i've just endured, and i mean that most sincerely, yet another weekend ensconced in the innards of my islay home, not even making it out to the vc port wemyss service de corse (the bike shed). with gale force winds both saturday and sunday, along with copious amounts of rain and hailstones, it was deemed a mite impractical by none other than the directeur sportif himself, that we attempt to go for the sunday constitutional.
in an effort to accomplish secret training, i had also been prepsred to don all the assos winter gear i could find and let the colnago take me out on saturday, but even that was doomed to failure. and while you would perhaps think this to be a pretty ususal state of affairs on islay in the winter months, up until now, you would have been wide of the mark.
in the past four or so years, i have successfully managed to ride at least once every weekend throughout the entire year, barring the odd trip away, rarely hindered by the weather, but on the basis of the last few weeks, this could be the winter to upset that entirely. looks like i could end up like jan ullrich (in the winter, not the summer). why, even the ds hasn't pedalled in anger for about five weeks.
so when the comic, and theother mags start arriving with articles and advertisements for warm, dry, hilly cycle training camps, usually hosted by a grand figure from the former world of cycle sport, the inner cogs of the head start to turn - very quickly. pictures of attractive spanish or italian villages with red-tiled roofs with a long snake of colourful cyclists on expensive bicycles wending their way through the streets - sorry, got carried away there.
these winter/spring training camps also offer everything for the non-cyclist, mainly, i should imagine, so that those of us with spouse, offspring or girlfriend/boyfriend in tow, will feel less guilty about covering 100 - 150k each day and leaving the aforesaid back at the hotel. i've even found a cycle friendly hotel in italy offering colnago bike hire, since they are, apparently, a colnago test centre (and why can't i be one of those?).
so why, if such matters pervade the washingmachinepost psyche, haven't i booked, or, more to the point, why isn't this issue of the post being typed on a powerbook while sipping fresh orange juice on the veranda of an spanish hacienda?
well for one thing, there's the money aspect of it all. while i have no quibble with the prices offered by the two main trip organisers in the uk, or indeed many of the individuals who run such establishments in these warmer climes, but the cost and practicality of getting on/off the island, adds somewhat to the cost, and detracts slightly from the value. since flying anywhere from islay costs a fair bit of money, and the coach to glasgow is less than keen to carry bicycles, it becomes hard to justify the costs of attending any of these places considering, i'm not actually training for anything.
however, athought occurred in the past couple of weeks that would acquire the necessary and provide a service to other cyclists. reading an interview with johan museeuw the other day, he refereed to the fact that training in belgium, holland et al produced the proverbial 'hard-men' of cycling because there is the ever present wind and rain blowing in off the north sea, and it's training under these conditions that makes them ideal for the spring classics. now i'm always reading about how british cyclists ought to get themselves over to belgium for the weekend to partake in some of the local racing in order to boost their ability. and i then read some of same cyclists reporting that they did so, and received a 'kicking' because racing in belgium and holland is so fast and hard, that they were unprepared.
so i'm going to start a traing camp for british cyclists who wish to race in northern europe. how can it fail? there is nothing between islay and canada's west coast with the prevailing wind blowing in off the atlantic pretty much all year round, but very much more so at the moment. so those who wish to train to compete on a level with the belgians can slog their way round the roads of islay, which are relatively flat, but in such appalling condition that paris-roubaix and the tour of flanders will seem like racing on a motorway by comparison. and i'll set the fees just high enough to enable myself and the colnago to jet off to warmer climes just after.
now where's my local enterprise agency
this website got its name because scotland's graeme obree built his championship winning 'old faithful' using bits from a defunct washing machine.
on a slightly different note, my regular reader will have noted the addition of a 'colnago c40' rollover to the left. this contains a reprint of a recent article featured in cycle sport magazine, which they were very kind to let me present here (because i'm a colnago geek) i have also found an excellent review of the colnago c40hp here
i have been asked to add the following link to the post by wheelygoodcause. they're a cycling club dedicated to arranging epic rides for charity and do not charge charities for the pleasure. They ride because they want to. here's the link.
Remember, you can still read the review of 'the dancing chain' the utterly excellent book on the history of the derailleur bicycle by clicking here
any of the books reviewed on the washing machine post can probably be purchased from amazon.co.uk or amazon.com
as always, if you have any comments on this nonsense, please feel free to e-mail and thanks for reading.
this column almost never appears in the dead tree version of the ileach but appears, regular as clockwork on this website every two weeks. (ok so i lied) sometimes there are bits added in between times, but it all adds to the excitement.
on a completely unrelated topic, ie nothing to do with bicycles, every aspect of the washing machine post was created on apple macintosh powerbook g4, and imac computers, using adobe golive 6 and adobe photoshop 7. needless to say it is also best viewed on an apple macintosh computer.