There is a contributor to our forum ? hello Guv001 ? who clearly enjoys wearing a hair shirt. Having a missed a day?s riding in his own personal 30 Day Challenge, he?s gone right back to the beginning again. Now that?s hard core.
But it?s also a bit like when the whole class was kept behind in detention after school for half an hour. Twenty two minutes would elapse and then the class joker (usually a boy called Darren, in my experience) would burp or make some high-pitched strangling noise and the teacher would say: ?Right, well that means the half-hour has to start over again.? Everyone would groan and we?d go back to the beginning, which was a pain because it would almost certainly mean I?d miss Grange Hill.
Hats off to Guv001 ? I admire your determination to ride 30 days in succession but I am not able to take my four missed days of training as a signal to begin at Day 1 again.
Instead, Coach Hannah has instructed me to repeat a week. This, she assures me, is not so much to punish me but is to ensure I don?t step up a level before I?m ready.
The reason for failing to get out on the bike on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday was that I moved house ? or more to the point I took possession of a new house and began the work of gutting it from top to bottom.
I wondered whether the job of pulling up carpets and then scraping the wallpaper off the walls upstairs and down would count as core strength training. I definitely have the beginnings of RSI in my scraping arm. It was not the finest weekend, fitness wise, as I also indulged in a fair few celebratory drinks on Friday and ate takeaway for dinner each night. Add to that the fact the beers I sank to mark the fact that Watford reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup with a gritty, backs-to-the-wall win over mighty Plymouth Argyle and the weekend was a total wash-out.
But my enthusiasm has not waned and I certainly missed riding. It?s just the pain in my lower back from being up a ladder with a wallpaper steamer in my hand for three consecutive days makes me wonder how useful Tuesday?s session will be.
Anyway, it was a rare weekend spent completely out of the cycling bubble. I had to rely on a text message from a colleague to find out David Millar had won the prologue of Paris-Nice.
While on the subject of Paris-Nice and ASO?s increasingly megalomaniacal determination to dominate everything about cycling, the leader?s jersey in that race used to be white. It was always white and very attractive it looked too. Then, early this decade, ASO rescued the race when the owner Laurent Fignon?s company ran into difficulty ? for which we are very grateful.
The first thing ASO did was bung some yellow on the leader?s jersey ? to make just like the Tour de France ? and for a few years the jersey was a bit of an ugly mix of yellow with white at the bottom. It may be my imagination but each year the white part seems to have got smaller and this year it?s disappeared completely. A traditional symbol is lost for ever and the white jersey in Paris-Nice is now for the best young rider.
Let?s start a campaign ? bring back the white jersey at Paris-Nice. Again the slogan may need tinkering with but you?d expect the French, usually such fine observers of sporting tradition and the least willing to meddle and tamper with it, to show a race like Paris-Nice more respect, rather than subject it to this kind of corporatisation.
Still, it didn?t stop William Fotheringham referring to Millar winning the white jersey in The Guardian on Monday. Perhaps he?s a traditionalist too.
Right, back to the cycling?.
Total distance ridden: 127.5 kilometres (79.2 miles)
Rides to rest day ratio: 2-5