I think I might quite like my Pyrenean legs!
I’ve never been a big fan of my legs. They are long, it’s true, but I don’t like the lumpy bits at the top and the shapeless, skinny calves Then there’s the knobbly knees (let’s not go there as it just brings back memories of school days, hockey fields and blue/white legs.) However, after a week of cycling in the Pyrenees I have suddenly found that I rather like my legs. It’s not that I have suddenly developed the shapely legs of my dreams but rather that my legs can now see me up and over big hills and keep on going for many more cycling miles than I’ve ever done before.
The G-Force reckons there is a visible difference. He dared to suggest that I have bigger thighs and bum! “More muscly, sweetheart, is what I meant! Not fatter, just stronger and bigger!”
I’m not so sure that my legs look stronger or bigger but they do act stronger and bigger! With Little Miss on holiday in Crete with her dad I was able to attend an evening APR cycle event for the first time. The G-Force and his cycle pals are big fans of these weekly cycle events during the summer months. I’d always been rather intimidated by the idea of lots of fit and focused men cycling like maddies on a 24-mile time trial course. But the G-Force was insistent that I give it a go.
And I loved it! The pace was fast and furious and I had to pay close attention to the group cycling tactics but it was great to feel my legs powering me along and keeping up with some of the cycle guys (and one girl!). I was in the easiest group for much of the APR but I doubt that I would normally have managed to keep up with even this group. Thanks to my Pyrenean legs I made it to the finish line smiling – and certainly not last!
Then on Saturday the G-Force and I battled through the wind and rain to complete a fairly hard and fairly fast 45 miles. There were lots of hills and the G-Force was keen to push me on at a good pace. Even when I was tiring towards the end I still felt I had the leg muscle strength to put in that extra oomph. During this outing we headed up the notorious Crow Road, which seemed so much easier compared to the Pyrenean cols (!) and a great deal less taxing than my last attempt six months ago.
Although we did not cycle many kilometres during the Pyrenean col ascents it’s clear that my leg muscles really did get a work out and now I’m feeling the benefits. Cycling every day for six days also meant I improved my stamina, too. I have also been trying to put in some miles of training at home, where work and mummyhood will allow. Now I am finally feeling like I might be able to make it both to the start and finish line of the Bealach Mor sportive in September.
PS. I also now sport the “cyclist’s badge of honour”: a ridiculous tan line half way down my thighs, which has been created by wearing cycle shorts in the sunshine for almost a week. It looks fine if I keep the shorts on, but in a short skirt or running shorts the tan line is quite ludicrous! Oh well!