Adam Tranter is with the Team Swift Racing women’s squad as they prepare in France for the early season classics
I?m in trouble. The girls have clocked on that I know how to use a computer and I?ve now had more requests for technical support today than Dell. The modern professional cyclist?s training plan must now involve a few hours on Facebook and MSN Messenger.
Team manager Stefan Wyman has found a novel way to check that the girls are resting enough for the next day; he logs onto his instant messaging to see which riders are online. I guess, after this is published then that method won?t be so effective. Sorry Stef.
Today the girls went out on a steady three-hour ride, I joined them over the rolling terrain and my legs hurt. Especially during my 30-minute intervals with Emma Davies Jones, I don?t know why I volunteer for these efforts. My fellow Pick ?N? Mix eater, Jenny Fay had a go at some 40-second sprints with our guide and landlord, Chris. All in all, a productive training ride. Today wasn?t as sunny, but the weather was still mild enough for a jersey, arm warmers and a gilet.
Talking of Pick ?N? Mix, Jenny and me took a trip to our local Tabac. Either I?m not brilliant at handling the change of culture, or the French haven?t grasped the concept of personal hygiene yet. There?s nothing I enjoy more than having a French lady put her hands to her mouth while coughing, and then using her hands to place my sweets from a bowl into a bag. If I?d known the French equivalent of ?you disgusting person?, I would have let her know my thoughts.
My French is coming along nicely but I?ve had a few setbacks. For instance, I?ve been wondering why French soap is put into tubes. It turns out in fact, that I?ve been using shaving foam as hand wash for the past two days. Pretty bad you may think, but the foam was actually purchased by another journalist, who left today and bought it thinking it was toothpaste.
Everyone is getting on like a house on fire, which is good. There are quite a few new members to the team who weren?t around last season, with ages ranging from 16 to 30. I?ve quickly discovered the social barrier between men and women though. Swift are sponsored by an ingenious product called ReSkin, a plaster-type pad which helps prevent chaffing on tender areas. Some of the new girls have never used the product before, and the others were somewhat graphic in their explanation. I won?t go any further than that.
Helen Wyman and new signing Alice Monger-Godfrey were on the roster to cook tonight. A chicken casserole with rice was on the menu. Public congratulations should go to Alice for her role in the cooking process, deciding it was better to go to sleep until it was nearly ready. Ice cream, marshmallows and chocolate fingers were welcomed for dessert. The team assured me that this wasn?t a usual routine; they eat fruit sometimes too. I?ve just been informed that it?s my turn to cook on Friday, I?m thinking that homemade pizzas would go down well.
No doubt you?ll hear more about my cooking antics later. Ciao for now.
Even the pro’s sometimes have to mend their own punctures
A short pause before the riding resumes
All pictures courtesy of Adam Tranter