Training done, bike cleaned, punctures repaired and the start is suddenly very close.

Time to take the bike apart to find that squeak

Time to take the bike apart to find that squeak

Not long to go now, and today was to be my last proper ride before heading to Nice. I got 20km before a puncture, fixed it but immediately had a second flat, not 20 metres down the road! I’m not sure what I did wrong the first time but took extra care to check everything as I put the new tube in… and in the process fed about 30 mosquitoes. I now have a few bites that are itchy and one that’s swollen up along half of my arm! First puncture on this bike, after 2000km, and then I get two at once.

So that didn’t go so well. Rather now than next week, for sure. I’m hoping this is the cycling version of that last rehearsal that turns into a farce before the grand opening.

Suddenly it’s all very close. I think I’m as ready as I can be, and I’ve hit my targets in training. I’m lightest I’ve been since about age 15, I’m reaching the power output I’d hoped for, and in fact the combination is better than I’d hoped, with my hour threshold power at 4.25 W/kg. Above all it’s feeling great – I even had fun this week stretching to breaking point two friends who were comfortably stronger than me last year! The bike feels comfortable (apart from that damn creaking in the cranks!) and after a few weeks of worry about an overused tendon swelling in my ankle, it seems fine now and hopefully manageable if it happens again.

As I wind down into a taper week, the Haute Route Pyrenees started today. It’s been exciting to see them get going on the twitters and facebooks before I go to the Alps. Judging by the gorgeous landscapes on their first daily video, there’s a chance this might have to be the next one!

  • Live tracking, photos and a daily video will be here: Haute Route Live
  • My bib number is 2050

In one week I’ll be registered for the start, will have picked up a load of new kit and met the people I’ll spend the next week racing, both on the bike and in quantity of pasta we can eat, and I’ll have one last sleep in Nice before heading up into the Alps. A week later and it’ll all be all over in Geneva, where I suspect I’ll barely be able to walk.