyway, I digress. This short but violent storm, which left me looking like the world’s least appealing wet t-shirt competition entrant, made me only too aware as to how monumentally tedious even moderately similar conditions would be during the event. I’m not even sure that rain, despite its obvious safety and hypothermia implications, would bother me as much as a howling gale. I hate a strong breeze, and, yes, I will keep using synonyms to avoid having to use a phrase such as “I hate wind” and avoid the sore temptation to make a juvenile gag that will inevitably follow.

The problem with this type of weather condition is that, in addition to my pre-existing concerns about my comparative cycling speed and general fitness, it has the ability to make even your best effort feel like you are cycling through a vat of molasses dragging an air conditioning unit along behind you. Of course, I’m not ignoring the fact that this will impact similarly on everyone, but I’m convinced that, whilst some competitors would relish the challenge and some would consider it but a minor irritant, I will be reduced to a speed where I am overtaken by not only the rest of the field, but also hares, tortoises and the rest of the cast of Aesop’s Fables. Fortunately, I count the rest of the bikebritain team amongst those who would meet the breeze head-on so, at the first sign of a zephyr, I might have to feel that ‘old football injury’ coming on for the sake of everyone concerned.

I jest of course, well at least I think I do, but in truth Goodwood Motor Circuit does not hold happy memories for me and I think it is having an impact on my disposition. Back in 2001 and fresh out of University with a nice shiny degree under my belt, the only logical thing for me to do was to spend the summer working as a Steward at sporting events large and small across the south-east of England. One of these was the ‘Festival of Speed’ at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. I am by no means a ‘petrol-head’ but I was very much looking forward to seeing the cast of classic motors and doing very little stewarding, as was the fashion. Imagine my delight, then, when I was shunted off to ensure no Johnny Commoners got in the VIP tent, some 300 yards away from the track. Somewhat disgruntled, I resolved to let anyone who cared to access the VIP facilities, only for that anarchy to be derailed when no-one actually wanted to come in, content as they were to watch the motor racing, of all things. I hope this isn’t a precedent for my trips to the venue though why it would be, I’m not entirely sure. I think I’m just looking for an explanation for my need to complain or worry about almost everything.

I might mention cycling before I go. My trusty steed returned from the complimentary service that was one the perks of emptying my bank account yesterday and it seems that having me astride it for much of the past eight weeks has done it no serious harm. Good news this may be, but it may not be the case for long as I have pencilled in some serious miles this weekend (please note that your perception of “serious miles” may differ from mine) after a fairly unconstructive weekend just past. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, in reference to an athletic mutual friend of ours (and a contributor to this site), somebody asked me this week if I had been training “like an Emma”, to which I had to reply “not unless Emma drank nine pints at the cricket on Friday”. Hmmm... perhaps the only thing I should be complaining or worrying about is, well, me.

Words - Lukey

Thumbnail Image - RIDE24

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