Tour fever

Each year I say I won’t succumb. Not me:
I’ll fight, resist, be strong, remain untouched.
But here I am again, once more laid low
With an acute attack of Tour Fever.
An ailment rarely known now in these isles
Where most of us are inoculated
Against the bicycle in childhood.
The peloton bug bit hard long years back
When Big Mig’s five-straight run of victories
Had sputtered to a sad, untimely stop
And challengers flocked in from other lands
Like post-Pendragon knights desperate to draw
The sword from stone and anvil, claim the crown.

And my affliction flowered, leaving me
Prostrated on the couch for hours and days
With shining eyes, delirious with dreams
Or falling into darkness as one more
Of summer’s gods proved false. With each new wound
I thought that my immunity would grow.

But every August’s cure proved incomplete.
And so, as summer waxes, I can feel
My pulse-rate rise, a stirring in my blood,
And all my thoughts slip south. My heart prepares
To race, to sink, to fill and overflow
And probably be broken once again.