“That’s a big dead badger” said Pete. It looked like a bestriped dog. It wasn’t quite the biggest badger I’d seen fatally stricken by arsewipe motorists, but it was quite hefty. It joins the ranks of beautiful wildlife deaths I have seen over these Velonaut years, which mainly consists of small rodents, a bee I once squished, several butterflies that met my full force of climb on Col de Menté (Mintiest Col In The France™), nineteen and a half badgers, the occasional fox, and just lately, quite a lot of pheasants. Murder roads, like I always say.
HC and I had spent yesterday at a wedding. I was shitfaced last night, of course, but it was not on the rasbo bellinis and rosé; instead, it was a sugar hangover that I faced this morning. Whilst HC rolled over and groaned because of the industrial quantities of sugar clogging up her aorta, I, master-digester and sugarlovin’ bastard that I am, had churned it up into RP-1 LOX and woken up, wild eyed, at 6.50am. Due to meet Omar and Pete at the Glass Mountain for 09.00, I realised that I couldn’t hold the fuel in, it required a magical self-destructive B U R N. I sent a telegram to Pete declaring that I was out, 08.00, eating landscape, killing fucking badgers and chasing bastard pheasants. Pure unadulterated sugar fury frenzy. Anyone who denies themselves this occasional glory (and let’s not overlook the solid espresso pot I had consumed at breakfast) is a fool. I broke the sound barrier coming over Purley Way, eating flies, tucked in like a speed-egg. I couldn’t get enough of the climbs. I flew up Woldingham ridge and doubled back, enjoying the solar tailwinds and rendez-vousing with the TEAM as they conquered Skid Hill. I’d put 20-odd miles in the legs already, and knew, deep down in the liquid kerosene core, that I would last forever. That this, ambrosia-fuelled or not, was F O R M. The miles fell. We all burned; Pete’s climbing is insanely quick and steady, Omar’s downhill pace is terrifying, and we laughed and piss-took our ways around the Toys Massif. By Spitfire, we sat, Omar satisfying his meat fetish with a glorious-looking bacon sandwich (the kind that almost tempts me back toward the PIG but not quite, not q u i t e).
I had three digestives. Pete swigged gatorade like the nutrition pimp he is.
Henri Pelissier won the Tour in 1923, and pretty much everything else he ever entered. Everyone said he was a sonofabitch, and that seems to be well corroborated in the stories that abound. My favourite concerns his training regime. He would train with his rivals, the cycle circuit being fairly close knit in those days. Arranging a time to meet, Pelissier would tell his comrades that they should relax a little, keep the pace down and just enjoy themselves. Unbeknownst to them, Henri had woken up at dawn, put three solid hours of uber-training in, and was more than happy to take it easy with his competitors. It’s no wonder he won the big races. The guy was a machine, and nobody ever understood why. Sneaky bastard.