power outpur reputedly declines with age, a factor that is difficult to quantify because more often than not, the need for cycling power seems also to proportionately diminish. i can recall the halcyon days of yore when there would be no barrier to my popping out on a saturday morning, ready and willing to complete two laps of a 50km circuit before adding a few more kilometres en route to debbie's for froth and lunch. even returning mid-afternoon to settle in front of eurosport for a daily helping of giro, tour or vuelta seemed to elicit no disparaging remarks from mrs washingmachinepost.
or perhaps that was never true, but the intervening years have added more than an appreciable rosy tint to proceedings.
it rarely happens like that anymore; there's always shopping to contend with. apparently that's what saturdays are for, but never in a one size fits all sort of manner. if we pop down really early to avoid the saturday morning crowds (yes, bowmore has its crowds, relatively speaking), there's close to not very much on the shelves. leave it till later, after the ferry has arrived and those selfsame shelves have been filled (another relative term), and the process takes considerably longer due to those massive crowds all doing the same thing. (i may have exaggerated slightly).
the outset of all this accumulated palaver is that, while those kilometres are attacked with what i like to think is the same degree of gusto, there are fewer of them to attack, particularly in the earlier part of the year when it tends to get darker sooner. take into consideration the endless rain and galeforce winds that inhabited at least the first three months of this year, and i believe we may have been looking at an altogether different sport.
but saturday past was, if you'll pardon the cliche, a bit of a blast from the past. i'm not at home this week, because i'm over here, soon to be joined by mrs washingmachinepost, therefore there was no salient reason to spend saturday morning in the average market. which, assuming you're all paying attention, left a few more kilometres to be attended to. naturally enough, after a week of warmth and sun, the weekend was filled with precipitation, announcing itself the minute i stepped out the back door.
however, when you've promised yourself all those lovely kilometres, there's no way a few drops of rain are going to get in the way, so eighty kilometres it was after all.
we've all been there; several km from the coffee stop, and already the aroma of freshly ground coffee and visualisations of that creamy froth atop a large mug or feeding trough provides the very encouragement needed to contend with wind and rain. add to that a need for a feed, most often satisfied by a cheese, onion and tomato toastie. i'm sure mark cavendish trains the very same way.
except on reaching debbie's, it was calmly but apologetically announced that the cupboard was bare of cheese. you can imagine the distraught look upon my dampened visage. add to that the fact that the individual sent out to acquire emergency supplies seemed to have forgotten the way home, and you have a damp cyclist, warmed by the long desired coffee but with a rumbly tummy. fortunately i had had the foresight to stuff a multipower fruit bar in one of my rear pockets.
it was interesting to read recently that one of the reasons marco pantani took so much time out of jan ullrich in the 1998 tour de france was almost down to edibles. telekom's nutritional supplies were provided by powerbar, an energy snack that is hard enough to consume at the best of times, but in freezing conditions assumed the format of a brick. pantani, on the other hand, devoured a variety of marmalade filled paninis; easily consumed no matter the ambient temperature.
same goes for multipower's fruit bars which resemble an amalgam of rice krispies and dried fruit.
of course, i have drastically simplified their constitution. the fruit content, depending on flavour (tropical or original) reaches as high as 65%, while a single 40g bar offers a mere 1.5 grams of fat. so, when there's no cheese toastie on offer, you've already ridden 65 of those 80km and there's still the wet ride home to endure, a multipower energy bar hits the spot pretty much bang on. in fact, despite a headwind and increasing rain, i managed to pop the colnago into the big ring and give it a bit of welly up uiskentuie strand, almost as far as blackrock.
did i really say energy demands decrease with age?
multipower fruit bars are the official energy bar of the giro d'italia and can be purchased online in boxes of two dozen for £34.99. multipower fruit bars
tuesday 20 may 2014..........................................................................................................................................................................................................