It wasn’t raining the other day but the weather had that look about it. That look where it knows I’m watching it. It is watching me back and like two cold war spies on each others’ trail, so we dance until one of us ends up being interrogated by some very stern looking secret police. In this case it is me that gets interrogated but in the cyclist versus weather variation of the scenario, that means it was me that spent an hour on the Turbo.
Now last time out on the Turbo I reviewed an episode of Amazon’s The Grand Tour. Today I’m actually reviewing an entire series, watched over the course of three Turbo sessions. I’ve still not figured out how to turn the radiator off in my office / turbo room and so those three sessions probably equate to about 10kg of sweat. This is the reason why my wife is always moaning about the lack of towels in our house.
I share something of a link with the show I’m reviewing today. Tour De Celeb on Channel 5 gave 8 celebrities an 8 week training regime and then took them to the 2016 Etape Du Tour. Not only was I also riding that event, I started in the same starting wave as them. Yup, me who rides about 11000 miles each year, who races, who can eat whilst riding and who can ride clipped in had earned the right to start in the same pen as Angelica Bell who cannot do the later two, and almost definitely doesn’t do the former two. That’s where training gets you kids. Stay in school.
Anyway after attacking and dropping Angelica Bell in the opening kilometre I thought I’ll watch that TV show they’re doing at some point. That point was about 6 months later. Tour De Celeb’s line up included a quite famous Rugby man. A similarly famous Cricket man. Amy Williams off of sledging in the Winter Olympics. A berk probably off of Made In Chelsea. A girl probably off of The Only Way Is Essex. Louis Spence, that camp dancer that my Dad inexplicably likes despite the fact that my Dad holds old school views and voted for UKip. Jodie Kidd is also on the show and I’ve already mentioned Jodie Kidd.
It’s one of those shows where they all go on a journey. Not like a journey like they did in Lord Of The Rings where they have to take a ring and dump it in a volcano. That’s actually more of a quest. Also not like a journey where you sit in the back of the car playing on a gameboy while your parents drive you to Devon. No, it’s one of those journeys where you say a thing to camera, do a thing, and then say another thing to camera at the end of the thing. Pretty sure that’s the only definition of “journey” these days.
This journey starts with them doing an FTP test on a Turbo. What a wonderful distraction it is to watch other people suffering on a turbo whilst you’re suffering at the same time. That must be why mass executions are so pleasant.
Over the course of three episodes our celebs do some cycling and then do an obstacle course and then do a sportive and at one point do a bit of a ride with some of the lads from JLT Condor. Angelica Bell opts for an early strategy of being very scared to ride a bike, refusing to ride clipped in, and stopping every time she wants to eat an energy bar. Her journey will involve trying to stop being or doing these things. Other journeys will involve trying to ride a bike rather than go to parties on yachts, trying not to be scared when a van or car is also using the same road as you, and not drinking loads of lager. Challenges we’ve all faced at some point in our cycling lives.
The programme is actually pretty entertaining, and more importantly for when you’re on the Turbo, it’s quite distracting. I got distracted by them being at Hoghill on a wet day. That reminded me of that time I forced myself to go and race there on areally wet day and pulled out with a puncture after 25 meters. That was some race. I also got distracted by a bit where Louis rode to the Blue Egg and bumped into Alex Dowsett which is literally something that happens to every cyclist. Someone should check that Alex actually has a place to live.
Spoiler Alert!!!! As all good shows do, this one also has a twist. The twist being that at one point there is a man driving a white Ranger Rover behind their peloton and he doesn’t mow them all down.
The final episode is the one where they ride the Etape and the voiceover keeps saying it’s “the toughest challenge” but never acknowledges that one of the climbs got taken out of it on account of the road not existing at the time. There are some shots taken at the start of the Etape and none of them feature me which is good because I never signed a release form. In case you want to watch it I won’t ruin it by telling you what happens, but if you were there you will know that it was bloody hot and the Joux Plane was bastard hard. Imaging trying to do it when you’re not that good at riding a bike.
I’ve still not come up with a rating system for these reviews yet but when I do it’ll be apt and totally brilliant. All that I can do is offer a pithy summary of my emotions, thus Tour De Celeb was a decent accompaniment to a Turbo session, mostly as it reminds you how hard cycling actually is, and how far you’ve come to be as fit as you are. That dancer’s doing the splits again, look. Hilarious.
You can watch Tour De Celeb on My 5.