First of all thank you for all the messages I received this last week making sure I was OK. I only suffered mild symptoms, no more than you would expect from a cold, I am one of the lucky ones, I have seen and read so many stories of those who have lost their lives or suffer from long COVID, to get away so lightly is really fortunate. The irony with COVID is when you test Positive, you are filled with Negative thoughts and when you test Negative the Positivity returns. On Thursday following my second negative test I was more positive than ever and raring to go, but getting back to the long miles would not have been sensible, just a short spin of the legs – 50K to make sure there were no lasting effects, there was just the one – I lost my sense of smell !
With a good refresher ride done it was back to training and what better way to get back out on the road than with a whole new image – On Friday my The Tour 21 training kit arrived from Santini SMS. They, Cure Leukaemia and The Tour 21 have really come up with a great design, I’ve included some pictures and I hope you like it as much as I do. The quality and comfort is absolutely brilliant, if anyone is thinking of new gloves – try Santini, they are so unbelievably comfortable. Friday was a wet day, so I tried the kit out on Zwift, on Saturday it was out on the road for the first time in my new kit. Andy and I rode to Malvern, about 20 miles away and while Andy rode up to a café I did a lap of the hills before meeting him at FAUN, a café that has only recently opened and somewhere we’ve never tried before. We weren’t disappointed, a lovely coffee and quiche, and the owner was interested in his customers – he noticed Andy’s bike, a Chesini from Verona, a brand he (and for that matter not many others) had ever seen, he seamed pretty impressed. After lunch it was back to Bromsgrove, with a little bit of a tail wind, a total of just under 95 kilometres. We didn’t push it too much, even mild COVID drains you and the last thing I wanted was to do too much on my first long ride.
Sunday was Redditch Road and Path Cycle Club Reliability ride and after missing the Bromsgrove Reliability Ride last week I was determined to take part. The three routes offer a good selection for different abilities, Andy rode the 70k and I rode the 108K with a small group from V-Sprint which included Mike Hopkins from last years Tour 21 Challenge. Our group were first back in the 108K, and Andy was first back in the 70K. (As an added bonus – My sense of smell returned, it the first time I’ve been pleased to smell cow manure !!). It was good to be back riding at pace in a group, even better that I was in my new kit, which is very distinctive, if you see me riding around post a picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, Cure Leukaemia and I would love to know what you think. If I’m stopped for coffee please come up and say hello and have a chat.
One last thing, off the bike, South and City College Birmingham invited me to their Apprentice Awards. An evening of celebration for companies that support the college by offering apprentice places, and to recognise the achievements of the apprentices themselves. What an inspirational evening, every one of the winners were so deserving and were given wise words of advice and praise from tutors and employers. Mike Hopkins is the Principle SCCB, with his experience of the Tour ride last year he is able to advise me on how I should train and what to expect, at the age of 60 I didn’t expect to be an apprentice myself, but if I perform half as well as the winners of the awards on Saturday night I will have done well.