The great Eddy Merckx quote of “ride as much or as little or as long or as short as you feel...but ride” certainly rings true at present with me. Its hard work coaching yourself when you are coaching others and whilst I plan my athletes programmes I have trouble planning my own. This has been compounded by the fact that on most days I simply have no idea where I am riding or how long it is going to take me. I sit down, check the map, plan a route then find on my return home I have come up short by an hour or so and subsequently turn around, loop the village or go back up and down the road until I have rounded up the kilometers or the hours on the bike....It’s getting better, but finding new routes and knowing how long it is going to take is still a challenge. Gone are the days when I knew every road in Kent and how long a ride would take almost to the minute. It’s Italy and nothing is ever straight forward.

There is a problem with this "training" as the session gets interrupted and you end up doing less effort than you thought, although you do get the km in the bank and this has caused an even bigger issue. I have developed an unnerving habit of munching as many kilometers as I can. It has become an obsession, my kilo drug, my OCD preoccupation. My target, more than the previous month which at the beginning of the month is fine until you get half way and then the calculations I only did 50 km yesterday, right if I do 75 tomorrow and 100 the day after then I am back on track...and so it goes on and on and on. All this and trying to run a business too, I can’t ride all day long...can I??

Its compounded further when your mother in law springs a surprise that she needs to run a few errands that of course take more than the planned time, its Italy and you have to factor in moaning about the weather, health and food prices (or all three) whenever she meets anyone. All the time the stopwatch is ticking away in my head at how much shorter my ride has become and how many less kms I am getting in the “cycling bank”.

However, with any Ying there is always a Yang and my fitness...whilst my sprinting (if you could call it that) has slid further into obscurity, my endurance, pace, threshold, speed and general ability has gone through the roof. Leaner, faster, stronger I couldn’t be happier. I almost look half decent again. My lovely wife asks “what are you training for” “Nothing ” I reply, just getting fit until I find a club to ride with” “No matter” she replies “ They are going to whip you’re a**e regardless”...trouble is it drives me on further....damn, need to get more km in says the voice in my head....

So is Eddie right.....yes he is but it’s not so clear cut as that. Mixing up your training, doing HIT efforts, intervals, sprint work, endurance etc and having a general plan and sticking to it will make you a better all round cyclist than just getting km into your legs.

Listen to me, telling it how it is...i could have ridden 20km instead of writing this piece.... now where is that calculator..............