real life cycling

Tick follows tock follows tick…

The clock is ticking. It’s a clock of my own making, but a clock nonetheless.

It will count down until late April before going off; a massive klaxon will signal the moment. I could be on my bike at the time. Grunting and sweating up some Italian hill. The hill will be pretty, they often are in Italy, the sight of me perhaps not.

The klaxon will signal the moment when I discover whether I have enough miles in my legs, and training under my belt, because so far, in 2019, I am…ahem, light on miles.

To say the least.

I have my reasons; I wrote a book which, it turns out, takes quite a while, and I also have a family, a job, and a Eurosport subscription. Divide this by my traditional kitten-weak winter chest and multiply by the weather in the north of England, et voila…

My calf muscles lack the desired definition and my aerobic capacity is that of a sedentary forty-two year old. As of right now I have eight weeks before flying out to Italy to ride a couple of Gran Fondos (plural Gran Fondi?), from which I will return to the UK to ride the Fred Whitton Challenge*.

I must get in shape.

It’s possible, of course, that Brexit might save me.

Post-29th March my freshly restricted movement within Europe and the invalidity of my passport might render any ambitions of Italian Gran Fondos moot. The Fred Whitton challenge is in the UK, of course, but it’s in Cumbria, and they haven’t even begun to entangle the obstacles to a frictionless Lancashire-Cumbria border.

This could yet put paid to the Fred.

However, I daren’t rely on the possibility of a no deal Brexit to bail me out. I need miles and hills, and I need them quickly, unless…


In the spirit of Brexit, and the eagerness of the Brexiteers to forge new and exciting trading arrangements beyond the EU, perhaps I could go online and do the same?

I could head for the dark web** and forge a new and exciting trading arrangement with an elicit supplier of unregulated EPO, or counterfeit testosterone patches. This could be my fast track to early season bike fitness.

Do they drug test at Gran Fondos?

I’m joking.

Eight weeks is plenty if I start now. The book is finished, I can practice the early-dart from work, and my family will understand. The last thing they want to see is me, crying, and pushing my bike up Hardknott Pass come May.

And the Eurosport subscription?

Hmm. This one is the problem.

April and May means spring classics. Possibly the most entertaining eight weeks of the pro cycling season. The sole reason I have the Eurosport subscription in the first place. Yes, I need to get in shape, but can I really afford to miss the sight of another Tiesj Benoot at Strade Bianchi or Philippe Gilbert at the Tour of Flanders?

No, is the honest answer to that.

This could go to the wire.

Keep an ear out for the Klaxon in April.

*Fancy a hard day on the bike? This is an absolute bastard.

**Just to be clear, my knowledge of the dark web extends to the phrase “the dark web.”  Even the thought of it scares me.

(Image: via

4 comments on “Tick follows tock follows tick…

  1. This gave me a good early morning chuckle. Many thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eurosport whilst on the Turbo Trainer?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, that’s the solution. Just think, watch each race in its entirety while spinning in Zone 1 on the trainer – base miles for DAYS! Add two 1-hour HIIT sessions during the week and you’ll be crushing it in the Fondi.

      Liked by 1 person

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