Last weekend I got a bit of a shock. My cycling mate Andy, recently appointed as the Bike Doctor by Devon County Council, has signed us both up for the Dartmoor Challenge in May. As part of our preparation, Dr. Bike arranged a training ride with a colleague of his (from his proper job as a scientist with the Environment Agency).
John cycles an enormous amount – he rides a 40 mile return journey to work and back every day, rain or shine, enters time trials and isn’t yet 40. So basically he’s a cheat. Because he’s such a strong cyclist we’ve named him after the legendary Eddy Merckx, whose nickname, of course, was ‘The Cannibal’.
At the last minute I asked my brother Mike if he wanted to join us. Dr Bike was Mike’s Best Man (although he actually asked me first, though subsequently denied it!), and his nickname for Mike is Bob the Builder because Mike is the best DIY man you will ever meet.
So, me, Dr Bike (DB, BSc), Bob the Builder and The Cannibal. A gentle ride of about 40 miles or so, with some good hills thrown in.
Strewth! Things didn’t go as planned. Lance told us in the title of his book that ‘Its Not About The Bike‘, and we certainly proved that.
Despite the help of my glamorous assistant, my new Trek Madone, I was left looking fat and 46 on the vicious assent of Clifford Bridge Hill. We had to climb over 1,000 feet on an unadopted road covered in debris from a storm the previous night.
My wheels were slipping everywhere, which is always a worry when you’re wearing cleats, but I straggled to the summit toute seule (well, with my trusty pal Dr Bike Db BSc) to find Bob and The Cannibal admiring the view at the top. Devastating.
Mike claimed to be tired all the way home, but mostly I couldn’t hear him as I was so far behind. He didn’t seem that bloody tired to me, and I’m not sure we’ll invite him next time if he’s going to make us look stupid!
Perhaps a more constructive attitude might be to shape up a little bit and do a bit of training.