23rd February - The Big Day is Looming!

As the big day looms it seems that I have even less time to train – typical! Family matters took me to Italy early on Monday, and we didn’t get back until Wednesday evening.
You know what they say: when in Rome (or Florence as it happened), do as the Romans do. In other words, we made the most of fine Italian food, including a visit to a favourite restaurant of mine near the San Lorenzo market, where they serve the best Trippa alla Fiorentina.  We also had some family dinners during our stay, and gorged on lasagne, rabbit, veal, the obligatory pizza and fantastic local ice cream. Who knew that yoghurt and Nutella was such a good mix? Although I didn’t touch a single beer, it hardly made up for the food and lack of training.
The trip involved a lot of sorting through ‘stuff’, in amongst which I found an old Bianchi bike, with the loveliest old Shimano groupset.  I have plans for that bike, when I get round to it!


As is always the case when you go away, the next 24 hours involved catching up, meaning that I didn’t train on Thursday either. However a dry and sunny Friday gave me the chance to finally take the Fondriest TFZero for a test ride, to see how it suited me. This is the bike I am taking to Maui, and it is a beauty.  The frame is 695g, hand-built by Sarto, and I have my lovely Spin Koppenbergs on it, currently with 28mm tyres.  I only intended to check it was OK, and wasn’t trying to push it or me, but it flew up the local climbs and according to Strava I achieved PBs! Needless to say I was happy.
On my way home I dropped in to Beyond Mountain Bikes, where a friend was having a bike fit for his TT.  After a chat, some banter, and a lot of water, I flew home at about 26mph on my magic bike.
I decided to do a gym session on Saturday.  Ignoring the wastrels wasting their time with 15kg leg presses, I powered through a warm-up on the rowing machine, leg weights, shoulder weights and back exercises, before returning home for a session on the ‘bike’ and of course the rugby.
A bright and clear Sunday was the perfect opportunity for a muddy ride. I love riding in the sun - it seems to penetrate the deeper reaches of the brain and just make you feel good. I decided to join the club on a 50-mile route that factored in a few good climbs. The group had a smashing ride, with my Fondriest TF0 once again going up hills faster than usual.  My friends were surprised by my newfound performance, but I really think it is the bike rather than the engine! Even so, it puts me in a slightly better position for the big climb than I’d hoped, especially as I don’t foresee getting much time on the road before I leave.  I guess I will just have to work hard in the gym and on the indoor trainer – every little helps!