You've lost your warranty, you'll never get your money back
My baby's buying me another life, getting nowhere fast.
So sang David Gedge of the Wedding Present more than 23 years ago, but little could he have known back then how prescient he was being about my current predicament. In short, I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere. Warning: this could get self-indulgent, so gloss over the next few paragraphs if you'd rather.
Training seems like one long, tedious drudge. And that's when I get the chance to train. I felt quite upbeat at the end of last week after the Kentish excursion, but in the seven short days since then, that optimism has evaporated. I've managed three hour-long turbo sessions since then and plan a two-hour one tonight, but I desperately need to get out for rides of four hours or more if I'm going to get the necessary miles in my legs. Unfortunately this weekend's weather report psyched me out of doing so. Relatively happy I didn't try yesterday having seen the filthy rain, but today would have been fine. Pleasant even. But the forecast said heavy showers, so I cowered indoors instead.
And it's not like I have bucketfuls of time to train. Full time job, two young kids and a missus who's just going back to work after an absence of several years mean my spare hours are about as rare as a clean Tour de France. With the race looming just over three months away, now's the time I should really be stepping up the mileage and hours rather than sitting here writing about it instead.
Then there's the knee, which has started playing up again after last week's ride. I broke my left leg when I was 15 by cycling into the back of a parked car at great speed. Wasn't looking where I was going, you see. Ever since, my left knee has felt dodgy in cold or wet weather and I swear I have one bow leg, which can't be any good for the poor patella. I'm beginning to wonder whether it'll hold out over the course of my training regime and, crucially, during the race.
Flat still hasn't sold either, so new bike purchase is as far away as it could possibly be. Still, it could be that I have the dubious cachet of having the oldest, heaviest bike in the race, so it'll be a terrific excuse if I fail to make the finish.
Which shouldn't matter too much, as the fundraising seems to have stagnated too. After a promising start, it's tailed off alarmingly (bit like the training, in fact) and I'm still a long way off reaching the target.
All of this, of course, is having a perfectly dreadful effect on the psyche, which is far from ideal and I'm sure a major contributor to the current malaise. Wading through treacle with snow-shoes is how it feels right now.
The weight doesn't seem to be shifting either, although one positive note is that it's not going up. And I appear to have added two centimetres to the thigh girth, which I'm taking as a good sign since there seem to be so few others.
I think I need a really good week to set me back on track. This will mean more cycle commuting to work, fewer fatty foods, longer turbo sessions, less knee pain, promising news on the flat front and, at the end of the week, a 60-plus mile ride in warm, sunny weather.