This wasn’t your normal ‘lads weekend’ of booze, birds and toilet humour. But rather 100s of kilometres, tonnes of pasta and hours of bike chat.
As usual, he returned exhausted, but elated and full gossip about his fellow cyclists on the trip.
...natter natter... bike... natter natter... hill... natter natter... carbon....
(starting to glaze over slightly...)
"OH MY GOD, you should SEE this guys thighs! I don’t get it, he's older than me but so much fitter! I'm completely rubbish in comparison........."
"OH MY GOD you should SEE this guy’s bike... it’s soooo beautiful! The frame!! And the wheels, my god, the wheels! I would kill for wheels like that."
Well that woke me up.
“Babe, didn’t you just buy new wheels?!”
“When was the last time I said you didn’t need that new pair of shoes?”
Hmmm.... I don't like this strange role reversal.
But I must admit, dating a cyclist is starting to give me a bit more sympathy for the long-suffering male sex: as a group of cyclists bears an uncanny resemblance to a group of women.
A group of fashion conscious, neurotic women, with a dangerous spending habit.
For the prosecution:
1. They stare at better bikes the same way I look at anyone who walks past with a Chloé handbag: with desire, frustration and jealousy in equal parts.
2. When they’ve won, they respond to praise with complaints: how out of shape they are, how they really must train harder, how they wish they were a few kilos lighter, more toned and, obviously, faster.
3. They’re addicted to magazines: our living room contains more Velo magazines than Vogue.
4. They are the ultimate ‘clique’: If you don’t have the right bike, you’ll be laughed out of town. If you aren’t kitted out from head to foot in the latest ‘Assos’ lycra (no, apparently it’s not the same as the online clothes shop!), you won’t be taken seriously. If you don’t cycle 6 days a week, what on earth would they talk to you about?
And don’t even get me started on the leg shaving. If you turn up with unshaved legs, you might as well walk around with a neon flashing “TOURIST!” sign on your forehead.
When the Frenchman started shaving his legs (despite me voicing rather loud and strong opinions to the contrary), I was told on no uncertain terms that he cared more about what his fellow cyclists thought than his own girlfriend. The threat of never shaving mine again had absolutely no effect.
Ladies, there’s a scary new breed of females out there – except they’re meaner, leaner and even more obsessive than the rest of us.
But the worst thing?
They can eat as many carbs as they like and never get fat.
P.s - The Frenchman is competing in a stage of the Tour de France on 17 July and raising money for leukaemia research, a cause very dear to his heart - so if you read this, please, please, please take a little bit of time to sponsor him at http://laurettefugain.alvarum.net/teamrondy2011. Every little helps.
It's the French equivalent of 'Just Giving' and is very easy to donate, even from the UK!
And it'll provide me with some consolation as to why his legs are smoother than mine ;-)