After a short hiatus – as in taking a break, not the hernia – Cycloblog is back. Back in a very different world, in which GBBO has moved to Channel 4 and politics has changed beyond belief with 52% of the British public beginning to wish they could turn the clock back.
This time I will be charting the ups and downs of my training programme as I ready myself for a 200 mile, two-wheeled trip across Burgundy; the home of some of the finest white wines in the world and, undoubtedly, the finest manifestations of Chardonnay. Burgundy allegedly produces good red wine too, a rumour that I contest, based on a dislike of the thin and perfumed stuff foisted upon me by its devotees.
Undertaken for the pure pleasure of cycling and the company of my domestique, Martin Peel and of our factotum, Black Ken of Dacre, I have limited my training to the next 10 days. Ample, I feel, to set me up for the 50 miles or so I have planned for the trip.
Last night involved a light run, the principle challenge of which was Dunford Road, which, as anyone will tell you, is a slog. However, the sheer tedium of cycling, as always accompanied by the rubbing of my badly-fitted helmet and discomfort resulting from the godforsaken interaction of saddle, lycra and anus, is made bearable by a treasure trove of sights along the way.
No sooner have I gazed upon the gooey family portraits in the window of Helen Bray’s award-winning photo studio than the wonders of the Cal Look VW campers at Autony’s Garage flash by. Soon after that, the fabulously undulating pitch of the Underbank RLFC ground can be seen on the left, closely followed by the dairy of the world’s favourite yogurt and cream purveyors, Longley Farm. Finally, at Hade Edge, the premises of celebrity butcher Brindon Addy loom large, nestling on the banks of the moody, dark and peaty waters of the reservoir. It’s a lot to take in, even at 5 miles an hour.
So follow me as I prepare for a six-day degustation, undertake vital research into viniculture, and ultimately report from the front line of Bacchanalia.