“What happened to you today?”
A lot has happened since I last wrote. I’ll try and explain some of it, hopefully without offending anyone with any overly colourful language.
It’s been a testing few weeks. For a good period of time it felt as though if something could go wrong, it did go wrong. Punctures and crashes seriously tested my mettle. The run of bad luck I had was comical.
“What happened to you today?” was a perennial phrase used by team mates, often met with a few choice English words and a shake of the head.
The lowest point was puncturing whilst at the sharp end of the group on a tough stage, whilst feeling good.
I stood roadside, punctured wheel in hand, watching the split peloton ride by and waiting for the team car. I knew I wasn’t going to make it back to the front of the race.
A few phone calls to some great folks back home and I realised as frustrating as it is when things go wrong, if it’s outside your control…. well…what can you do? Shrug it off and refocus, without the rough times the great times wouldn’t feel so special!
Sometimes all you need is a good look at the big picture to get yourself back on track. I’m twenty two and racing my bike full time in the south of France. The sun’s shining. What’s not to smile about?
I bagged another top ten a few weeks ago, fifth in a ‘grippy’ one day race, the Grand Prix du Valdonnez. The melting tarmac on the course’s 90kph descent kept me on my toes.
A sharp turn onto the main climb each lap was so dodgy, I was actually laughing each time I took it, back wheel stepping out drift-style.
Thirty seven degrees heat made it pretty thirsty work too. After a few hours I was at the point where I didn’t care about the race – I just wanted to drink.
Crossing the line I had to ask where I’d finished before collapsing onto the pavement. At least I stayed upright during the race.
Learning French the easy way
I’m currently living in a holiday resort which one of the team sponsors owns. Recently, more staff have arrived for the busy summer period and as a result my French is improving again.
I didn’t pay much attention in language lessons at school, but it’s amazing how much more attentive you are whilst playing Spin the Bottle Q&A with four drunk waitresses.
Unfortunately I had to translate a few of my teammates’ ‘interesting’ questions and for some reason, it was assumed I was asking said questions. Great first impression.
They’re still serving me food, at least.
Kieran Frend is a Cycling Weekly blogger. The Staffordshireman is trying to make it his own way in France, racing for DN2 team UC Aubenas.
For more regular updates, daft observations and humour, you can follow Kieran on Twitter @kieran_frend
Kieran with his UC Aubenas teammates
Striking a pose