Let the challenge begin. Thirty days to go from fat(ish) to fit(ter). Any doubts about heading off into the early-morning mist were dispelled after a quick jump on the scales. Eighty five kilos it read, even after I?d shaken it to see if the digital display (oooh!) was playing up. Stop sniggering, it?s only a handful more than Fabian Cancellara, so by my reckoning I should be nudging the top 15 at Paris-Roubaix in April.

Having recently taken delivery of a new bike ? not a freebie before anyone starts ? today?s ride was essentially a test to make sure the thing is set up okay, so I chose a flat route into the Hertfordshire countryside. I was annoyed fairly soon after setting off when I spotted a warning sticker I had missed while unpeeling the 15 (make that 16) warning stickers peppered all over the thing. ?DO this? ?DON?T do that? ?Ensure brain is attached inside skull before using this bicycle.?

Apparently someone ? probably an American ? sued a manufacturer for damages because HE forgot to do up the quick-release on his front wheel. Bike makers, here?s an idea. Instead of the horrid stickers that leave a nasty residue why not attach a huge tag that says: ?It?s your bike now. If you hurt yourself because you are a dunder-headed idiot, it?s your fault, not ours.?

Deep breath.

Is it just me or have the roads deteriorated even further over the winter? I?ll admit, I?ve been off the bike since mid-November but after the lay-off I was shocked by how bad the roads are. A muesli of grit in every gutter, smashed headlights and wheel hubs all over the place. And the cracks and potholes are beyond a joke.

I won?t even get started on driving standards. Not today. There are 29 more days left for that.

Anyway, the legs felt pretty powerless but it was a pleasant enough ride. Nothing spectacular to report.

And then, on day flamin? one, a puncture. What are the odds? 6/1, who?ll give me sevens?

Gripe two ? should long-stem inner tubes really cost a pound more than standard ones? Well, should they?

So, I?m off and running ? my inexorable flight to recover a semblance of fitness has started. The training plan kicks in tomorrow. What did you do today? Whatever your standard, let me know I?m not alone on the fitness section of our forum.

Tomorrow: Fit test. How much work do I have ahead of me? Oh, and it?ll probably rain.

THE LOWDOWN

I rode for: 1 hour 26 minutes

I covered: 39 kilometres

My ride: was like an aperitif before an eating competition

No. of punctures: 1

No. of hors categorie potholes: 14

No. of drivers using mobiles: 3

ASBO hot spot sprint prize

(awarded for stunningly bad driving)

Runner-up: The four youths in the Barry-ed up Corsa who came way too close overtaking just as the road narrowed for a traffic island

Winner: The skip hire truck that was going so fast the draft it left behind caused serious wobble

Comment on this story, leave message about your training or merely gloat at everyone else’s suffering on the CW forum

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