I am writing this post under the guise that cycling is good for your health: fresh air, Vitamin D, exercise, camaraderie (unless you come off, that is!) It’s also good for the environment, no petrol or diesel fumes clogging up the atmosphere – or our lungs. (Except when you’re commuting). It lifts the spirits, challenges our physical and mental boundaries and gets us away from routine and stress for a glorious hour or two of communing with nature and the elements.
However, as many of my regular Twitter followers will be aware, I am a bit of a cycling groupie. In fact, when I sent a text to my son this morning, the auto type thingummy preferred Cav (as in former World Road Race Champion Mark Cavendish) to cat! (That’s him at the front of the pic in the Tour of Britain race 2013).
The off-season is a barren time for professional cycling followers with little else but reports of new kit, new sponsors and new team-mates to keep us going. There’s always the off-season weddings to distract though, and the off-season babies. But we have to bear the dark days of January without any of the sun, sea or outstanding scenery of professional cycling tours (I exercised restraint there, I could have included shorts, ‘seats’ ‘saddles’ and tan-lines!)
But, rest assured. Those dark days are over. One February morning the sun shone and the sky was blue – and that was just in the English Midlands – when first Australia and then Dubai showed up to fill the cycling void on tv.
After a winter on the track training to qualify for the Olympics, Cav stretched his legs in a warm-up in Oz and today came second on the first desert stage of the Dubai Tour. But mainly he stayed upright, so we can all breathe again! Great German rival Kittel came first, but he was due a win after an awful year of illness last year so we won’t begrudge him that, and Hour Man Sir Bradley Wiggins smiled his way to the front of the peleton like days of yore to remind himself how it feels to go the distance in his own Olympic preparation.
Riveting stuff, eh? 😉
I will get around to cycling for your health, but first I just want to get this off my chest after watching the first tour of the season: how confusing it is when you’re still looking for Marcel Kittel in his black-and-white striped Giant-Alpecin kit instead of his new dark blue Etixx strip, and how it’s even harder to see the diminutive Cav hiding behind his lead-out team now he’s in the black strip of Dimension-Data and no longer last season’s light blue of Etixx!
And how weird is it going to be seeing Richie Porte in the red and black of BMC and not the turquoise and black of Sky? A rival to Chris Froome and no longer his trusty lieutenant.
Cav alongside Chris Froome in Leeds at the Tour de France 2014 (yes, I know, but the first part is usually raced outside France!)
So this is what life will be like in this juicing household for the next 10-11 months. I had to warn you because you’ve only known me in the off-season when I had little better to do than think and write about juicing – which, by the way, a lot of professional cyclists benefit from nowadays. They also eat rice cakes and raw treats. (Nice segue there, don’t you think?!)
So, as this is meant to be a health blog, I shall justify this post’s existence by advising that now Spring is here, get your bike out of the shed or from under its tarp, give it a good clean, tighten everything up, oil what needs to be oiled, check your helmet – always wear a helmet, it saved my husband’s life twice in the last 3 years – and organise a family cycle at the weekend.
Get the kids on two wheels early and it will stay with them for life, and you will all have a common activity – and they may even let you talk about Greipel’s quads and Froomey’s watts and sit and watch highlights of the Tour de France with you in July!
Amazing book of watercolour paintings of cyclists done during the Tour de France by the very talented Greig Leach.
(Ok, I’ll stop now).
Copyright: Chris McGowan