Arse kicked. Bum smacked. Stem-licking. Gasping. Grovelling. Call it what you want; it’s a standard winter Wednesday evening and I’m off the pace.
I arrived at the summit of Jubilee Tower to find my fellow cyclists kicking back, forearms draped across bars, passing the time.
No longer out of breath.
Waiting for me.
Looks like I’ve ducked out of one too many winter cycling sessions. The mind knows exactly how to ride fast and what it feels like. It turns out, after four weeks of near inactivity, the legs didn’t get the memo. The lungs, too, seem surprised by this burst of activity.
I’ve been busy. The kids aren’t sleeping. I never ride well under a full moon. These are all things I nearly said. But what’s the point?
A 25 mile dash around the local lanes has assumed the status of a Queen Stage at a Grand Tour. For much of it I can make like Valverde and suck wheels. On the climbs I can only bow my head and suck it up.
I resolve not to vomit.
Never a good look.
And so the long drag to fitness has begun. And the silver lining?
I am now gagging to ride the bike. Desperate to feel quick and light again. Motivated, fired up, and fully prepared to refuse cake at every opportunity.
The comeback is on.