Finally, after all of the preparation on indoor machines and building kilometres in rides through Holland. After fretting and worry that I would not be able to handle it and that my lack of cleats, or clip-in pedals or whatever that are called, would count against me. After realising that, no matter what, I just cycle in a flat country…


Finally, today, I cycled up something!

In the stunning Ardennes region of Belgium, I hit the gradients that the indoor trainer has been a quiet and slightly unrealistic preparation for.

Going up? Fantastic! Hard work but felt good!

Going down? After going up you need to go down. Call me Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton or whoever. But you need to go down. Those hard gradients to cycle up become steep descents.

I hated them.

Then the issues that I have come out. The right hand was not so good at braking, for example.

Or was it anything to do with the condition at all? Is that an excuse I am trying to make for myself? In the end, it is one thing to (try) to cycle at high-speed on a flat road because the effort you put in is directly reflected back in the speed even if the wind is hard. On a descent, my feeling was that you can do very little and build an impressive speed.

And I just didn’t want to! I didn’t want to do much apart from brake to be quite honest. I don’t have a good perspective these days and at very high speed I was, in the back of my mind, concerned about anything where the right side (braking as I said above and also certain turns) needed to be strong.

In terms of descending, I was absolutely cr*p. Horrendous.

But what the f*ck does that matter? Let’s look at the positives.

Never mind the weakness in descending,1,300 metres was climbed! That in a relatively short ride, 38 kilometres!


June 11th will be tougher but this was a good start. Celebrate it! Learn from what I can’t do well and remember what did go well, a good climb in a relatively short distance, very slow but nothing to be ashamed of.

‘A man’s got to know his limitations’.

A quote from one of Clint Eastwood’s lesser films. Knowing your limitations does mean that you shouldn’t be proud of what you have done and, sorry, I am.



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