Below, a video of my first training ride, which suffices to showcase my lack of all the required attributes of a leading man. Highlights include me pumping up my tyres, which needed a lot of air as the bike has been hanging up in the garage since the Leeds ride in September, and then my stupid peanut shaped face bobbing up and down in a somewhat grotesque manner as I struggle up a small hill.
I’m sure one thing the internet is crying out for is more videos of a man’s gurning face oscillating gently and grunting from time to time. No similar videos yet exist, and creative editing opportunities are, I’m sure, minimal.
(and YES – I know only idiots record vertical videos. To that I say two things : 1) I am an idiot and 2) The clamp thing that holds the camera to my handlebars can only do so vertically.)
I need to get a bit of training under my belt before the big ride, and fortunately I live just on a stretch of country road that goes up a meandering hilly stretch for 2.5 miles. It’s ideal to struggle up to the top and then glide down again – takes me about 25 minutes. Slow on the way up, fast on the way down, as you might imagine! Haven’t done it since before the Leeds ride, though – I need to do a lot more of that, and gradually build up some longer rides.
Narrow Lane Hill (the ride in the video)
I have a nice little Garmin GPS thing, but I haven’t used *that* since the Leeds ride either, and completely forgot how to set it up. So I failed to press the Start button until I’d nearly finished the ride, and by that point the phone’s memory was full anyway and the video had stopped recording. So multiple tech stupidities conspired to make the first ride a success in training only, rather than the tedious documentation thereof.
One thing I find almost impossible to bend my tiny brain around is that the ride I just did is more than a tenth of the way to Northampton, which as you can see below is the first leg of the ride, and just under 50 miles away. It’s both obvious and crazy at the same time. If you asked me to estimate where 10 times that ride would take me, my reflexive answer would be something like “Leicester” – which is actually just 16 miles away. Dumb ape brain.
The first leg of the paris ride – less than 10x longer!
What I take from that is heartening – the same sort of thing that gets me up mountains. If you keep plugging on, even if you’re going really slowly, the miles fall away behind you and you eventually find yourself way further than you thought you could get at the start. I’m hoping that effect holds all the way to Paris.
ps – some sweetheart on Twitter pointed out that my head doesn’t LOOK enormous on photos. Don’t worry, I’m not terminally down on myself. My head really is as big as a space station. Evidence can be found inside the rim of my ridiculous cowboy hat: