He has been away with his wife, dog, three bikes, two professional workstands and four spare wheelsets for over three weeks, and in the course of his travels in the camper van through France and Switzerland, the breakaway specialist has discovered the boundless delights of cycling in Liguria, Northern Italy.
But let us concentrate on our man’s return to the Muswell Hill Peloton. Fresh from ascents of Mont Ventoux, Galibier and Alpe d’Huez, his fitness had returned close to level of his feted 1976 solo attack in the Tour of Belisha Beacons.
His first ride back with the Saturday morning ‘A’ group chaingang ended with a bout of sickness due to contaminated porridge. Nevertheless, he spent much time on the front of the group shielding strong and weak riders alike from the aerodynamic drag of the constant headwind.
Fast forward to Sunday morning, and an elite group of Muswell Hill’s finest cyclists, including Saul the Slayer, Hugh the Quiet Assassin, Pistol Pete and David ‘Killer’ Kay had assembled in Fortis Green for the weekly sortie out into Hertfordshire. For a change the group headed out via East Finchley, Bittacy Hill and Hendon Wood Lane, just to get the blood circulating for those riders whose haemocrit levels are suspect……you know who you are.
After the foreplay, the first sprint loomed, it will be forever known as ‘The Potters Bar Massacre’ as the Wattmeister stormed clear of his rivals in a style reminiscent of Djmoladine Abdoujaparov, ‘The Tashkent Terror’, with whom the Wattmeister had had a great sprinting rivalry in the 1980s. Saul the Slayer claimed that he didn’t know it was a sprint and the Lion King’s fuse had blown in the Di2 electronic gearbox.
Moving on to the first of the day’s hill climbs, which in turn will forever be known as ‘The Carbone Hill Carve Up’, Saul, Ian, Big Mig and the Quiet Assassin made their play on the descent, but the Wattmeister, patiently sitting in on his 53/11 gearing and with the mighty alpine climbs in his sinous, but varicose veined legs, delivered a powerful burst of speed on the 11% incline, (972 watts for 36 seconds), which destroyed the opposition.
The Wattmeister is not a greedy rider, after these two shows of strength, he resumed his place in the peloton comfortable in the knowledge that if he was not actually turning back the years, they would at least have to work a bit harder to catch him up.