I hate clothes!

Steve Bate MBE

“Yes that’s right, Hate with a capital H. But it’s part of what I do for a living and every sucker’s gotta pay the mortgage, right? I’m speaking in this lingo because I’m in America. Sweet home Alabama Baby, and it’s hot as shit.”

I ride bikes for a living, I don’t mean cool bikes like Triumphs, Harleys, or Nortons. State of the art push bikes, the kind that cost £15k. Yes a professional cyclist, the kind road users love to hate and I make no apology for this, except for the clothing.

On behalf of the whole cycling community, I’d like to apologies for the lycra clad freaks you have to tolerate on the roads, who think they’re in the Tour de France. I have no idea where the idea of wearing lycra on a Sunday morning cafe ride is a “cool thing to do” comes from! Each to their own. I have to wear it for work, I even have to shave my bloody legs, all in the name of aerodynamics.

Thankfully the lads at HebTroCo took pity on me and have squared me away with a wardrobe that you will appreciate.

“Hello I’m Steve Batembe, HebTroCo sponsored athlete. I’m not the normal robot kind of athlete, in fact these days I use the term loosely when describing myself.”

So what have I been up to?

January

Not a great month, I was off the bike with frost bite to my toes (which I nearly lost), after attempting a winter Highland 550 (bike packing 550 miles) in that cold snap before Christmas. I should have been doing loads of miles on the road, gaining the level of base fitness to set me up for a season of racing. Instead I ended up hobbling around my house in moon boots getting fat with a very unhappy employer. January was a write off, but the Vocation Brewery got me through. Batembe 0 – Bike 1.

February

Back on the bike and starving myself to lose weight. At this point I had the same thoughts that have run through my head for the last 4 years, I should retire from racing, I’m too old for this game. In my 9th season as a professional at 45 years old it ain’t getting any easier. I like going against the grain of what I should do. Balls to it, push harder. Batembe 0.5 – Bike 2

March

Clutching at straws I headed to Serra Nevada, in the South of Spain for an altitude training camp. 2500m above sea level the air is thinner and bloody hard work riding a bike. Every ride finished with a 2 hour climb back up to accommodation, which was kindly provided by Adam Yates – one of the best world tour cyclists this country has ever produced. He only earns a shite footballers salary, but that’s what you get for wearing Lycra. Turns out a couple of beers at high altitude works magic for morale, but doesn’t do much for your fitness. Worth noting… Batembe 1 – Bike 2

April

Racing season and we’re heading to Italy for the first round of the World Cup series. About forty countries were there and the best of the best. With a lack of fitness we still hit the podium, on the bottom step mind. I say ‘we’ because there’s two of us. I’m actually blind as shit, so race on the back of a tandem, if you didn’t know. Next we flew to Flanders in Belgium for a road race and finished with yet another bronze in Ostende racing in a flood. I swear a canoe would have been better. Belgium beer is really strong and I highly recommend not drinking a skin full before travel day back home. Batembe 1 – Bike 3

May

Home for ten days. Did some filming at HebTroCo for the Calder Divide Trail slightly hungover. Ed fuelled me with strong Double Black coffee on demand. I’ve roped him into dusting off his mountain bike to join me for this ride in September (my off season). Ed’s one of the valley’s best riders, but I’m hoping he’ll be so unfit my lack of mountain skills will get me through. More to follow on this over the coming months. HebTroCo have sponsored the event so should be a laugh.

We’ve binned off training today to go to the Space and Missile Centre, looking at big rockets. We race in a few days so let’s hope something ballistic rubs off on us. Oh, had a near death experience on the first training ride out here, and nothing to do with the locals. Rear tyre blow out at 55kph at the bottom of a long descent . Thankfully I didn’t hit the deck, and even more thankful it didn’t happen twenty seconds earlier, when I hit 85kph. In that super protective lycra suit with a blob of polystyrene on my head, I’m sure i would have been fine sliding across the tarmac!

Anyway I’ll keep you in suspense regarding the racing till the next one, as I’m sure this will be a big hit with the readers. Side note. The beer in America is pretty weak. Batembe 2 (for the space centre) – Bike 3. 

God bless y’all. Batembe.

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