Any one who joined me on our recent tour of Umbria will know that my physique doesn’t quite suit the cycling lycra look. That’s a shame, because over the years I’ve collected some nice ‘maillots’, or ‘maglia’ (cycling jerseys).
There’s the local shirt from Asciano which Howard Taylor and I christened ‘Racing Club Asciano’ back in 2005 – I’ve no idea what it actually says on the shirt, but to me it’s my ‘Racing Club Asciano’ shirt. My favourite is probably the Italian national jersey as worn by Paulo Bettini in the last World Championship – Doug De Jonge bought one on the Umbria trip, but it fits him so it’s not the same thing.
I’ve got a beautiful pink leaders jersey from the Giro d’Italia (the Maglia Rosa), a gift from Cycling Plus magazine, and a Tour de France Yellow Jersey. Of course, I would never wear either of them, it would be too disrespectful. If Raymond Poulidor never got to wear the Yellow Jersey even for a day, then who am I? (see blog notes passim). But it would be nice if the issue wasn’t entirely academic. i.e. I can’t get them on anyway, so my respectful stance is a bit moot.
There’s my Chianti Classico shirt which was a gift from Tanya Holodny (which I can just about get away with and wore yesterday), and of course my treasured Eastbourne Rovers shirt, which I can no longer get into. In fact the only cycling shirt I can currently wear, besides the Chianti one, is the horrible yellow and green nonsense from the Dartmoor Classic.
I recently heard Meatloaf interviewed on the radio, and I was astonished to hear a listener had emailed the station to thank Meatloaf for his diet advice in some book he wrote. Meatloaf said “That’s my ‘Just Put Your Fork Down’ diet.” I tried a bit of the Meatloaf diet in Italy. In conjunction with cycling and a short bout of illness the following week, I managed to lose quite a few pounds. The advantage is, of course, you still eat what you like, but some time during dinner you just put your fork down.
So, it’s the way of the Meatloaf for me from now on. And I can measure my success by which shirts I can wear. Here are the milestones in order.
1. The Italian National Jersey
2. Eastbourne Rovers
3. Long-sleeved Italian jersey that Robyn Drake made me buy.
(But if I ever get into that I’ll be writing diet books for a living!).