Sunday, 2 June 2013

Training Diary 1.

It didn't get easier, and I didn't go faster.

There's a girl I used to work with and deeply loathed - to protect the innocent we shall call her Mucy. First Monday at work and I try to strike up a conversation.

Did you do anything nice at the weekend?
Just a bit of training.
Ooh, what are you training for?
Nothing…. I’m just, you know *looks me up and down*, training. *flicks hair, flounces off*
So you went to the gym then?

I'm a bit confused by her use of 'training' in this context - to describe activity done without purpose.  To my mind, training is and always has been a means to an end, not the end itself.  However, here I find myself, end-less, about to become a trainee without a cause, unless you can stretch the term 'cause' to cover 'being a bit less wobbly in the central region and able to go up 3 flights of stairs without hacking up a lung', and I've tried and I can't.

I'm actually feeling quite motivated and suddenly it all seems so easy.  Dig myself out of bed.  Dig my kit out of one of the still-unsorted piles from the move that are dumped in the spare room, roughly divided into 'my shit', 'your shit', 'kids shit', 'miscellaneous shit', and 'do we really need this shit'.  Insert one in to the other.  Find the helmet and glasses, that I'm sure I've seen around here somewhere.  Dig the bike out of the ManCave.  Take a deep breath, and get out and ride said bike a bit.  Bingo bango.  Hell I might even enjoy it, who knows.

I start by examining the bike.  Stacked in the ManCave, my bike has been woefully neglected, and partially cannibalised by the bigger bikes.  When I get to her she's basically up on bricks - the cyclist having 'borrowed' her inner tubes for spares.  Supportive of my mission, the cyclist untangles the hosepipe which has snaked itself around her, replaces all items removed, and cleans and mechanics the shit out of her for me.  She sparkles.  'Come on then chubby, let's get you some thighs to die for', she whispers.

I've decided to do this stealth-style, weekend morning, crack of dawn, while the rest of the world sleeps.  My public excuse is the avoidance of traffic, my deep dark personal one is the avoidance of being seen.  However, somehow word must have got out, as 6AM on a weekend in a sleepy backwater middle-of-nowhere and you can't bloody move for cyclists and runners and ramblers and campers and farmers and cheery opportunist thieves, and I may as well have sold tickets to my debut performance as I self consciously shuffle down the lane and onto the road.

I blame the movies.  Training is reduced to a 90-second montage with a pumping and uplifting 80’s power-soundtrack.  By the key-change, our hero has a fetching sweat-V and is taking the steps three at a time, ready to show Dolph Lundgren who's boss.  That is not quite how this played out.

300 yards up the road I have swallowed my first fly.  600, and my legs burn and my saddle (bum) is uncomfortable (killing me).  3 miles in I am hunched over the handlebars, contemplating toppling on to the grass verge at the side of the road to await the sweet embrace of death, sobbing the only two lines of 'Eye of the Tiger’ anyone actually knows over and over and over again, when the local geriatric club run pootles past me.  These guys have an average age of about 400, and aren't even breaking a sweat.  They don’t even bother to get out of earshot before they start to piss themselves laughing at my expense. One of them is shaking so hard he actually has to unclip a foot to maintain his balance.  The utter bastard.

'That’s not very friendly and inclusive' I try to shout after them, but it comes out a bit like a squeak and a cough, and they laugh harder.  One day, I swear to myself, shakily taking a hand off the bars to wipe the snot from my chin with the back of my hand, one day I will ride these old men down and fuck them up.

My resolve is completely galvanised by this experience.  My legs actually start to shift of their own accord.  It might not be nice, it might not be worthy, but my training may have just discovered itself a purpose after all - the vengeful and complete destruction, nay annihilation, of this band of evil old men.  The iPod in my head shuffles.  Sod the 'Eye of the Tiger', this training montage has itself a new theme tune. 

“I’m gonna knock you OUT [HUUUUUH].
Mama said KNOCK you OUT [HUUUUUH]….”

To be continued…..


  1. I found your blog when I googled "cycling wives" to try to find someone to sympathize with me...It led me to your three-part series about being married to a roadie on Wheel Suckers, which made me laugh til I bawled like a baby. (I'm partnered with a mountain biker/cyclo-crosser, so I can only partially relate, but I have definitely pretended to wash bibs on "delicate". How the hell can "delicate" be expected to remove sweat/blood/mud/chamois cream?!) You're my new hero. Thanks for a great read.

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment Nicoya, so glad you enjoyed reading the blog! No matter what they ride, us Domestiques need to stick together! "Yeah babe, it's DEFINITELY on delicates" *boil wash* :)