Making the best of it

Technology is a wonderful thing allowing us to do more with less, or in less time. However, when it doesn’t work or doesn’t work well, it’s a bit like that little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead. You get my drift. I now, at long last, have a functioning internet connection and  have managed to get the printer to print, although not to fax or scan. A number of the bells and whistles which were put in place by our own engineer have gone by the wayside and will have to be reintroduced next week, along with sorting out my beloved’s laptop and notepad. But, for now at least, I’m back on line.

As a consequence, over the past few busy days of month end, everything has taken much longer than usual. In addition, I have been keen to profit from the last few dry days and have been out conscientiously logging the kilometres. I am facing almost a week riding the home trainer, jogging along the sea front and working out in the gym in lieu of my usual rides. Now, of course, you can ride in the rain; particularly once the rain has washed away the surface diesel. However, I don’t enjoy it and am not keen to catch another cold so soon after dispatching the last one.

My cycling coach has suggested attending one of his bootcamps, led by the gorgeous Greg, in Nice on Monday. I may just do that if the rain persists as forecast for the next six days. Working out on my own in the gym tends to get boring, as does the home trainer, after an hour or so. I also have the additional challenge of my beloved who will be home all next week and, after a long business trip, will be anxious to get out on the bikes. We may just default to the mountain bikes.

The last couple of days have had a Tour-like air about them: rolling road closures, police outriders, helicopters buzzing overhead and policemen stationed on every motorway entrance, exit and bridge. Of course, it’s not the Tour. The extra 12,000 plods are here to protect the G20 leaders and their not inconsiderable entourages. If you want to know where they are staying, and how they’ll be spending their days, the local newspaper has thoughtfully provided all of the vital details. Of course, this could be one huge smokescreen to thwart any potential troublemakers. Here, I’m thinking of Greeks rather than members of Al Khaida.

The Obama’s allegedly wanted to set up camp in the Eden Roc Hotel at Cap d’Antibes. Who wouldn’t? But sadly for them the hotel gets mothballed from the end of October until the beginning of April. So they’ve had to make do with just a 5* luxury hotel. As you might imagine, none of the countries Heads of State are staying anywhere other than the big named, luxury hotels in Cannes. Mind you, if the Greeks were here, they might have been expected to book into one of the budget hotels: an Ibis or Kyriad. Just like the Tour riders.

Friday postscript: According to the Nice Matin the American delegation numbers 800, including 150 secret service agents and 6 doctors. Wouldn’t like to be picking up that hotel bill.

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.