Pre-ambly type stuff
04.06.2008 - 05.06.2008 25 °C
Certain unlucky idiots may remember that at some point last year, after limping for about 4months as part of “recovery” from a certain French cycle event that had been at least partially undertaken, that I swore that i would never partake in such an event again.
Thus in April, when i was told i was heading off to Italy cycling, I paid no attention. Until i realised that my boss (read: big, biiiig boss of company) had already booked tickets and accomodation for me. At that point, i started to get slightly unnerved. They had been generous enough not to book me on one of those flying-metal-tube-with-wing thingies (there are certain limits which even the really big bosses accept), but otherwise it was fait accompli.
I discussed things with one of my surgeons (the one who had told me on no account to ever do anything like that again, and who only found out that I went to france because somebody - i've yet to determine who – snitched) and who looked as though he wished he had a handy Siberian alt mine to send me to instead. A couple of old team mates simply laughed. There has long been an underground group of people who have delighted in, or so it seems, my constant pain and misery, many of whom magically came out of the woodwork to enjoy the moment. I've heard there is even a membership to be paid and a waiting list to join of several years.
But how bad could it really be, I asked myself? After all, I survived France, kind of, without it causing me more than 6months or so pain, so a few days in Italy should be a doddle, right? I thus started looking a bit deeper at the plans. The group was to be roughly the same as last year, minus one or two of the faster guys. And it had been planned to be done from a central base with 4 day trips. This was indeed excellent news. It means that unlike the previous years trip, it was easy to opt out of a days ride, or cut one short – you didn't have to continue to the bitter end (or be homeless). And the days had been planned to be a bit shorter, and total cost would be much less. Great, i thought.
And then. Then. Almost imperceptibly, lots of small things starting happening. People began to drop out. First the very same biiiig boss suspiciously had to suddenly be in the US instead, and dropped out. This mean't that i suddenly lost brown nosing opportunities and brownie points. He was replaced by my Project manager, Tony. I like Tony, I really do. But he is my boss, and a non cyclist but still fairly fit, and thus I can't really win. If he does much better than me (which in my current state, will not be hard), I won't hear the end of it – i'm still hearing about Johnny Wilkinson's drop goal – and if i do better than him, it's expected. Plus it means i will get to hear about work on a regular basis, which is something i don't particularly want to. I then got to examine the hotel, location and route plans a bit more to discover that we are actually going to be staying in a very lumpy area, with some of those spiky things /I think they are called the Alps) very nearby and to be climbed.
Then three further people dropped out within a couple of days of each other, the last only 2 days before we left, and including both bus drivers. And though we had gained one, we were down to 8, and I was now going to have to drive home as well, subjecting myself to – at a guess – 18 or so hours stuck in a van with my boss, trying to drive long distances when i'm expecting to be half crippled, and, worse, missing out on catching up with some friends in Munich for a few beers and two Euro 08 games (I had cunningly booked my original trip home so include such a stop off, and to ensure i didn't miss any football). And less people means the price was rapidly going up. Drat. Drat. Drat.
Then my hospital appointment got cancelled, meaning i couldn't get my lungs and chest emptied. It is a long term problem i've had and I was due anyway, but whilst i can survive another year or so of normal life, it is absolute necessity before any kind of vaguely serious activity. Like climbing mountains. I have one potential chance left, but if not, it means my breathing abilities will be severely hampered.
The final fun bit of news was that constant checks of the forecast shows Sweden to be continuing with it's gloriously sunny, warm, and clear blue sky weather, whilst Bergamo shows 70% chance of rain every day, and a forecast of lots of Thunder storms. Now i like both rain and mountains, and in my prime would have enjoyed nothing more, but as i get increasingly old and crippled, climbing mountains in the pissing rain and thunderstorm, with no knees, only one ankle and barely being able to breathe, whilst my boss is shooting up the road and laughing at me, is not really my idea of fun anymore.
This could be a long few days.