Legless on Route 66 1.3
I award myself a medal. The Burgundian sky is azure blue, with mares’ tails high in the sky. And believe me it is blowing a bloody gale.
I learnt this first hand today as I continued my thrice weekly Calvary ride through the Burgundian countryside on my handbike. My regular ride is now fifty kilometres, in a speedy three hours, or if I am feeling particularly brave, sixty five in four.
The fifty k’s are basically one of two circular routes, starting with an hour’s climbing (heart rate occasionally up to 175 bpm – yikes.). To be honest, it’s not exactly the grands cols of the Tour de France, but believe me, when lugging round 80 kilos of dead meat, a twenty kilo bike with all the weight at the back and just a two centimetre wide front tyre for traction, it can feel like it.
There then follows a rewarding three kilometre descent, and the remaining twenty kilometres are essentially flat. So a hard first hour and then thirty kilometres of gently undulating road to “warm down”.
Except when it’s windy.
Being circular, as I cranked out the metres into an icy north-easterly, I comforted myself that the second half would at least have the advantage of a strong tail wind.
But no, these are strange meteorological times. Of the 360° route, the best I ever got was one kilometre of tail wind, the rest was either a diagonal cross wind, or worst of all, and ruining my beloved long descent, a ferocious headwind straight in my face. To give context, on the descent I’ve raced down at 55 kph; today I couldn’t get past 33. Very dull and very tiring.
But endorphins will as endorphins do, and beyond the self satisfaction of having vanquished the elements and honoured my schedule, I have, no doubt, lost a few more ounces and feel good. I can also serve myself a dry Martini with a clear conscience.
Of course I preferred two wheels to three, but the rush and feel of tarmac beneath my seat (and I’m a lot closer to itnow) remains one of life’s simple pleasures. I am pushing the big 66 to 2018, but it is still very much on project.