Monday, 4 January 2010

Enter the Dragon

Day four of the intensive training regime sees me no nearer to actually sitting on the bike or pedalling. Although as this shot proves, I've succeeded in getting the trainer tyre on.

I have also taken the bold step of entering the Dragon Ride, a 190-km schlep through the hills and valleys of south Wales. According to the organisers and one or two tour operators who run packages for La Marmotte, this is a good sportive to get under your belt before the big day as the climbs are of a similar gradient (but not length) to those you'll be tackling in the Alps.

For a giggle, I did the 130km route last year, although not as part of the ride itself. The climbs seemed to go on forever. Grind after grind of relentless pedal turning and seemingly getting no nearer the top. On the last ascent - an approach from the west of The Bwlch - I honestly thought I was going to have to get off and walk. That I didn't says more about my misplaced masculine pride than it does about any particular cycling prowess.

But according to my cycling mate, that's just the kind of spirit you need to get yourself over the big continental climbs. That and considerably bigger thighs, I expect.

And it's the latter that's bothering me. I've been too ill to begin any kind of training, haven't touched a bike in well over a month and fear I've lost all the muscle I built up over the summer and autumn. No amount of reading cycling magazines, poring over websites vending expensive and lightweight bikes or entering long rides is going to get me to the finish line in July in one piece. As Robert Millar was once quoted as saying: "You don't get big legs by watching television." As well as having a slight cold, I expect I'm still mentally on my Christmas break.

I'd love to report that my diet, at least, is something approaching on the right track, but it's not. Mince pies are still a staple, as is that huge block of Stilton I bought before Christmas and have barely even made a dent in.

Worryingly, Enter The Dragon is also known as the Deadly Three. It's entirely possible the trio of peaks I've to scale in France may prove as liable to kill unless I start bucking my ideas up pronto.


  1. We're all behind you, kets.

    In a car.

    Eating Greggs.