[What would Fausto do? - part of a feature on winter training on Rapha.cc]
Autumn has shaded into winter, but as we approach the year’s hub, the winter solstice, it is light and not warmth that is lacking.
It’s the time of year when thoughts slide inexorably towards the turbo, but it doesn’t have to be like that. For some inspiration, think back to 1946, the year that Fausto Coppi announced his return to the world. Riding La Primavera, he broke away with almost 250 kilometres to go. Ditching his last companions on the Turchino, he soloed to victory, crossing the line 14 minutes ahead of second place.
In preparation for the season opener, he’d ridden 7,000 kilometres, and his training regime included 250-kilometre rides in which he’d arrange for local club riders to attack him remorselessly in the last hundred. Little wonder he made it to San Remo first. For a man who had been a prisoner of war for three years in North Africa, in decent conditions but mostly without a bike, what a release it must have been to get back to riding the cold, slippery roads of northern Italy.
The motivation to get out on the road might be falling but remember: there’s more to life than two hours at a steady 125bpm on the turbo, watching Tour DVDs, like a hamster on a wheel. Gravel and snot, and a cold nose, maybe. But also fresh air in the lungs and, perhaps, a view glimpsed through bare branches, never seen riding that road in summer. Steam rising off your companions’ head as they take their hats off. Tea and cake, or a bacon sarnie, in a noisy, packed cafe.
Think back, to a man imprisoned in the heat, pining for cold solitary kilometres, and get out there on your bike.