Fleeting form

We’ve reached that time of year when those in the professional peloton are taking a well earned rest, picking up awards and looking forward to next season, some with new teams. Sadly a number are still seeking gainful employment for 2012, while others have hung up their helmets for good. All this means cycling coverage in L’Equipe is limited to a couple of columns each day.

After Tuesday’s deluge, the weather gods have been kind and I’ve been out enjoying the warm temperatures, following my training programme and overtaking plenty of tourists on two wheels. Somewhat bizarrely after spending weeks battling with a cold, and it’s after effects, I appear to have hit the form of my life just as the cyclo-cross season gets underway. This week I have posted some of my “fastest ever” times on some of my regular routes. Even my beloved has noticed as I’m managing to stay closer to his wheel on climbs where he often puts a couple of hundred metres into me.

Yesterday, I practised time-trialling along the coast road where, a few years ago, I had my first sighting of a professional rider. It was Bobby Julich, then riding for CSC, who whooshed past me on his time-trial bike when I was doing 50kph in the car. I don’t have a time-trial bike, or any of the aerodynamic gizmos, just my trusty BMC. Nonetheless, the legs were pumping smoothly, I was rock steady on the bike and I was flying along. Largely, it has to be said, due to the strong tailwind. I didn’t go anywhere near as fast in the other direction, in fact I was around 10km/hr slower.

Having given my all, I retired to one of my regular watering holes for a late lunch. I was joined by a large number of the presidential guard who are billeted, along with their horses, at the nearby Hippodrome, ahead of next week’s G20 meeting in Cannes which Sarkozy will be hosting. Memo to self: avoid riding in the direction of Cannes next week where security will be tight and the traffic will be dreadful.

My beloved arrived back from a couple of days in Cairo this morning. I delayed setting out on my Sunday ride to pick him up from the airport and then we rode together. We were too late for the club pointage in Beaulieu and had intended to follow the route of the club ride, stopping to enjoy lunch in La Turbie. But, probably due to the sunny weather, traffic was heavy heading into Nice. We elected to ride in the opposite direction, along the coast, before heading back into the hills. The route included a 2km climb at 12% average: short and brutal. We had lunch at home as my beloved (for once) wasn’t feeling too hungry. He had stayed with friends in Cairo who had literally killed the fatted calf on his behalf.

My beloved is off on his travels again tomorrow, this time to UK and Germany until next Saturday evening. You understand that this is not a complaint, merely a statement of fact. While he’s away, I shall be busy. I’m keen to profit from the remaining fine weather as more rain is forecast for Wednesday. Already the hills around Nice are dusted with snow with more forecast this week. It looks as if we’re going to have yet another great skiing season.

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