A Morning in the Life of a Steely Thighed Cyclist

0505: Wake up needing the toilet. Hold it in.
0515: Alarm. Switch off with eyes tightly shut.
0520: Open eyes. Stretch out back in child’s pose on air mattress. Fantasise about a spa day. Search for glasses.
0525: Struggle into shorts from yesterday. They are damp. Start packing away unused sleeping bag. Keep searching for glasses.
0530: Pack away sleeping mat and other camping detritus in hope of finding glasses.
0535: Emerge from the tent into the morning dew. Wipe hands on grass and rub into face. Fetch shovel and biodegradable toilet paper from Calypso (the van) and find a suitable patch of ground for the morning constitutional. On the way back, make a cursory hunt for glasses.
0536: FIND GLASSES! Conclude that today will be a good day.
0540: Pull out the gas hobs to make porridge for 15 people with cinnamon, dates, nuts and banana.
0600: Eat sufficient porridge for the first 60km of cycling. Enough to make standing up uncomfortable and sitting down impossible.
0610: Throw bowl into a bucket for the wash up team. Jealously guard one’s own titanium spork.
0615: Grab the shovel and biodegradeable toilet paper for, etc.. Realise that you’ve left your glasses somewhere. Conclude that today will be a complete horror show.
0620: Dismantle tent, shaking out the dew in a futile attempt to combat the overpowering smell of damp for tonight. Discover that, no matter which way you roll the flysheet, it mathematically cannot fit inside the bag. Resume hopeless search for glasses.
0630: Prepare bike for the day’s ride. Discover a slow puncture, and fix same.
0635: Pull on a damp t-shirt, damp socks, damp shoes and damp cycling cap. Complete the look with a damp helmet and inappropriate prescription sunglasses.
0640: Fill pannier bag with last night’s leftover dinner for lunch, hoping that it won’t go fizzy by lunchtime (it will).
0641: FIND GLASSES! Conclude that today will be a good day, and that happiness is not found in life’s vicissitudes, but in how you face them.
0645: Leave camp with a spring in your saddle for a 140km ride into the unknown…

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David Charles is co-writer of BBC radio sitcom Foiled. He also writes for The Bike Project, Thighs of Steel, and the Elevate Festival. He blogs at davidcharles.info.

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