Cyclo-therapy: 'The ‘Géant de Provence’ is synonymous with broken men. Even Armstrong calls it tough'
Saturday 09 May 2009
The other day, Lance Armstrong picked up his children from school in his Texas hometown, where it was raining. How do I know this boring fact? Because the cancer-beating cyclist is a prolific "lifecaster" with 730,000 followers on the micro-blogging site Twitter. On the day of writing, I also know he voted in local elections and, slightly more interestingly, was interviewed by Michael J Fox.
Of course, Lance also "tweets" about cycling. Here's a recent post from Aspen, where Team Armstrong has a house: "Kids = skiing. Dad = biking". A photo of the clan in the snow shows kids in ski jackets but dad wearing winter bike gear. Admirable stuff.
On the same day, I too was in the mountains but had downed wheels for a week's skiing. Fine, I hear you say, I don't have sponsors who forbid leg-breaking sports. And anyway, I'm not training for the Tour de France. But, wait, I am.
Well, sort of. On 20 July, I'm taking part in the Tour's amateur stage, L'Etape du Tour. Five days before the pros get their chance, thousands of masochistic all-comers will pedal up the fearsome Mont Ventoux.
The "Géant de Provence", which rises out of lavender fields to finish in a barren moonscape of sunbaked limestone, is synonymous with sweat and broken men. It's where the British cyclist Tom Simpson died in 1967, and even Armstrong calls it the toughest climb on the Tour.
I'll be cycling as part of the four-man Team Independent. Readers of the cyclotherapy blog (link below) have followed our early preparation for the 107-mile slog with its summit finish.
Now our date with destiny is alarmingly close. That's why I felt like I, too, should have been grinding up mountains, leaving the family to ski down them.
I got back in one piece but a ride the following day confirmed my fears – why does skiing seem to do nothing for bike fitness? Not helped by a cold picked up at a French youth hostel, I was forced to cut short a piddling Kent circuit.
It's going to take some Lance-like dedication to be ready for the Ventoux. It's a good thing the ski season's over. From now on – no excuses.
firstname.lastname@example.org or see independent.co.uk/cyclotherapy
Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again
...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought
Green village to be bulldozed and mined for lignite in Germany's quest for non-nuclear fuel
35,000 walruses huddle for safety in Alaska as sea ice melts
47 per cent of London is green space: Is it time for our capital to become a national park?
Monarch butterfly: Single gene holds key to understanding 3,000 mile migration feat
Conjoined gray whale calves discovered in Mexican lagoon could be world's first ever documented find, experts say
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 4 Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: We have opportunities for Cov...
£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to tea...
£25000 - £30000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£26000 - £28000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...