Thursday, 29 January 2015

Stuart Marconi

So last Friday on the train into Manchester I ended up sitting across the aisle from Stuart Maconie, or Stuart Marconi as Mrs M insists on calling him, principally because she loves seeing me roll my eyes despairingly. I seriously contemplated asking him for a selfie for about 10 minutes, until I remembered I was a grown-up man, and not a 16 year old of either gender. Anyway, should you be interested, he was very nicely dressed, he's surprisingly svelte below the neck, and he's got a white iPhone 6. 

But the point of mentioning that was that thinking about him now reminded me of the band Pop Will Eat Itself for some reason. Remember them? Probably not if you're under 40. Maybe I was reminded of their name because I did an Audax last Sunday, and it felt a bit I was contributing to cycling doing itself harm. Now, I'll make no bones about it, I'm the guiltiest of guilty parties here - I only did the damn ride to get a 200km Paris-Brest-Paris qualifier under my belt. I hadn't ridden my bike since last September, and I won't riding it again for some time to come, what with me being entered in the Cambridge Marathon in 5 weeks time. I was riding purely to qualify for another event, not because I really wanted to be there.

If it's any consolation to those of purer cycling credentials than me, I had a miserable time. First off, I'd forgotten what a sodding faff it is to ride a pre-set route during the winter. Overshoes, Garmin, front lights, back lights, computer, food, drink, blah blah....I made the fatal mistake of not writing down everything I needed, which meant I started with no food, no neckwarmer and a bad attitude. The morning in the sunshine was vaguely pleasant, but two punctures in the early afternoon began to sap my spirit. Add in the recurring problem of losing much of my vision on a long ride in coolish weather, a misbehaving derailleur (my fault), and a sense of overwhelming boredom, and, well I've had better days. And on Monday I paid the price of riding 200km with no riding preparation - the groinal channels either side of my Gentleman's Area were redder than a sunburned Arthur Scargill.

But to get back to the main point - there were loads of Audaxers there. Loads of 'em. Some were quite interesting, two in particular - they were doing the ride on Ellipti-trainer type bikes. Weird looking things, and the bikes weren't much different. But there were also many who just weren't in the spirit of things; not only did they not have beards nor sandals nor a tricycle, but they were riding carbon bikes with neither mudguards nor mapholders nor a gargantuan saddlebag. Hell, three years ago they'd probably have been on a golf course. There can be no greater expression of disgust on my part.

So I'm off back to the world of running for a while, but it might be time to start a counter-revolution - time to dust off that mountain bike do you reckon?......

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