Back in a groove

Put in a tidy 130km at an average of 26km/h on Sunday. As recommended by the osteopath, Dave Knight, I didn’t push it too much and came in the moment I started to feeel a twinge in my left calf.

I’ve been doing my stretches and trying to keep to a regime of at least doing them in the morning and at night before bed. I feel a lot better for it and the nagging aches have subsided a bit, but not entirely.

I kept it gentle today on the way into work and back, although the last part of the journey home was steadier than usual due to me buying too much at Waitrose. By “too much” I mean I saw a number of organic steak cuts on heavy reduction and filled my rucksack with them for the freezer.

This in turn meant I ran out of space for my normal food shopping and was forced to cycle from Kensington with a baguette poking up out of one side of the rucksack. As packing goes it was fine until it snapped in half at the lights and I was forced to negotiate a right turn with a demi-baguette in my hand. All good practice for eating and dressing on the bike.

Turning to thoughts of the course, Rapha have published a very thorough guide to the course which breaks it down into six sections and makes it seem much more manageable:

I’ll be using this as one of my main sources of notes and things I need to remember in my strategy. Doubtless over the next month we will be bombarded with other articles about Alpe D’Huez and its mythical status, whereas what I think needs to be remembered is that there’s 170km of tough riding and two elimination points to get through before you can put on your best “Tour legend” head and take on the 21 hairpins of hell, as best you can.

I imagine I won’t be paying homage to Pantani with my time, nor brutalising my fellow riders with an Armstrongian display of power. I don’t think Cippolini ever made it as far as getting up Alpe D’Huez but I would guess, much like him, I’m going to be climbing with all the grace of a dog being dragged along by the lead: slowly and with an apparent desire to go backwards down the hill at every opportunity.

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