2017 is the new 2015…..

January 13, 2017, 12:12 pm

So, after taking a year off the cycling in 2016, Michael has managed to convince me (and Neil) that doing the Tour de Force again would be a good idea.  What else am I going to do?  I can only worship at the altar of Rafa Benitez every other week, and the football season finishes in May, plenty of time to train for it.  Properly this time, obviously.  Last time, let’s just say it was blagged to an extent. Memories of the sweeper van stalking me on Alpe d’Huez still haunt me.


Embarrassingly, except for two Great North Run training rides, the road bike didn’t actually hit the road from the day I stepped off it in Paris on Sunday 19 July 2015 until Saturday 7 January 2017.  Quite a decent rest.  And quite a decent increase in weight.  Reckon I put on over 1.5 stone in that time.  An Achilles injury didn’t help, but still, not cool.


Anyway, in the knowledge I would be hitting the training hard in the New Year, I was very well behaved over the festive period – haven’t touched a (proper) booze since Xmas day.  I watched quite a lot of the PDC darts; realising that Michael van Gerwen could quite easily be mistaken for me (less the beard) both in terms of darts prowess and physique, I was in no doubt that the first week back to work after New Year, I’d be on it, training and eating much healthier.


And you know what.  I’ve done just that.  It’s taken some time to turn the oil tanker that is my weight around, but it’s now going in the right direction, the turbo trainer sessions have been getting nailed, I haven’t been tempted to go and see Mrs Gill at the local chip shop (for CHIPS, before anyone says anything…) and I’ve been out on my bike.  Actually out of the house.  On the road.  In the fresh air.  On my bike.  What a hero I am. Well done Barry.


So, to the first ride of the year. Knocked up a cheeky route on Strava, just over 50 miles, Dunston to Bolam Lake and back. Not the hilliest of routes, but should be a decent barometer of where I’m at.


Up early on Saturday morning, new helmet on, new overshoes on (the best invention ever by the way) and away I went. A damp day, but pretty calm. Along the quayside, along Scotswood Road. And then a sharp right on the Walbottle road climb. Yeah, I remember now, the gradient, the heart rate, the burn in the legs. The gears get flicked, 23….25….28…..32? 32? 32?! The messing around I had been doing with the front derailleur and cable tension meant I had left my beloved dinner plate behind! Not to worry though, I trundled around, endurance pace. But definitely felt it on the way back into Ponteland, maybe 10 miles too far for the first one.  The whole point was that I enjoyed it. I’m slower than I have been, but some residual endurance remains.


The thing about cycling though is that you have to factor in a bike clean down after a ride, especially in the winter. Whilst it might seem like a nightmare, it is critical otherwise the faithful Cube will turn into Trigger’s Broom before long, at a hefty expense.


Then to cap off a delightful little week of training, I managed to fully index the gears on the bike. All 22 of them. Running like a dream. Random people on YouTube, I thank you. One day I’ll return the favour and show you how to complete the best tax return ever.


Check back in for more riveting blogs throughout the year.  I’m just off to the doctors to see what TUEs I can get away with.


The Quest to Become the Knightside Chris Froome has commenced…..

  • January 13, 2017, 12:12 pm
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On the 24th June 2017, the Tour de Force riders will start cycling from Dusseldorf. Whether cycling two or more days, this is a heroic undertaking. It will hurt!