That is the question...
Like many other armchair Tour de France enthusiasts I'm slowly becoming more glued to ITV 4 and the regular twitter feeds off Team Sky in and around 4.00pm every day. Will it be Froome's year? Will Albert have eaten the wrong beef? What was Wiggo's real reason for quitting the tour? How does Cav really do it? Are they really doing Alpe d'Huez twice in the same day? This is the tip of the iceberg to my newfound language. This is a language that sends 99% of people to sleep, a language neither sexy or one that is easily understood. The language of cycling is taking over. I'm by no means fluent and sometimes get lost with phrases like ' his numbers are good this year' or 'he did that without any lead-out man' What I do know is that there is no going back and who knows where it will end?
What started off as an inexperienced crack at the Etape du Tour four years ago has turned into a mild obsession that is a bit like a caffeine addiction. Yes I can go without it but I'm much better with it. I was never going to wear Lycra shorts ok, never! I was never going to use cleats and I would never travel abroad with the sole intention of cycling. Never say never, that's what I say. I have been swept away by a tidal wave of carbon and bib-shorts. What my attempt at the Etape (a annual stage of the actual Tour du France open to cyclists like me) told me was that I could do this sport forever. It will look after me long after my 5 a-side boots are hung up and long after I cease to run and just jog. Cycling is the healer of all known ills that man faces. Whatever the problem, three hours on the bike and it is a whole new positive world we live in.
Cycling in many ways has exploded in the last five years, thanks to the likes of Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Brad, Mark Cavendish and Vicky Pendleton, all national treasures in their own Lycra and all massive role models for hundreds of thousands of cyclists.
Over the next few weeks I'm going to explore the cycling phenomenon that is sweeping the UK. I'll be showing you how to improve your fitness and what choices to make when it comes to starting and progressing in the sport.
I'm awaiting a late place on the Ride London 100 on 4 August and will attempt to train up for this over the next month. If there are any charities out there with places let me know, as I'd happily raise money for a good cause.
Right now with an impending heat wave, lots of training in front of me and swanky new kit all round I'm debating the pro's and con's of shaving my legs. This is the next level of the cyclist's language, this means I'm serious and have to have all the gear and some idea. My other half is cool with it, she say's I have great legs, she would. Not sure she will have that same enthusiasm when we are fighting over the last sharp razor. I understand the professional view of this, that should I fall off I'd get the grit out of my gash a bit quicker so to speak. I'm still not sure and it's one of those things that once you commit you have to be all in. Should I wax them, now there's a thought?
Either way, I reckon it would focus the mind and I'd feel like a professional, for five minutes at least.
So here we go on the next level, what ever that maybe and wherever it may take me.
Follow Steve Halsall on Twitter: www.twitter.com/myfitnessguru