I had my gym induction today. The gym had a curious mix of young and old, male and female, all earnestly running, cycling, pushing, stretching and particularly sweating. No one seemed to be enjoying it. Paddy introduced himself – not an obvious gym monkey – and took a keen interest in the singular reason for my appearance at his gym. He has done this kind of thing before, which is reassuring, and talked me through the program that he recommended. The conversation lapsed into gym jargon a little – reps, core strength, balance, blah, blah – and I zoned out a bit. Eventually we got to the ‘Kaiser’ bike (me neither) and after a few minute’s warm-up I had to ’empty it’ for 30 seconds. The first 27 seconds were fine but by the final 3 the lactic acid (more gym jargon) kicked in. 625 Watts, apparently. I have no idea what that means but I’ll be Googling the shit out of it later.

I’ll need to do this for 10 minutes and then use an array of machines for 30 minutes plus, two to three times a week. I can wait.

In other news, a teacher at school passed me the biography of Tom Simpson who died on the very climb that we will be attempting in 4 and-a-bit months. The title recalls his dying words – ‘Put me back on my bike’. Indeed…


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