Today Ed and I drove to Holland to do a feature for our sister magazine Cycle Sport. Unfortunately it?s a bit tricky to reveal here the nature of our business but I hate it when people say ?Buy our product to find out more? so I have a bit of an ethical dilemma.
I suppose I could set up a premium rate phone line for those who want to know what we were doing. Not all calls will be successful, of course, but all calls will be charged.
Not that it?s subject to the Official Secrets Act or anything but editors and publishers and those types of people don?t like to give away for free what they can charge £3.95 for so it rather defeats the object if we run the feature here and now.
So, I apologise for the rather cloak and dagger nature of this blog entry but feel free to flick through Cycle Sport when it goes on sale (April 5) and all will be revealed.
Suffice to say, we had some Classic riding ahead of us and the mood as we drove through the bright spring sunshine was buoyant.
Our overnight stay was in Valkenburg. Last time we were here was early during the Tour de France. That was the day Alejandro Valverde crashed out and T-Mobile?s Matthias Kessler won the stage with a well-timed jump up the Cauberg.
We were following the Tour in a camper van, as readers of the Tales from the Broomwagon blog will recall, and the morning after the race Ed and I rode from our campsite into the centre of Valkenburg to ride the Cauberg. Our 45-minute ride coincided with just about the only 45 minutes of rain we experienced during the whole three weeks of the Tour.
There was a looming sense of inevitability when I turned on the television in time to see the weather forecast. The Low Countries were about to be hit by a mini ice age, timed for our arrival, it seemed.
Foolishly I had neglected to bring a jumper of any kind, so I had to go out into the town of Valkenberg for dinner wearing a yellow Cannondale cycling jacket. I felt like a berk but not so much of a berk on a cycling training camp I was on once. On the last night we headed into town for a few beers and to check out the nightclubs. Everyone wore normal clothes except for one guy who wore a fluorescent yellow ADR team winter jacket that dated from 1988.
Thing was, in the dark at the club the strobe lighting hit him and he was the focal point of the whole dancefloor. People were actually gravitating towards him and dancing round him. Until they realised he was wearing a 15-year-old cycling top.
Croydon-Channel Tunnel: 108km (67 miles)
Calais-Valkenburg: 311km (193 miles)
Beers sampled: 3 (Leffe Blond, Grimbergen, Orval)
No. of meats in evening meal: 4 (veal, lamb, beef, pork)
No. of Cognacs: 2
No. of times I said ?But it?s only 10.30 in England?: too many