Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hello World

Hi, my name is Paolo and I’m a bicyclist... among too many other things. I’ve been riding bicycles for fun, sport, for commuting to school or work for now almost 38 years. I love cruising on a bike, I’d rather be on a bicycle than in any other vehicle. It’s the cleanest, most efficient mean of transportation ever devised. And I can’t get enough of it.

However, I often feel like I’m a jack of all trades-- master of none. Because of this, and many other reasons, I have decided to scare myself into accomplishing something bigger than I usually would consider. Something that might appear trivial to many, but that I just know I would not be able to attain without dedication, commitment, passion and sacrifice.

I have thus decided this year to take on the 10th stage of the Tour the France, which includes the mighty climb of the Tourmalet. I will join l’Etape du Tour, fight my way up and down the Pyrenees, and arrive to destination, alive if at all possible.

Before anything else, allow me to list the reason why I shouldn’t do it:
  • I will be soon 42, I can’t climb to save my life (for instance, if chased by a group of rhinoceros, unlikely but not impossible event). There are no serious mountains around here where I could train.
  • I’m horrible on the flats too: I have two disk problems (cervical C5-C6 and lumbar, L5-S1) that prevent me from taking a good aerodynamic position, and hurt on long rides.
  • I have no endurance. I’m dead in the water after two hours on the bike. After three I can barely sit to gulp down my pasta. After four my whole body starts trembling uncontrollably and all my muscles feel like jell-o. Five hours, I suspect, might lead to an early (albeit glorious) demise.
  • I just own an old aluminum clunker, a touring bike which I bought because of its unique (at the time) upright position.
  • I have no time to prepare. There never is, really, but I’m starting with little more than four months to go to the event, and I don’t even know where to start.
  • I have not and cannot afford power meters or other expensive equipment. All my budget is going into paying for the trip itself.

Will I make it? Will I even get to France without crashing and burning during training? Will I die on on the climbs or suffer the indignity of the SAG van (”la voiture balai”)? Stay tuned to find out!

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