Cooke-ing with gas (and gelato)

So in the time that I’ve managed to go on holiday, get a tan and put on two kilos, cycling has been getting busy with doping busts, post-Tour criteriums and most importantly, The Beijing Olympics.

I caught all of the Men’s Road Race while in Italy but managed to miss the final stages of the Women’s Road Race due to having to check out of our hotel with around 19km left to go. We only discovered a cafe with the Olympics on as they were showing the medal ceremony. Which is how I missed Nicole Cooke’s storming performance to win. Thankfully these days I can rely on things like the BBC’s iPlayer to have the key moments.

Watch the closing moments of the Olympic Women’s Road Race 2008

I think all the superlatives available on the internet have now been used up, so I’m left with very little I can add at this stage. Oh actually, I can curse Nicole as I now have no excuse for not going out racing or training when it’s raining. Then again a few laps of Richmond Park or failing to score a point at Hillingdon are hardly a career pinnacle. But they’re exactly the sort of training that have made up part of the journey to the top.

Meanwhile I continue to work hard at doing too little to be competitive. My holiday training was quite masterful even by my standards: plenty of fresh seafood, pasta and pizza, all washed down with Tourtel and Moretti Zero (two of the excellent low/no alcohol beers available over there).

But most of all an unstinting commitment to Italian gelato. A count up of my regime over the ten days puts me at an average of between two and three helpings a day, in a wide range of flavours (Tiramasu, Panna Cotta, Frutti di Bosco to name a few) with a particular concentration on Limone and Limoncello. Net result of this is that I’ve put on at most a couple of kilogrammes pushing me over my standard marker of 75kg by some way.

We did do some riding on the world’s most uncomfortable hire bikes, including a few kilometres climbing up to Castellabate and a day spend going the wrong way round a hill in 35 degree plus sunshine. But mostly I have been paddling around in the sea trying not to sink and lying on the beach. Let’s see how that pans out at Hillingdon tonight then.

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