Mightily relieved to get home and hang up our bikes on Saturday. Met up on a very sharp and frosty morning at nine in Richmond Park with Yanto Barker (the pro rider, and owner of Le Col clothing) who was organising a ride with Cervelo's Jeremy Hunt and Dan Lloyd to promote www.training-pro.co.uk, their joint project to provide their expertise and advice to all levels of cyclists. By the time we reached Cobham four people (none of them though) had hit the deck on black ice, and the advice from the pros was get to Costa, where we camped. My sort of advice. Another guy not so lucky, came down and was run over by the following car, and taken away by air ambulance.
Amazingly Lawrence had set off at 7.30 and got deeper into the Surrey Hills. Tried to dissuade him - a broken wrist seemed a bad idea, and the 'Remains of the Core Group Cycle Slam' has no real ring to it.
Poodling back to London I sat behind Bonzo and suggested that for the pan-European jaunt he could perhaps attach a Kindle or iPad to his back, then I could read to pass the time. I could finish Antony Beevor's D-Day as we potter across the battlefields of France. But technology brings it own problems. Consider the tale of two Warrens. When we crossed the Pyrenees Warren (the ski guide) filmed the finish in Bagnul-sur-Mer from the saddle and came down fifty metres from the line in tribute to Devon Loch. Warren (the lawyer) was adjusting his Garmin in Hampstead last week and rode into a pallet of bricks. No harm done, those bricks are tough.
The photo came through today from Giant showing the bikes - they look amazing, and I love the fact that Giant are giving us full support so I dont have to clean mine, or Joanna's - the first time I've ever looked forward to a white bike. The final piece in the team kit is done - Gary McQuaid (son of the UCI's Pat) today offered to provide us with Oakley glasses. If nothing else we'll look like a team.
I'm hoping that we can link up with some pros at training camps in northern Italy and southern France, but seems, like Jeremy, they are all heading to Qatar, and then either Oman or the Algarve. I never cease to be amazed how generous pros are with their time and advice, it's something about cycling. It's interesting that there is a natural conflict between the scientific approach (what you should do) and what the pros do (what works for them). And what you can do under laboratory conditions is not necessarily what you can do on the road. Matt Lovell has joined the team as our nutritionist - he works with the England rugby team - and has some brilliant ideas on nutrition, particularly for endurance - www.sportsnutritionvlog.com . That said we have a laugh about my chances, in a two star hotel in La Spezia, of getting 'stir-fry Kale in spray olive oil with garlic and ginger'. Chocolate milk for me.
Paul Kimmage called me today to say he did two 55km rides over the weekend, and is fully recovered. We need Paul, and all that experience. So the core group stays at 8, the magic number, so Lawrence says....
For more information on the Dallaglio Cycle Slam and to sponsor riders visit www.dallagliocycleslam.com
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