So, here we go again, another lame Edwards tale that will follow the usual format. I’d echo Micheal Gove with his “yadda, yadda, yadda” from Newsnight (I can’t believe I’ve just repped Gove) but I know that more is expected, desired even. They say never change a winning formula but when your formula ain’t winning you sure as hell make changes. So, if you’re after the usual hackneyed recounting of lack of physical and mechanical preparation, unfortunate bowel evacuation, shoehorned popular culture and your modest scribe bravely saving the day via scarcely creditable heroics then you will be disappointed. But somehow I doubt it.
I’ve ridden l’eroica twice before, taking on the full 205km L’Erocia in 2010 and then the more modest 135km L’Erocia in 2012 to take full advantage of a beer in the sunny square in Gaoile in Chianti while the dust was still fresh on my legs. Despite being enjoyable, neither visit was completely satisfying due to some elementary errors – finishing downhill on the Strade Bianche in the dark with no lights or brakes in 2010, turning up with 42×23 in 2012. Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” and I wasn’t for arguing with Bertie Boy (well, I have some quibbles with the E = mc² lark – no, not the risible Big Audio Dynamite clunker – although I’d obviously agree that with mass being equivalent to or converted to energy, at relativistic speeds particles become harder to accelerate because as you inject more energy their mass appears to increase if only because it explains, succinctly, the additional challenge faced by a big boned rider). But, crucially, would it be third time lucky or once, twice, three times a lady?
It’s pretty obvious that the physical preparation wasn’t going to all it should be. And it wasn’t. But my mechanical skills were much improved and with a week before departure I had a fully working bike (ok, ok, I hadn’t actually confirmed that it worked by riding it). I was particularly impressed by my ingenuity in getting the Super Record rear mech to work with the 28t Shimano freewheel – at first the upper cage and the freewheel interfered with each other but with the use of half a cable end cap I fabricated a solution that was as effective as it was inelegant. Naturally I left packing the bike away until 5 hours before we had to leave for the airport. Which considering that we had to leave the house at 3.30 a.m. was someway short of the exacting standards of preparation that I pride myself on. (more…)