Could of, should of, would of. Much like this grammar, training for Le Tour has been awful since May began. In the next two weeks, I am on a mission to ensure that phrase is not ticker-taping through my mind as my body starts crying out for mercy on the slopes of Mont Ventoux in July.
To offset my birthday indulgences (I've hit my thirties and the best years for winning a grand tour!) and inability to hit target miles, I am giving the Etap Du Dales (112 miles of slog round the Yorkshire Dales) a good go this weekend. I then spend three days back-to-back in the saddle at the Tour of Wessex over the Whitsun long weekend, before finishing the build phase with 320 kms in 24 hours on 7 June. That will hopefully do the trick.
Training, and the lack of it, has become so serious that, to my disgust, the turbo trainer has been dusted off and brought back out of the cupboard. Much like the British winter, that magnetic flywheel has not quite been shaken off. Wednesday evening saw me take on Sufferfest's "The Hunted". I beat Gesink up some Swiss climb to win the stage and noticed some good signs on the computer. Despite starting the session at 9pm and feeling fatigued, my heart rate was a lot more stable during the workout than compared to a month ago and noticed that "beats per minute" were coming down quickly after finishing tough parts of the course. When you are starting to recover quickly from bursts of hard effort, then you know good conditioning is around the corner. Unfortunately I have not indulged in a power meter, so for all I know my efforts may only have been powering an energy efficient light bulb. In my mind I was a nuclear generator.
What's more the weighing scales are reading as they should. I started the year at 70kgs, came down to 69kgs at the end of March and now at 67.5kgs. With the intense schedule coming up, I am hoping that May will see me finish on 66kgs - a healthy and useful fighting weight for France. An overdue haircut will play its part as well.
So, whilst best laid training plans have stayed just that, there are some silver linings. Sometimes you just have to accept that whilst you may be about to ride the TdF, you ain't no pro and have to live accordingly.Difficult to accept as the event approaches and you feel you should be doing more to prepare. Real life just takes precedence. I take some perverse solace in that Messrs Wiggins, Cavendish and Froome wouldn't be able to compete with me doing my day job either.
Sticking to that sphere of relativity, nothing can be going as badly as Sir Brad's Giro D'Italia. When luck leaves you in cycling, it really does leave you. As a Wiggo fan, it has been painful viewing, although his withdrawal today will add some extra spice to the Team Sky politics at the TdF. As for the Giro, Nibali's to lose, but let's get behind the swashbuckling, best named rider in the peleton, Rigoberto Uran, to bring it home for Sky. The Colombian mullet monstered the final climb of Stage 10 to take the stage win, demonstrating his class and igniting his campaign. More of that please Bert.