Day Thirty Eight: Eduardo’s Road To Fitness

A good friend of mine, Heinz Stucke once ate a whole sheep at one sitting.  OK so it was a baby lamb but it is still pretty impressive.  Less so if you are devout vegetarian.  Heinz was in Argentina, touring on his bicycle.  He had not eaten for almost four days.  He was camped out when a group of shepherds arrived with a flock of sheep.  They killed one and began to cook it over an open fire.  After a while they began talking to Heinz and offered him a lamb chop.  He practically inhaled it.  So they gave him another.  In the end, they gave him the whole sheep.  He ate all of it and stayed put for four days whilst he digested it.

Heinz and I first met in Hong Kong, whilst I was working at a bicycle shop, called the Flying Ball Bicycle Company.  I used to help out in the off-season when not racing, to earn a few pennies and was sponsored by the shop during the season.  We used to get a lot of cycle tourists passing through the shop, on the pancake trail through SE Asia.

Doing what he loves most....riding his bike.

Doing what he loves most....riding his bike.

A couple of young, Dutch guys were in the shop, boasting about how they had been travelling for six months, when they spotted Heinz rummaging through a box of nuts and bolts.  They asked him how long he had been on the road.  Heinz casually said ‘Hmmm…about forty-seven years’.  They fell to the ground and worshipped him after that.

Heinz left his home town of Hovelhof, in Germany when he was his early twenties and decided to see the world by bicycle.  He has not stopped and has extensively visited every country on this planet. He is still on his bike and is still touring.
Anyway back to the baby lamb.  Yesterday I took it upon myself to try to do another ninety-minute run.  I wanted to see how I would handle it after my three hour bike ride the day before.  I handled it. Just.  Running is strange, in that within the space of those ninety minutes I went through two or three separate bad patches, times when I felt like packing it in and walking to the nearest shady tree and lying down.  One just has to push on through these bad patches because afterwards you will feel right as rain. On the bike I might go through one bad patch but never three or four on the same ride.  The lamb.  Right, where was I? I was starving and was thinking about what I would eat given the choice.  A whole lamb was rather appealing but unfortunately there were no generous shepherds in my neck of the woods so I made do with a mountain of pasta with grilled vegetables.

After lunch I bundled the girls into the car and drove up and over the ridge to a place called Montornes del Valles to watch Rosie race in a seventy kilometre circuit race.  Once again she was racing against the Vet (40+) Men, which makes it really tough for the girls.  She did well to hang in on the tough, hilly circuit.  The race set off at a fast pace, straight from the start, with a flurry of attacks taking place.  The course had been lengthened over that of the previous year, to include a nasty drag of a climb that came after the steep leg breaker just before the final turn to the finish line.

The racing is Spain is superb. There are different classifications within the Veteran classes, with divisions being ten years apart right up to the sixty year age groups. The standard is very high and some of those old boys are really fit. I am sure they would embarrass many a younger cyclist.

All the latest equipment was on display from light weight carbon frames, to expensive deep section wheels.  It made me smile to see the crowd watching, hanging out of their windows, perched on walls, up in trees, anyplace to gain a better view.  Cycling is ingrained in the people, the old folks wandered out to watch and cheer and the women screamed encouragement to their husbands as they raced around and around.

All along the race circuit little bars filled up with people, sitting outside they drank their beer and watched the race go by. Each one providing their own commentary, praising or criticizing the tactics being employed by the riders.  It was arm-chair commentary at its finest.

In the end the two strongest riders managed to escape from the bunch after a series of strong attacks on the climb.  Working well together they slowly extended their lead before going head to head in the sprint.  It made me want to race so much seeing them fly by and am really looking forward to next season.  I think I will try to watch a few more races as I find it keeps me focussed on what I want to do.

Teeth Clenched these riders fight to stay with the group

I have summarised my training for the last two weeks as a few of you wanted a quick overview, so here it is:

  • day one 40 min run
  • day two: 90 min run & 35 min swim
  • day three:  2 hour bike ride
  • day four: 40 min run
  • day five: rest
  • day six: rest
  • day seven 1 1/2 hour bike ride followed by 40 min run
  • day eight: 2 hour bike ride
  • day nine: rest
  • day 10: 35 min run followed by 1 3/4 hour ride with 4 x hill repeats
  • day 11: rest
  • day 12: 3 hour bike ride
  • day 13: 95 minute run
  • day 14: active recovery cycle ride

On Monday I have a hard road ride planed.  I intend to tackle a route that will take in four difficult climbs. It should work up quite an appetite.  Not quite a baby lamb sized appetite but one that Heinz Stucke would be proud of.

I leave you with a photo from the race yesterday of an old chap that came out to watch the race.  Was he an racer in his youth? I never asked him…

Never Too Old To Watch A Bike Race

Never Too Old To Watch A Bike Race

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