Performance Enhancing Drugs

You didn’t for a second think I would have anything relevant, insightful or – even – accurate to say about the Ivan Basso affair, or sport related drug taking in general. It seems cycling is, sadly, in the vanguard of medicinally boosted cheating and while that is clearly to be lamented, I appear to have found a legal and (sort of) safe version of EPO.

It’s beer. A subject that twenty years plus of copious and unstinting practical research has put very close to my heart. Well down a bit and bulge but you get the idea. Normally mixing beer with anything requiring co-ordination, swift reactions or a modicum of caution is a recipe for the kind of disaster that always hurts more in the morning. You know the sort of thing, beer fuelled hedge jumping at 11am becomes Nuragen fueled back pummelling when sobriety takes over.

And yet, for all that selfless experimentation, I may have missed something. Riding last night while practicing the “be the ball” sporting analogy (although I’m more “be the rubbish bloke with ‘facial scars by hedge’ kind of athlete“), my concentration was shattered when a contact lens decided to “be the trail“. It stuck for a tantalising second on my sunglasses before a gust of wind guaranteed its freedom. I was now “being the bat” riding at about half pace while my brain tried to reconcile one sharp image and one blurry one.

It wasn’t doing very well and neither was I so calling in the wife support vehicle was the chosen alternative to a depth perceptionless headplant into a spikey branch. Skillfully, we crafted a fine combination of mobile phone signals, a handful of cash and a pub as our enforced rest area. Being almost completely helpless in the face of alcohol, my worthy “Just an orange juice please mate” was spookily transmogrified into “pint of best and the jumbo bag of pork scratchings to go“.

And go we did, leaving my wife and two shivering kids to finish their drinks while we span cold legs up a steep road hill while beer sloshed unpleasantly in our bellies. But then we turned downhill and my inhibitions and irrational fear of left hand corners wafted away on a rear facing organic jet pack of processed hops. Dutch Courage it is sometimes called although “London IPA” would be a better description as the bike swooped majestically betwixt tree and shrubbery and – unfettered by panic braking – floated over rooty obstacles with barely a whimper.

Nothing to do with me of course. I was merely whiffy ballast providing the music on hold. So if anyone was enjoying a late evening stroll in the quite lovely woods of the Chilterns last night, I apologise for the smell of second hand beer and a crippling rendition of “My Way” arranged for strangled cat. So impressed with the power of the pint was I, that we went home and had several more. And the way in which I fearlessly attacked the stairs on the way to bed just further proved that beer is in fact a performance enhancing drug.

So I’m trading in the Camelbak for a rucksack mounted “Watney’s party Seven” and reprising my internal pub singer. You know, I think I’m onto to something here!

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