Sunday’s club ride felt good in my legs and I found myself comfortably sitting on the front for plenty of the ride and really going at the hills with purpose. By the time I got home I felt I could have gone another hour without too much suffering.
Admittedly as I pedalled up my street I noticed the odometer reading 119.50km, so I did a cheeky lap around the block just to make sure that it ticked over the 120km marker. It’s a strange feeling finding yourself pedalling just to turn over the numbers and give yourself a sense of achievement.
I tried out a new gel on Sunday, the Powerbar blackcurrant flavour with caffeine, which seems to do the job. I had the usual spot of retching and mild nausea I seem to get from all the gels I have tried but it passed as soon as it had begun. Not ideal but I’m struggling to find a better way of getting the maximum of energy out of the minimum of volume.
The other half of my riding energy supply is at present a 50/50 mix of orange juice and water with a pinch of salt. This isn’t going to be practical for anything like the duration of the Etape but, if I go with the musette bag/bib shorts full of lucozade sport that I have been considering, then my two bottles of it should see me over at least the first climb and down to the first feed station proper.
I am of course assuming that I’ll be able to fight my way through the feeding frenzy and grab both juice and water to refill my bottles with. It could be where my French comes in most handy, apart from understanding what’s going on in a group and the abuse being bandied about at the Rosbif refusing to take his turn on the front.
Some french phrases
I’ve just had to look up the French for “pothole”, a phrase which should be good to know for the descents. According to my dictionary it is “un nid de poule”, literally a chicken’s nest. for the less familiar of you, that will sound like “need duh pool”, although I presume the shout will be of “need” for the sake of brevity.
A simple hole is “un trou”, with sounds like “true”. I’m sure there’s a cyclist’s lexicon somewhere that I should hunt down. Team T-Mobile have a Cycling dictionary on their site but I can’t find it in there.
“Pousse” means that they want you to take you turn on the front and push the pace along, something I’m sure they’d do better to avoid letting me do but if they insist it shouldn’t take long for them to see their mistake.
As Brendan has commented, quite rightly “Put it in the little ring (or middle ring for those of you with a triple) and suck wheels shamelessly for as long as humanly possible”. It’s a great comment and, despite being a novice myself, I have to agree that there’s too much fear mongering amongst some of the types on the various forums. You can read his comment in full here: http://www.atomicecho.com/etape/2006/04/well_thats_the_bike_ready.shtml