Monday, 20 July 2009

Une petit inscription

I don't speak French, which I'm finding to be such a handicap here.

My headteacher agreed to swap GCSE French for Drama, on the proviso that stopped playing truant. My linguistics have suffered because of that choice. Incidentally it didn't stop me bunking off either. God I was a nightmare teen!

So here I am, in sunny France, Orange to be precise. As I type this, my lovely boyfriend is riding up mountains with thousands of sweaty, smelly, lycra-clad cyclists!

Joe woke up at 04:15 this morning, got his gear on and headed down to the special early breakfast that our hotel was putting on for 'l'Etapers'. There are quite a few guys in our group, a mixture of IT geeks and Financial professionals - cycling is *not* a cheap sport, although I do believe that boys do bow to peer pressure a little too much when it comes to bikes and their components! Joe trained for most of l'etape du tour on my 5 year old Trek 1000, they don't even make that model anymore! It's only a double, has an aluminium frame, and no fancy parts at all - in case you're wondering, it *is* a boy's bike, as I'm quite tall I didn't see the point in buying a woman specific bike, I wouldn't make that choice again though because women are built differently to men... So a guy with my length legs would generally have a longer body and arms, and I never felt entirely comfortable on that bike. Mind you, I never learnt to ride properly as a child so it was rather a baptism of fire and I should have opted for a mountain bike or hybrid at most... but then I so wanted to do triathlon!

Anyway, I'm going off track, back to Joe. So yes, he trained for months on my aluminium framed, £500 entry level road bike and it was fine! He did replace the back cassette with a compact rather than suffer the ignominy of 'down-sizing' to a triple, but that was it in terms of modifications. As soon as he got his cycle to work voucher he went and bought a Wilder, all carbon-fibre and expensive components. I don't know exactly how much it cost but it was more than £1,500!! And for what, one mammoth race and then a life of loneliness in our shed... Actually, scratch that. Unless we had an armour-plated shed there is no way his bike will be stored anywhere other than the bloody hallway or breakfast room, grr! *My* mountain bike is chained outside, *my* road bike is in the shed along with my son's two MTBs, pah! ;-)

I'm thinking "we could have had a really super swish holiday somewhere interesting" but now my beloved has spent thousands on this whole race experience (bike, cycle clothes, training weekends away, including a recce to Mont Ventoux a little while ago, transport, accommodation....etc...!)

Ahh well, it could be worse, he could be one of those guys who spends his weekends or evenings after work in the pub or on the sofa, beer in hand... As it is, his thighs look awesome! ;-)

The guys were discussing race fuel tactics over dinner and Dan revealed his secret weapon for ventoux (which is the very last and hardest mountain, we can see it from Orange, it looks ominous to say the least!!), some tablets that contain a lots of interesting unpronounceable ingredients, plus the obligatory Ginkgo Biloba, Guarana and caffeine. The interest was hilarious, it was like he took on the role of drug-dealer right then and there at the dinner table!!

Anyway, hilariously, the pills are nothing more sinister than Maximuscle's 'Viper Extreme'! So the good thing about that is that the ingredients are gonna be quality and non-illegal!!!

Apparently Dan and his colleagues tried them out at work and felt the effects on a massive scale, there was *no* 'afternoon lull' haha!

I've looked for some info on Viper Extreme caps because I didn't know they existed! Joe's been using the Viper powder during the latter stages of his training. He says it doesn't taste too bad and is easy on the stomach, but I don't personally like it very much. I think it's its viscosity that I don't like, it sounds weird but it's 'thicker' than sports drinks I'm used to, and I know that's because it's not just a carbohydrate sports drink, it's got loads of good stuff in it to help with performance and recovery, but I'm used to Lucozade and Isostar etc, all tasty and very thin!

Anyway, found this bit of blurb about the pills:

"Maximuscle’s Viper Extreme capsules have a unique high potency formula containing; glucuronolactone, Ginkgo-Biloba and caffeine, which some experts believe improves concentration, alertness and reaction times. It also contains L-Tyrosine, a key excitatory brain amino acid."

It'll be interesting to hear if the lads (and our one token woman rider, that girl is seriously impressive and has definitely added some balance to our testosterone-fuelled bunch of bikey blokes!) noticed any difference after taking them, it'll be the perfect test conditions! The other partners (or the WAGs as we've decided we are!) have joked that we might raid Dan's 'stash' and turn up in the finishing village completely buzzing and annoyingly chatty and full of energy! ;-)

Anyhoo, that's enough bike talk. So in terms of me and my own training and diet - well, I haven't done as much as I'd like but hey, I'm on holiday! We got here on Friday night, so no exercise was going to have been able to take place that day. That night we went out for a nice meal and I ended up staying out drinking with a friend who I haven't seen for months so had *so* much to catch up on and some air to clear after falling out a while ago. That took until about 5am! Eeek!

Saturday morning didn't really happen, my friend and I managed to surface in the afternoon and resolved to walk around and find the public pool that we'd been assured existed at the top of a hill over looking this amazing ancient amphitheatre. We didn't find the pool but we found a nice café and sat there for many hours talking. Very nice and chilled :-) two coffees, two half pints of lager and one goat's cheese salad later, we made our way back. I'd been careful with the suntan lotion, I bought Boots Soltan 'Once' which did really last for hours. Unfortunately, I didn't have a hat so I've burnt the top of my head a bit - ouch!

Most of the rest of our group turned up that night so we went out - steak again, they know how to cook it here ;-) yesterday I had monkfish, very tasty :-)

I haven't eaten too badly, yesterday everyone had pizzas for lunch but I had omelette and salad. We've got a fridge in our room so my maxi-milk is nice and cold, I could have brought the chocolate flavour, damn!! Going to take one for Joe for after the race. I have definitely been drinking more than usual, too much vin rouge, blanc, rosé... Oh dear :-D

I have been taking my appesat before dinners though which has helped to prevent my inhaling every morsel in sight... I'm dreadful on holiday usually, it's like my routine gets thrown out the window so therefore my will-power goes along with it! Heh

So, yesterday I decided it was high time to exercise. I've taken a picture of my 'gym' which I'll have to upload once I'm back in the UK as I'm typing this all on my little blackberry at present!

Shit, just seen the time, I have to go now as we'll be driving to the finishing village shortly and I haven't even showered yet!

But very quickly, yesterday I managed to do a 3 supersets of press-ups, bench dips, biceps curl, pull-down, pull-in, pull-out (all my rotator cuff work basically) and seated rows. I've brought a stability ball with me, along with a 'door gym' that has a resistance tube and hooks over and under the door. The resistance is too week so I doubled a band through it and it's worked a treat!

Will go into more detail when I have some time and a computer with internet connection!!

TJx

P.S. Yesterday I also went for a 30 min run which nearly killed me!! I thought that running in the late afternoon would be okay but it was nearly 30 degrees and I'd no idea the humidity would get to me quite so much!! The water in my bottle went from cold to bath-water temperature in about 10 mins!! It was the oddest feeling, I had energy in my legs but felt like I was running in someone else's body, someone a lot taller and heavier than me!! I had to lie down afterwards, after only 30 minutes, pathetic!!

P.P.S just heard from Joe, he's at Bedoin already!! Now it's Ventoux, last mountain and he said he feels really good, so exciting, can't wait to see him afterwards. Gonna go now :-)

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