Yesterday I had lunch with Steve Moore, chief executive of the Big Society Network.
He tells me that the Government is scratching its head over the Olympic legacy, and he’s been drafted in to sort it out. It’s not the future of the buildings so much, as delivering Olympic zeal coursing through society. What about all those gold medal winners? I thought that we are all charging off to the gym now, hoping to emulate Jessica Ennis. Isn’t that some form of legacy? Not so, apparently. Probably quite sensibly, most people regard Ennis and co as superhuman. Self-belief comes from looking at efforts a bit more close to home, says Moore.
“You can be more inspired by your son, or neighbour doing something, than by Mo Farah.”
On this basis the inhabitants of chez Millard are about to be knocked out by the sterling efforts of Mr Millard, who has just joined the club popularly known as Middle Aged Men In Lycra (MAMIL).
Last Sunday, he and about 5000 others got up at 8 am to pledge entry for the Welsh Dragon, a hellish race more ferocious than the Etape, the fearful section of the Tour de France which is annually reserved for mortals. The Dragon involves 206 km of track and some 3350 metres of climbing through the Brecon Beacons. “This is not a leisure ride”, warns the blurb. It certainly is not. Which is why training for next June must start now.
For the first outing as a competitor my dear spouse arrays himself in a plethora of brightly coloured Lycra, featuring zips, webbing, pouches, poppers and elastic. MAMIL like their gizmos, and these clothes are bursting with them.
In the style of Bradley Wiggins he descends into our hallway and watched by an array of silent children, clambers into his special Racing Shoes and gets his new Racing Bike out, ready for his first training ride with our neighbour Ben. Who is very fit and has done the Dragon twice.
“Bye then,” he says, nervously. “We’re off to Essex.”
“Where’s that?” says the youngest.
“A long way away,” I say. “God speed!”
Three hours, and some 60 miles later they return. It is midday. Mr Millard clatters into the house and goes straight to bed. Where he remains huddled under a duvet for at least an hour. I run a hot bath and order him to get up. Forget man flu. This is MAMIL flu.
Either way, I have no time for it. I dread to think it might descend on our home until June. I ring Ben’s doughty wife. “I have told Ben that he is very welcome to train for the Dragon. But only on condition he has to come back from his training rides and resume his role as a father and a husband, immediately.”
I relay this to Mr Millard through the bathroom door. He groans in response. Thanks, Wiggo.
Give me a fat friend any day
Laydeez, we must ditch friends who bang on about their weight. Or so say academics in Canada. Taking into account the fact that everyone in North America talks about weight all the time, their study finds that if we surround ourselves with mates who moan on about having fat legs or a fat bum, we will end up feeling negative about ourselves. Well, sometimes. If you have a colossal friend there is always a bit of inward smugness that, at least you are sufficiently organised to get to your Zumba classes. I hate to say it but of all my friends, it is the gorgeous stick-thin ones who make me feel like reaching for the Nutella jar.