Most people measure their age in years.
Each time they successfully navigate another twelve months on planet earth they pretend not to care about birthdays, tell people “you shouldn’t have”, and then quietly seethe when they don’t get showered with gifts.
It’s a well-established system.
But some of us long since stopped caring about calendar years and committed to measuring our existence in Tour de France; factually speaking, very similar to a calendar year, but symbolically, very different.
I find my early school days difficult to pin down without reference to the squabbling rivalry between Bernard Hinaut and Laurent Fignon; even as an eight year old I instinctively understood that the aloof French-ness of Fignon was preferable to the brutal Breton brow of Hinault.
Rather than recall my time as a university student through a haze of cheap lager and dried pasta from the packet, to me they will always be the Indurain years.
And twenty-twelve is not the year I got married, but the year Wiggins won le Tour.
Some may think this obsessive and narrow minded, to which my answer would be: “that’s all very interesting, but where do you place Contador in the pantheon of Tour winners?”
As another Tour de France looms on the horizon I find myself wondering whether this will finally be the year when my work colleagues club together and present me with a TDF themed cake in the office.
A cake which I will then extravagantly refuse to eat because, as the office cyclist, it is my role to deny myself calories in a dramatic and flamboyant fashion, whilst stoically fielding jokes about skin-tight clothing and drugs.
I also wonder how I will remember this year – the year of Our Lord the 104th Tour de France?
Will it be the year when Ritchie Porte finally caves in to media pressure, decides to ditch his usual tactic of losing nine minutes on a crucial stage in the most elaborate method available, and wins a three-week Grand Tour?
Will Nairo Quintana attempt the tricky multi-task of riding a bike whilst simultaneously doing a facial expression?
Might we witness the first French winner since the 1980’s in the shape of Romain Bardet?
Nah…Froome’ll probably win again.
(Image: By BaldBoris (talk) – File:Tour de France 2015 map-fr.svg by Sémhur under licence FreeArt or CC-BY-SA 4.0, FAL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54222136)