Through my twenties I had pizza classified as the ultimate convenience food. Not only does it make an excellent meal, it works beautifully as a snack food too. Between meals.
It’s worth noting that in my twenties my body resembled a resplendent steam train. Designed to rattle along majestically at a hundred miles an hour, just as long as someone was on hand to stoke its fires relentlessly with fuel. Pizza was designed beautifully for this job.
Now, at age forty, were I to follow my evening meal with a trip to the pub before a closing time take-away pizza for supper, my metabolism wouldn’t stand a chance. Neither would my cycling form. And most of my kit wouldn’t fit.
The solution, though, is not to stop eating pizza, because that’s just not realistic. The answer lies in close monitoring of the miles per pizza ratio – each one has to be earned. It also helps to factor this into any holiday plans, to avoid piling on the pounds and rendering your favourite race-cut cycling jersey redundant for reasons of taste and public decency.
On my recent trip to the French Alps, approximately 30 yards from the front door of my holiday accommodation was this:
So close, it was tricky to go for a bike ride and not ride up it. Follow the road onwards and it loops around for a handy 25 kilometre ride with around 750 metres of vertical ascent. Not an epic by any stretch but enough, pre-dinner, to earn a margherita.
Luckily, around 35 yards from the door was this:
This is take-away pizza a la small French Alpine village.
I’ve got nothing against the better known take-away pizza chains – apart from the fact that they are cheap, and nasty, and don’t pay their staff very well, obviously – but the lady who ran this little wooden Pizza Hut knocked spots off Dominos.
Give her forty minutes and she’ll produce top-notch pizza cooked lovingly in a wood fired oven that resembles an old family heirloom. She even demands that you speak French. You want pizza? You’ll have to work for it like everyone else.
I had my Garmin to hand, of course, just in case she needed proof that I’d already ridden the Col de l’Encrenaz and burned off the required calories.