Day Ninety Six: Eduardo’s Road To Fitness

I was 25 metres below the surface, the deepest I had dived to without a tank on my back. I thought to myself, ‘I guess this makes me a free-diver’. I had a quick look around and noticed a Barracuda, poised like a jet fighter off to my right. It was watching me. Below me, the wall that marked the edge of the reef, dropped away into a dark, purple abyss. It was time for me to head back to the surface. I was trying to keep calm, to be conservative, to make my last breath, taken almost three minutes ago, last as long as possible. The surface looked a long way up and the Barracuda was distracting me.

Recently on a bike ride I thought exactly the same thing. Well not exactly, but the bit about keeping calm, to be conservative, I thought of that. I wasn’t deep below the surface of the ocean in Curacao but tucked in behind a couple of race fit cyclists that were tearing along the coast road, with me for company.

You only had to look at their legs to get an inkling of how fit these guys were; not an ounce of fat, with veins the size of McDonalds straws, muscles that looked as if they were about to burst free of their tanned skin. These guys cycled a lot. I was, quite possibly, out of my depth.

My ride had started out as a sole effort, a nice steady ride along the coast. All was going to plan until I was overtaken at the entry to an intersection by a team of guys that would have given Astana a run for their money in the team time trial at the Tour de France. So what did I do? Watch them race off and continue on my merry way? No. I accelerated and jumped onto the wheel of the last guy in the line. Ten minutes later on I was cursing my competitive nature.

I paid the price for my exuberance and suffered horribly for the next half an hour. I woke up the next day with sore legs and wondered if they would recover in time for my jaunt across the Pyrenees with the cycling club.

We were all set for a ride across the Pyrenees into France. I had a plan. It called for some smart riding on my part. Conservation of energy was the key. I smiled as I thought about how similar it was to free-diving. The only thing missing was a four foot long Barracuda.

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