Whilst the cat is away…

Photo: stopping for lunch during a five day marathon

Jan was in London for a week so I thought I’d spend time with my mistress. Her name is Leggera. She is my Italian bicycle.

I had five clear days to do some training for my big ride for Motor Neurone Disease in 2020, the Giro di Muscoli. The average distance of the 15 stages of the Giro is 150km so I decided to see if I could ride that distance every day for five days to see what I could learn.

I wore different kit each day so I was a bit like the Craig David song. ICC on a Monday, Pansèr on a Tuesday, Paris-Brest-Paris on a Wednesday, Pansèr on a Thursday and ICC on a Friday.

I decided to do some climbing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with flat coastal rides in between. Friday’s ride culminated in climbing the locally famous Il Cippo (Marco Pantani’s training hill). The Cippo is the centrepiece of Stage 14 of the Giro.

The main thing I learnt was that the Giro di Muscoli is going to be hard. For five days I got up, rode for between seven and eight hours (stopping for breaks and photos as I suspect the Giro will) made my recovery drink, updated Strava, had a shower, an hours sleeep, washed my kit, ate, slept and did it all over again. Each day I got more tired and took longer to recover. Jan said she saw the progression in my fatigue written on my face as the week progressed.

This has put paid to my romantic idea of wandering around the cities with Jan after each stage. I will be heading straight to the hotel to rest and refill for the following day, though I might manage a finishing beer with the other riders.

I managed the five days, completing 779km and 7k metres climbing but the Giro starts with 1,585km and 15k metres climbing over the first ten days before the only rest day. In short it was half of the first ten days and a third of the entire Tour. I will keep a base level of fitness during the winter then pick up the training during next spring in readiness for June. The Giro is going to be a tough challenge.

One other thing I learnt is that I am unique, apparently. On Friday whilst stopped at a red light for road works one of the workers came over and said I could ride through the roadworks even though it was red. He said I was unique. The only cyclist to stop at the red lights. I explained I was English. “Aha, I understand…” he said “…that’s why you are unique”.







Rides: 79

Distance: 11,551 km

Average distance per ride: 146 km

Elevation gain: 101,332m (11.4 Everests)

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