Collective creaking and groaning – must be the start of the cycle touring year

Photo by Kevin Mayne

Yesterday I took my first cycling club ride of the year, breaking into the start of the Belgian cycle touring club season.

As usual our club split into two groups, with those who have been riding all winter or who like a faster ride going off in one direction while Group 2, consisting mainly of us gentlemen “of a certain age” took a leisurely potter through the lanes.

Photo by Kevin Mayne

It was lovely to be out there in the sunshine with the group, listening to the chatter and the creak and groan of bikes bouncing over the rough Walloon roads. Although in hindsight that might have been the bodies, not the bikes, including me.

Photo by Kevin Mayne

This time last year I was blogging about the fact I had completed my hardest burst of training for years, 3 intense months preparing for the Tour of Flanders and I was one of those dashing out in group 1 to test my form. If I am lucky I have also done 3 lots of cycle training this year, only this would be about three days in lycra.

However that isn’t a problem with group 2. It is all very civilised at this time of the year, later in the summer we get a bit more racy as everyone gets a bit fitter, but now there is no need. In fact when the ride leader shouted “libre” or “free” meaning that it was time for a bit of burnup there was almost no reaction, even from the usual suspects. It’s a bit like an old dog with his ball. He knows he should play, but frankly he’d rather just wander round with the ball in his mouth and pretend right now.

Photo by Kevin Mayne

There was plenty of time for a meeting of the Brains’ Trust over someone else’s breakdown, and instead of the traditional “arret pi-pi” (you work it out, the first word means “stop”) we have an “arret prostate”, the greatest contribution of Belgian cycling to preventative healthcare in men over 50.

Today my body aches all over, but is the healthy ache of low impact exercise, not the creak and groan of inactivity. It was great to be back in the groove in the sharp late winter sunshine.

Photo by Kevin Mayne Photo by Kevin Mayne

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