Winter fare

It seems to me that every time I venture outdoors, I’m wearing more and more layers. We could well be in for a similarly cold, or even colder, winter to last year. That’s not a complaint, merely an observation. However, I’ll probably have to stop saying that the day-time temperature here rarely falls below 10 degrees in the winter.

While yesterday’s weather threatened rain, the sunshine’s back today although I doubt the temperature will exceed or even equal 10 degrees. The snow has been falling not just on the mountains, but also in the hills close to the coast giving the wind a really wintery chill. The ski resorts are opening this week end and further snow falls are forecast. Now, where did I put my cross-country ski gear?  

I have good circulation, or so I’m told. My hands and feet are usually as warm as toast, and I only ever wear gloves when cycling, more to protect my hands should I kiss the tarmac than to ward off the cold. But, while I waited for my cycling coach yesterday, my hands felt as chilled as the rest of me. I love my new 3/4 Rapha bib-shorts but, on my return from New York, may be faced with the prospect of struggling into my full-length Assos tights which are loose everywhere but the calves.

I rode with my beloved on Tuesday, before he left for Paris. En route we met up with a small group of clubmates. I grabbed their wheels and clung on for dear life. Try as they might to dislodge me, I was having none of it. Winning, finally, their respect as we cycled together in a fast pace line along the coast road. I have noticed that I can much more easily close gaps in the peloton thanks to the interval sprint training I’ve done over the past 9 months or so.

I was feeling similarly strong when I rode yesterday. I managed to dissuade my coach from cycling up into the hills, as I now find the descents far too cold. Instead we rode around the Cap and indulged in one of my favourite pastimes (on the bike) – sprint training. Unfortunately, he’s promised (or was that a threat?) next month’s training together will involve assessing the progress I’ve made in improving my pedalling technique. Thank goodness he’s given me a heads up. 

I’m trying to sort out all of my paperwork before I leave tomorrow for New York. As a consequence, next week, I’ll miss club night. While most members have renewed their licences there’s still a few delinquents and each week brings us more new members. I have prepared a detailed file with complete instructions on the entire process, but you know that old saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink….”  So whenever I go away, there’s always a few problems to sort out on my return. It also means I’ll miss my English class next week, but the poor souls have been given work to complete in my absence. Slacking is not permitted in my classes.

On my return, the club is hosting the Telethon Cyclosportif which annually raises funds for good causes. The Telethon’s the French equivalent of  the BBC’s “Children in Need”. I have promised a few of my cakes to supplement the shop bought ones. I’ll make these today and then pop them in the freezer for my return. It’s a great way of using up left-overs in the fridge and fruit bowl. I’m going to make a couple of banana cakes, a carrot cake, a trio of savoury cakes and, of course, some of my (in)famous pain d’epices. That should keep the troops happy.

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