I should be there

It’s been the same story for the past three Giro’s, I make plans to go and watch a stage and pressure of work, more specifically La Kivilev, means they’re cancelled at the last moment. The Giro arrived into the Italian Riviera yesterday afternoon which for me always conjures up pictures of chic Italians in Riva boats. It looked so lovely on the television and I kept thinking, I should be there. My plan had been to watch yesterday’s stage finish into Sestri Levante and watch it depart today from Savonna. I would, of course, have taken my bike and had a bit of a ride around too.

However, as I’m responsible for providing once again a large proportion of the food for this evening’s BBQ for the Kivilev’s volunteers, my plans were snuffed out fairly early on. Next year, I keep telling myself, will be different. While I’m not doing anything overly complicated for this evening, it is acting as a dry run for next week. I’ve made the carrot and tabbouleh salads for the 40 attendees this evening which has given me a good idea of the time it’ll take to do the same next week, albeit for 175. I had hoped to do a lot in advance however space is an issue, specifically space in the fridges. So most will have to be done the night before. Last year I recall that I stayed up all night cooking, I’m not expecting this year to be any different.

I’ve made a rich, crumbly almond cake to serve with my vinegar glazed strawberries this evening. Spanish strawberries are cheap at the moment and tasteless. I enrobe them in a balsamic vinegar caramel which really brings out the taste. I’m not proposing to do this next week at La Kivilev, no they’ll be having spiced rice pudding and a piece of my (in)famous pain d’epice for dessert.

In addition to the cooking, I’ve also got to purchase all the food for this evening. We keep the BBQ simple: sausages and chicken. Fortunately, someone else has kindly offered to cook these. My beloved did it last year but he’s still in the UK and therefore unavailable this evening. Obviously having him absent does make my workload easier.

One of my biggest issues is trying to calculate who’ll turn up this evening. We’ve reckoned on 40. However, it’s less of an issue as whatever’s left over can happily be popped into the freezer. Though it’s rare that there’s much more than crumbs after these events. I’m constantly amazed at my clubmates ability to consume what is essentially free food. I’m beginning to suspect that they starve themselves beforehand so as to maximise the benefit. Most of them are only 60kg when wet!

I’m obviously a glutton for punishment as I’ve also offered to cook for the dozen or so volunteers next Friday. In year’s past we’ve ordered salads and pizzas which take an age to arrive and are rarely appetizing. In the interests of economy, I’m going to prepare lunch for a fraction of the cost: tortilla with two different salads  – coleslaw and tomato – followed by dessert. Haven’t yet decided what to do for dessert, probably some cake and cookies to have with coffee.

It might sound as if I’m having a bit of a moan but in truth I like cooking for large numbers. Indeed, I enjoy the logistical challenge and, as ever, it really is all about planning and preparation.

So much to do, so little time

I know, I know it’s been a while since I last posted anything but in my defence I have been quite busy. With under three weeks to go until La Kivilev, things are gathering pace. I must confess that I’m going to breathe a huge sigh of relief once it’s over and go away for a few days, but more of that later.

The MotoGP season has restarted and while I’ve managed to watch all of the races not all of them have been live. Thank goodness for Eurosport’s endless repeats of sporting events. The football season is almost at an end with barely a comment from me. All I can say is that it looks as if both my clubs will live to fight another season in their respective top leagues. It’s been a season of struggling to survive with the odd flash, nothing more, of brilliance. Bayern play Chelsea at Bayern in the Champions League final – bet no one saw that one coming – and then it’s all over for a week or so until Euro 2012. It’s going to be a bumper sporting summer, but will I have the necessary stamina to survive?

I’m finding it hard to enthuse about London 2012 which sounds as if it’s going to be a logistical nightmare. Now that they’re going to charge spectators to watch the road races from Boxhill and the time-trial in Hampton Court, I’ve decided that this is one live event I can and will do without. I’ll be watching the Olympics from the comfort of my lounge, including the cycling.

I’ve attended another Triathlon, purely as an exhibitor you understand, just thinking about attempting one is enough to leave me fatigued. I’d be happy to do the cycle but I’d never manage the swim with my floundering doggy paddle. I was helping out my friends on their premium clothing stand (www.g4dimension.com) and it’s always interesting to meet a different sporting crowd. TriStar Cannes featured rather shorter events and therefore attracted a rather different crowd from last year’s Ironman event –  less international and less hardcore. Still plenty of tattoos though. It was nice to see the fruit of some of my recent labours as I’d done all the translation work for their re-launched website and new product catalogue.

I may also be doing a stint as a surrogate parent to two teenage boys. Their parents are looking for some quality time together and I’ve volunteered. It’ll be an enjoyable 10 days or so and anyone who knows me well will know that they’ll be no match for me. That’s right, they’ll be returning to their parents happy, but exhausted, after a few days with Auntie Sheree.

An old friend came for a visit last week and it was good to spend some quality time with her and do some much-neglected sightseeing. Yes, my reintroduction of one day a week visiting different towns and places very quickly went by the wayside. I keep thinking, next year, after I’m no longer slaving for the club. As you might imagine, the list of things I’m going to do “next year” is growing exponentially.

I’m back on my bike and training for this week end’s la Vencoise which goes up and over my favourite hill, the Col de Vence, in both directions. I’ve been adding a few longer rides, plus more climbs, to my weekly rides as we head relentlessly towards summer and the possibility of rides up some of the longer local hills. Would you believe I’ve still to climb the Col du Turini! We’ve got the Kivilev ride for the volunteers this week but I’m going to have to dip out – lack of time.

Of course, May’s main event is the Giro and over at VeloVoices we’re having a swell time in pink. I watched, tweeted and commented on yesterday’s stage – the team time-trial in Verona – all the while thinking I should have been there. Yes, the Giro is yet another one for my “next year” list. Yesterday’s stage was doubly disappointing as it would have given me an opportunity to catch up with friends who live close to Verona, a city I’ve yet to visit. The Giro’s start in Savona next Friday was another on my list but is currently under threat from the advancing work load.

Of course, VeloVoices is one of the reasons why I haven’t written so much on the blog in recent months. I’m pouring my energies into that and frankly while it’s very enjoyable it’s also very time-consuming. How my fellow writers manage to produce so much copy while holding down full-time jobs and families just amazes me until I realise I actually have a full-time job too and one very large baby to look after – my beloved.