It’s all too much

My abiding memory of this Vuelta (yes, I know it’s not yet finished) will be Igor Anton’s bloodied, brave, little soldier face, waving good bye to us all, with his left hand, from the passenger seat of his DS’s car, as he’s driven away from what might have been his first Grand Tour win. Having hit a pot-hole at high speed, he broke his right elbow, took out a team mate (Egoi Martinez – dislocated shoulder), shredded the red leader’s jersey and large parts of his own skin. He was mightily handily placed and who knows what might have been, but you need luck to win a Grand Tour.

This past week end was a veritable cycling fest with GPs in Quebec (Voeckler) and Montreal (Gesink), Paris-Brussels (Ventoso), GP des Fourmies (Feillu), the end of the Tour de l’Avenir (Quintana) and the start of the Tour of Great Britain. A trip to Italy over the week end meant that I’ve seen very little of any of this cycling, but a girl can have too much of a good thing.

OGCN continue to defy the odds with a home  win against a lacklustre Bordeaux; not the team they were last season with Blanc at the helm and Gourcuff up front. AVFC meanwhile continued to confound by conceeding a goal in the final minute of their away game at Stoke to lose 2-1. Their best player tellingly was the goalkeeper, Brad Friedel.

What of my own training I hear you ask. Well, mindful of my forthcoming trip to Australia, my cycling coach has introduced running and gym work into the weekly mix along with some interval sprint training on the bike. We rode together last week and he had me sprinting in the drops, not something I’ve ever done before. Initially, I felt as if I’d lost control of the handlebars but soon got the hang of it. It certainly gives you a more dynamic position on the bike and, looking at the stats afterwards, I did ride faster.

Friday was my first “running” session. I use the term guardedly as I’m not sure the speed at which I travel qualifies as running. I had surprisingly sore shins the following day which have fortunately now abated and which didn’t recur after my run on Tuesday.

I rode with my beloved on both Saturday and Sunday. The weather is still glorious, although a little fresh first thing, and you’re starting to need to put on a light jacket when descending from the higher hills, like Col de Vence. It’s slowly cooling down but the wild life it still active, particularly the mosquitos and horseflies, whose desire to taste me is undiminished.

The run up to my departure for Melbourne is typically hectic. I’m juggling way too many things at the moment (huge “to do” list) and am praying I  manage to get them all done before I leave, otherwise I’ll still be dealing with them in Melbourne.

Twinkle, twinkle

Gratifyingly good performances from both England and France yesterday evening as they look to distance the disappointment of the World Cup in South Africa. For Capello it is business as usual, though injuries have prompted (forced) him to give opportunities to some promising players, notably Adam Johnson. Revelations about Wayne Rooney’s off field escapades have fortunately not affected his on-field form, quite the opposite. However, is it only me who thinks Capello might be better off leaving Lampard on the side-lines?  After two resounding wins, England top their Group.

Laurent Blanc has a much harder task with his “blanc piece of paper” but the signs are promising and, once many of his players return from injury and/or suspension, expect more score-lines like yesterday evening. Help may be at hand as I understand that Zinadine Zidane’s eldest is playing for Real Madrid’s youth squad. He’ll be 17 come the European Cup in 2012.

There may soon be a Gallic flavour at Villa Park. Rumour has it that Gerard Houllier is mulling over an offer to step into Martin O’Neill’s shoes. They have a potential banana skin away at Stoke this Sunday, after riding their luck to most recently scrape past Everton. They’ve been a bit of a curate’s egg and, with no additions to the squad following the sale of James Milner, will quickly need to bring on some of their promising youngsters.

OGCN are also playing on Sunday, when they’ll be home to Bordeaux now bereft of my favourite French player Yoann Gourcuff who’s hightailed it to Lyon. However, the first installment from the sale of Loic Remy has finally arrived into the OGCN coffers, allowing them to balance (cook?) the books. Nonetheless, OGCN have done their usual last minute shopping in football’s equivalent of Filene’s basement. Let’s hope they have unearthed some gems.

Cold, colder, coldest

A week or so ago I had a dramatic spike in viewing figures. Nearly 300 people viewed my site over two days, rather than the usual 1-12.  At first I couldn’t figure out why. Evidently, one of my posts “Hot, hotter, hottest” had a similar title to a new site which features hot looking, scantily dressed  ladies performing certain acts. In fact, the sort of site where you might find a Cherry Whipley!

Now, I am generally very careful both with the content and titles. In fact when we were first discussing appropriate titles for the site some wit came up with ” No Panties Required”. It’s true that one doesn’t require underwear on a bike, nothing should come between you and your pad. But I did feel that it was a tad inappropriate and many viewers might come away sadly disappointed, despite the plethora of lycra clad lovelies, that there was nothing more scintillating than the cycling adventures of a middle-aged woman.

This week has been very cold, rarely reaching 10 degrees C at midday. However, by muffling myself up like Michelin Man, I’ve managed a couple of hours on the bike most days. Yesterday, however, we awoke to a winter wonderland and icy roads. Time for the hometrainer to put in an appearance.

Today’s pointage is over at Roquebrune Cap Martin but as the roads will be  icy until well into the morning, we’re going to pass on this one. Additionally, I’ve got a sore throat and impending head cold. Just what a girl wants for Xmas. I spent most of yesterday curled up on the sofa, under a throw, trying to stay warm and sinking plenty of hot lemon with honey and even a wee dram of whisky – my sure fire cure for a cold. Indeed, I’m feeling much improved this morning.

My boys in claret and blue are still hogging a Champion’s League spot after beating Stoke 1-0 at home yesterday, I think it’s fair to say they rode their luck but got the desired result. Meanwhile, OGCN stopped the rot with an away draw at Grenoble.