"Babe....what am I going to do when this is all over?"
Only one more day to go... but I think the Frenchman is more concerned about life after the race than the race itself.
Evidently, the months of serious training and living like a hermit are beginning to take their toll (he is getting grumpy that his fast food intake has been seriously depleted; I'm getting frustrated that our fun intake has been serious depleted). However, despite this, I can see him alternating between excitement and fear of it all being over.
He has 'said' he will take a little break after tomorrow's exertions. But what was originally going to be a month or so of no cycling, has steadily decreased to a couple of weeks, then a week and then just talk about new races.
You can take the man off the bike. But you will never take the bike off the man.
They will just never let go.
I would almost go as far as to compare cycling to a drug addiction (granted, the health dangers are rather different, but people DO die from cycling :-P):
- it is the reason he gets up in the morning, the thought that gets him through work and his solice when his day has been rubbish.
- his life (and therefore my life) is organised completely around his next hit; whether it's the next training session, the next race or just a few hours 'for fun'.
- every spare penny (and even the not so spare ones) goes towards it. Far gone are the days when there was a new shirt in his wardrobe most weeks and he owned more clothes than me (at least I no longer worry too much that he is gay). Instead, our flats are fast being overtaken by bike-related paraphernalia, faster than I can tidy it away, or at least buy new shoes to balance it out a bit.
If you ever wondered why cyclists eat so much pasta, its nothing to do with the carb hit and the ease of preparation - its because it's cheap as chips and they can then save the 3000 euros for the new wheels that are only a few hundred grams lighter than the last pair.
- it often causes friction between loved ones: he can't understand why I'd rather have a lie-in than cycling; I can't understand why he'd rather go cycling than have a romantic meal with me. Life is about compromise, but when dating a cylist you just earn to give in, there's no reasoning with a man obsessed with a bike. They just aren't normal.
- he will never have fully satisfied his desire for it - there will always be a bigger and better challenge to search out: a steeper mountain to climb; a longer race or a faster time to beat.
- going cold-turkey would leave him completely and utterly lost, bewildered and probably send him round the bend.... at least for a while, until he found a new challenge.
I have no doubt that he will get on the pedestrian wagon for a week, maybe two at a push (he's missing junk food too much not to.), but I know him well and I know he'll fall off again in a couple of weeks: he's already started discussing the upcoming time-trial championships ("But babe, you don't even really like time trial?" ...... "Yeah, I know, but it's still cycling").
But this is all in the future.
First, we have the next 18 hours to get through.
Tonight, the pasta has been eaten, the bags and bikes are prepared and the alarms have been set for 4:45am. Tomorrow there's 210kms, 5 mountain passes and 7/8 hours on a bike.
He can't train anymore and I can't do anything more then kiss him goodluck, put on his yellow jersey with his name printed on the back (in the hope that he sees me), scream myself stupid (in the hope that I see him), try to take a photo as he zooms past me for a single 5 seconds in 8 hours and pray for no injuries in the horrible rain that is forecast.
And. then. it. will. be. over.
I'm not holding my breath for a huge change afterwards, apart from hoping for a bit of a break and slight change in regime, but I am looking forward to the evening where we get rip-roaringly drunk, with the bottle of vintage bubbles I've been saving for months, and absolutely no pasta on the menu.
(Given his alcohol intake in the last few months and this lack of carbs, we will no doubt be on the floor after 1 bottle and probably in bed by 9pm...)
And the Frenchman?
All he wants is a McDonalds.
P.s - The Frenchman is competing in a stage of the Tour de France TOMORROW 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!
He has trained his little French ass off for months, please give him that extra boost to get through tomorrow by giving anything you can!