Early Morning in the Gym

Spring is in the air. Fragrant strains of lilac, clematis and belle etoile tease the olfactory senses.

The mornings are light once again.

Resisting the temptation to ride to the exclusion of all other activities, The Wattmeister complements his frequent two wheeled outings with visits to the local gym in the company of Bullethead, Kap, Caveman and Grendel.

Bullethead warms up on the Wattbike. He rides it like a garbage truck crushing its load. It is difficult not to feel deeply sorry for the Wattbike.

Meanwhile, lean Kap sashays over to the BodyMax cable pull machine, handcuffing and ankle-cuffing himself to the structure as part of  a provocative and bizarre full body workout accompanied by A capella sound effects.

Caveman begins his workout with 100 burpees and star jumps. This is just a warm-up. Then, like Hercules, he proceeds to heft unimaginable weights until exhaustion sets in…..exhaustion from the observer’s  perspective.

Grendel arrives a bit later. It is less of an arrival and more of a claiming of territory. She growls at The Wattmeister, who obediently diverts his gaze and makes way for her on the Smith machine which spontaneously shudders as she marches towards it.

Skinny Wattmeister gazes at himself in the mirror, (a proper workout). In comparison to his muscular colleagues, he lifts weights like a weak baby kitten.

As he enters the weights room, leaving behind the shell of a Wattbike, Bullethead displaces air like a blue whale displaces water in a paddling pool.

Caveman and Kap acknowledge him with primal grunts between repetitions while Grendel flexes her sternocleidomastoids in the revisionist flirtatious manner of a peacock.

They all ignore The Wattmeister. If there was sand, they would kick it in his face.

 

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Tim’s Template

A bit of context.

Back in 2002 when The Wattmeister was a fledgling long distance cyclist….a raw novice, barely out of the plimsolls and scarf school of sartorial elegance, he entered his second 400 kms audax. Some lessons had been learned from his first experience over the distance in 2001, but, as the cliché goes, we never stop learning.

It was about 6 o’clock in the morning and about 250 kms into the ride. The Wattmeister was half-heartedly grovelling his lonely way up a steep little hill somewhere near Liphook in East Hampshire. There was still 30 kms to ride until the next audax control in Ewhurst and  his rumbling stomach boomed out a scratchy accompaniment to the dawn chorus.

His spirits needed a lift. Along came salvation in the form of experienced audaxers Tim and Pauline Wainwright. He jumped in their slipstream and unashamedly took a tow for the best part of 90 minutes. Tim and Pauline’s navigation was faultless, the pace was just perfect, and the company was reassuring in every way.

Tim was an audax stalwart. His article in the audax quarterly magazine Arrivé on how to construct a riding plan for the 2003 edition of 1200kms Paris-Brest-Paris randonnée gave an insight into the character of the man. It was full of good advice imbued with common sense and punctuated with positive encouragement for the inexperienced. The Wattmeister made good use of this most sound of templates.

Alas, Tim died on March 1st. By all accounts he was riding his bicycle. Both he and Pauline inspired me to do much more than I ever thought I could. RIP and thank you Tim.

 

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The Personal Stylist

It happened all of a sudden. The Wattmeister had taken great care to balance the weight of the daily supplies between two Sainsbury’s ‘bags for life’. 

The negotiations regarding the purchase of these bags were as complicated and protracted as the Brexit process. The crux of the deal revolved around the central questions of :

…. bags for whose life?

The life of the bag? The life of the bag buyer? The life of Sainsbury’s?

Never has more thought gone into spending 2 shillings. two bob or a florin, (10 pence to you youngsters).

Anyway, we have gone off course. TW was strolling down Dukes Avenue in Muswell Hill, executing alternate bicep curls with aforementioned shopping bags whilst replaying in his mind Saturday morning’s magnificent ‘A’ group sprint victory.

Distracted and still euphoric, he spied  what appeared to be an elderly cyclist struggling up the hill towards him. As the pale figure came ever closer, he realised that it was none other than Pistol Pete on his way home from work.

Now, in real life Pistol has a similar physique to Bernard Hinault, The Badger, 5 times winner of the Tour de France. That is to say broad shouldered, deep chested…..reminiscent of an old fashioned rugby union fly half.

However, as he approached, his silver Castelli windproof rain jacket had the peculiar effect of ageing him, making him seem slight of build. Some might think that this is ‘a good thing’, however, knowing Pistol’s robust physical and mental condition,  the Wattmeister felt cheated that he hadn’t immediately recognised the great man known also as….Beast of Becherel .

And so, after first telling Pistol about Saturday’s victory in great detail ,the idea was born to reinvent himself as a Personal Stylist for the discerning cyclist.

Never again be mistaken for an old dude, or dude-ess. The Wattmeister will help you to choose colours and fabrics to suit your build, physique, complexion and riding style.

Ride your bike with complete confidence that you look the part and the bike looks the part. Never again be ashamed to catch your reflection in those lovely mirrored buildings up the West End.

Here is an example of what to avoid.

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The Comeback….part 2

Nowadays it is quite a task to make a booking with the GP. Decades ago, in the tupperware party era, before amphetamines and alcohol had been replaced in the peloton by triamcinolone and EPO, the process seemed much easier.

On this occasion, prior to the consultation, The Wattmeister was required to undergo a chest x-ray and a blood test to check for ‘abnormalities’. Hah! Due to the early hour of the appointment, he had had to forgo his normal breakfast of Kenalog’s* shredded wheat.

A few nervous edgy days passed before the test results arrived in the GP’s possession. All the while, TW trained at a very low level, under the radar, nay, practically underground. When revealed, the results were good, even good enough to load onto Strava. Kidney function, prostate PSA, red blood cell, white blood cell and cholesterol figures all proved to be ‘outstanding ‘, (TW’s description, not the doctor’s).

“Just to be sure, take this spray”, suggested the doctor, writing a prescription on brown paper packaging, “it has a steroid component which will alleviate your symptoms, help you to lose weight, gain lean muscle and will almost certainly assist you in the Regents Park sprint.”

“But is it race legal doc? I have only ever taken pan y agua….I don’t want to  cheat! (Get caught).”

“That’s what they all say! It most certainly is. I will write you a therapeutic use exemption** certificate which allows you to race on drugs which are normally banned in competition”, he explained.

In less than 48 hours, TW had stopped coughing, lost 2 kgs of fat and was posting times on the Wattbike that Iron Mike could only dream of. What kind of magic was this?

Two weeks later, and after 10 weeks in the wilderness, the comeback was completed with a hard fought sprint victory over The Lion King, Long Tom, Judge, Cup-a-Soup, Iron Mike and The Man from Iceland.

Back at the coffee shop, the whispers were shriller than ever, but the language was different….lean, vascular, stoked, impassioned. How could such improvement be wrought in such a short space of time?

In his victory speech to the assembled crowd outside the Muswell Hill branch of Planet Organic, (Speakers’ Corner of the North), The Wattmeister proclaimed:

“Get real folks, there’s no such thing as a fairytale.”

  • *     Kenalog….trade name for an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid.
  • **   Acronym TUE.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Comeback… part 1

Shrill whispers in the peloton, “….The Wattmeister is finished…a has-been…a never-was…can’t sprint for toffee…too fat to climb…as aerodynamic as a fridge freezer…”, and worst of all, “..what is Paris-Brest-Paris anyway?”

During January and Febraury, post Saturday Regents Park club gatherings in the coffee shop have lately adopted a different tone.

Imagine the saloon in a western..sallon.The Wattmeister makes his lonely entrance after trailing the group back to Muswell Hill. The regulars, Iron Mike, Big Mig, Dingle Dave, Pistol, Cup a Soup, Del Boy and even Sloe Bethan look up at the forlorn figure….dropped from the peloton on the first lap, bibshorts on inside out, and wearing a faded PBP shirt from 2003.

Conversation is momentarily halted, a collective and sad shake of the head….someone mutters…”he was never much good, let’s tell him to join the bowls club”.

Shunned by his former domestiques, The Wattmeister vows to cure himself of the persistent cough by gargling every morning with neat TCP, eating chopped lemon rind and wearing a balaclava at all times….something that upset the staff in the Nationwide.

After weeks of this alternative treatment, the cough had got worse, he lost his sense of taste and smell, and was banned from all banking establishments in the village. Skint and smelly,  The Wattmeisterin suggested that he visit the doctor.

“The doctor, or a doctor?” asked TW.

“What are you talking about you delusional old fool?” remarked her highness in a kindly but assertive tone.

“I am…..I mean, I was an athlete darling, there’s no way I’m allowed to see ‘the’ doctor…it would look bad. In my biography I stated that I had a strict “no ‘the’ doctors policy”. ”

“Get yourself up to the GP before I have you sectioned …..again!”

To be continued….

 

 

 

 

 

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Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2017…Betting Tip

Do not be put off by the title. The Omloop, formerly known as Het Volk, signals the start of the Belgian cobbled classics season….and this race has been won by stellar performers such as Herman van Springel, Roger de Vlaeminck, Eddy Merckx, Freddy Maertens, Peter van Petegem and Greg van Avermaet.

The weather forecast for Saturday’s renewal is unusually benign, with mild and dry conditions on the cards.

The defending champion and Olympic gold medallist, Greg van Avermaet and world road race champ Peter Sagan head the betting, and will no doubt prove difficult to beat. However…both Team Sky and Quickstep Doors field super strong line-ups with several possible candidates among their startlists.

But in analysing and overthinking the form of the obvious choices, The Wattmeister would miss out on the pure enjoyment enunciating the names of some of the lesser known rouleurs.

Jens Keukeleire (Orica), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty), Pieter Vanspeybrouck, Coen Vanmeltvoort (Roompot) and Stijn Vandenbergh (AGR) all have names and racing form worthy of being inscribed on the trophy.

But none of these riders are this year’s tip for glory.

For the first time, The Wattmeister can, free of charge, share the intricacies of the methodology he has invented to cement his abject failure as a punter.

Using the formula C x E / A = S, where C is conjecture, E is estimation, A is approximation and S is Supposition….this year’s event will be won by the exquisitely named Jens Debuscherre, currently priced a 33/1 with Bet 365.

 

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New Horizons

After an hiatus of nearly three years, The Wattmeister is on the point of embarking on a new career path with his  brand…The Impersonal Trainer.

Over the years, as a permanent and inconspicuously aerodynamic fixture on the gym’s wattbike,  he has been in a position to observe and listen to the interaction between various private clients and their knowledgeable and well qualified Personal Trainers. Without exception, the PTs’ collective expertise is routinely wasted as the clients invent ever more ingenious ways ways to avoid working hard during the session by initiating conversations on the most banal subjects.

This is such an abuse of the experts’ skillset. In order to achieve a widely recognised and internationally accredited level as a Personal Trainer, the applicant incurs a hefty financial cost and must pass several written and practical examinations.

In contrast, the highest level of Impersonal Trainer sanctioned by The Wattmeister Inc. is readily achieved at low cost and with surprisingly little effort.

If you are interested, then ask yourself these four questions:

  1. Can I count from 1 to 15 in the right order? (The number of repetitions for each set of exercises).
  2. Do I look good in lycra? (Natch!)
  3. Can I attach a heart rate monitor? (Just wearing one of these gets you really fit).
  4. Do I know what an ‘Arnold’ is?

If the answer to all these questions is YES, MAYBE or DON’T KNOW, then you are 3/4 of the way to being a certified WATTMEISTER IMPERSONAL TRAINER.

We have now reached the point where 99.9%  of candidates will fail this rigorous test.

Answer this question honestly.

  1. Do I care?

If the answer is YES, then sorry,  you will have failed to become an Impersonal Trainer, but you might do well as the President of the United States.

 

 

 

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Within the Rules

Muswell Hill Peloton’s recent Saturday morning outings around Regents Park have taken place without The Wattmeister’s attendance. In the interim, Iron Mike, Dingle Dave, Long Tom and The Lion King have been carving up the sprint honours.

Alas, he has been suffering from acute inflammation of the ego, which in extreme cases can lead to delusional episodes, obsession with oneself, and severe constipation….(please note the Oxford comma).

Fortunately, The Wattmeister has only suffered with two of these three symptoms.

In order to prevent further deterioration, the medical team at his professional team, SudoCreme4SagaSprinters, have appointed a new doctor. Dr.Ken Acort has recently been hired to bring the malady under control.

Under normal circumstances, The Wattmeister trains and races under a strict “needles only” policy. However, one of his favourite sayings is, “..only dead fish swim the with current…”. so, as more and more athletes across all sports have their ‘special’ methods revealed, Dr. Ken recommends that his preventative medicine should be taken via suppository which can be administered by anyone.

Therefore, on behalf of the team, we are pleased to announce that despite some side effects, (The Wattmeister has lost weight, gained muscle and seems to recover quicker than ever before from intense physical efforts), Dr. Ken Acort’s remedy has met with a measure of success.

He still spends an inordinate amount of time in front of the mirror, but is no longer delusional, (well, only mildly).

However, the wait for a  brown package intensifies with each passing day.

 

 

 

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Bamboozled

So the Wattmeister and his clan have resided in the Towers for nearly eighteen years. In that time, they have had no trouble with their water supply.

One dark night in the middle of October 2016, Thames Water operatives on a clandestine mission to root out water wastage, determined that there was a leak between the fortified NW side of the residence and the water meter which is situated in the street.

They could fix it for free….thank you and hooray!

Over the course of two or three days, seven….I shall repeat that….seven teams visited the property in order to facilitate the repair.

Team 1. They dug up the side passage and replaced the lead pipe with a plastic version. When they departed, the water seemed to be OK.

Team 2. They came along to fill in the holes on the property….and did a great job.

Team 3.  They collected the protective barriers on the property.

Team 4. They filled in the hole in the street.

Team 5. They collected the protective barriers on the street.

Team 6. They checked that the holes had been filled up to standard.

Team 7. They checked that the checkers had done their job properly.

The next day ….well, you’ve guessed it…there’s not much in the way of water.

Team 8. They came to tell us that it’s all our fault and that we need a plumber.

EIGHTEEN YEARS without a water problem…..and now it’s fixed!

 

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Pre-inauguration Survival Checklist

It takes on to know one….so the saying goes. To wit The Wattmeister is convinced that Donald Trump is a nutcase (there are more out than in). Therefore, on the day before the syrup’s* inauguration, and in the event that his fishy finger slips on the dreaded red button, it is imperative to have a cyclist’s survival plan.

  1. Recommission the old steel bike. It will not melt as quickly as carbon. Make sure it has been serviced and fitted with as many water bottle carriers as possible.
  2. Stockpile energy gels, dried figs and soft toilet paper…(Wattmeister Law of Discharge….the more figs, the more toilet paper).
  3. Do not forget basic kit such as power meter, heart rate monitor and cadence sensor.
  4. Fully charge all GPS tracking devices and fit front hub dynamo in order to load up to Strava for as long as possible. (for those of you who have not yet embraced Strava….do it now…like Trump, the future is ORANGE).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    .strava                 trump
  5. Brush your teeth.                                                                                                                                      *syrup of figs = wig.

 

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Scientific Visualisation

The most fierce competition within the ranks of Muswell Hill Peloton is Saturday morning’s over 50s sprint in Regents Park.

No quarter is given nor asked for by the super-veterans as they battle for weekly bragging rights in a vain attempt to ward off the advance of middle age and the approach of old age.

With the help of his 40 year old Monopoly kit, The Wattmeister has created a little visualisation exercise to help him maximise his chances of success.

Here follows a photographic sequence using the well known pieces to illustrate the winning process.

Photo number one. The dog represents Pistol Pete; the thimble is Wizard; the ship is Killer; the racing car is Big Mig; the top hat is Doc; the flat iron is Iron Mike; the boot is Long Tom and the prancing horse is The Wattmeister.

Pistol has stolen a march at Physician’s corner.

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In photo number 2, you can clearly see that Killer, Iron Mike and Long Tom appear to be boxed in as Wizard moves up on the outside to deliver his power punch, closely slipstreamed by Big Mig and Doc. All the while, The Wattmeister is demonstrating a distinct lack of aerodynamic nous.

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Photo number 3 is taken an hypothetical 250 metres from the finish line. Pistol is clearly flagging as the group close up on the outside. Doc has sprinted into a cul de sac, while Iron Mike has seen the dangers of being on the inside and chooses a better option on the wheel of Big Mig and Killer.

Note how The Wattmeister  sits in patiently and prepares to deliver the coup de grace.

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The final photo shows the inevitable outcome of the sprint. The Wattmeister has outpowered his aging rivals with a burst of power which would be the envy of men half, even a quarter of his age.

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One thing is for sure, once his rivals see how successful this experiment has been, they will all be using it.

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Vernacular from the Betting Ring

Before The Wattmeister was mopping up the Muswell Hill Peloton over 50s ‘B’ team sprint in Regents Park, he spoke the language of the racecourse. Here is a small example of the lingo used by bookmakers and their staff regarding numbers and amounts……also sometimes used to relay the odds of the dogs and horses….although the odds have a different argot.

One pound……………a ‘quid’ or a ‘nicker’.

Two…………………….a ‘bottle’ (most often used as two hundred).. or a ‘bice’.

Three…………………..a ‘carpet’

Four…………………….a ‘rouf’ (pronounced ‘rofe’).

Five……………………..a ‘ching’ or a ‘hand’, or a ‘jacksie’ (fiver)

Six……………………….’half a stretch’ or ‘ex’.

Seven……………………a ‘neves’, (pronounced ‘nevis’).

Eight…………………… a ‘T…H’  (as in Tea Haitch).

Nine……………………..’Enin’ (pronounced ‘eeenin’).

Ten……………………….a Cock & Hen or a cockle.

Eleven……………………’Elef’.

Twelve……………………should be a ‘stretch’ but rarely heard as such.

Twenty……………………a ‘score’ or an ‘apple’… (apple core rhyming slang for score).

Twenty five………………A pony , a macca or a maccaroni.

Thirty three……………..’Double carpet’.

Fifty……………………….a ‘nifty’ or ‘bullseye’.

One hundred…………….a ‘ton’, a ‘oner’ (pronounced ‘wunner’).

Two hundred…………….a ‘bottle’.

Five hundred…………….a ‘monkey’.

One thousand……………a ‘grand’, or its rhyming slang, a ‘bag of sand’.

Nowadays however, The Wattmeister is ‘borassic lint’, which is rhyming slang for ‘skint’.

Happy New Year to all.

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