The clocks went forward last weekend. For the small sacrifice of losing an hour’s sleep on one Sunday each year, we gain the benefit of being able to pursue outdoor activities such as bike-suffering for an additional hour every day.
My job in Nailsea is back underway again which means I am able to cycle-commute to work each day. And with the weather currently hotter than an English summer (it appears that our seasons have been modified to run Winter – Summer – Autumn – Winter … where Summer lasts for 2 weeks from the end of March each year) I decided to head out on the bike after work for a spot of bike-suffering.
Rather than consulting the heart-rate monitor of the Garmin on my handlebars, the best method for judging my effort at riding uphill is currently to go hard until the display becomes obscured by fallen dribble and/or snot and then keep going for a bit longer. To date this hasn’t resulted in any serious damage to my health or the Garmin.
This evening I rode up Brockley Coombe, Burrington Coombe, Cheddar Gorge and Belmont Hill on a 45 mile route. The highlight was passing two guys halfway up Cheddar Gorge with shaven pins and expensive bikes. Applying correct bike-suffering etiquette I slowed down as I passed … not out of politeness, but in order to sound less exhausted as I exchanged a little idle chit-chat. I then put the hammer down and flew past, imagining them thinking “that was one impressive, hairy, hill-climber on the crappy Halfords bike”. A minute later the first one flew back past me, making a jovial, friendly comment which was unfortunately inaudible over my puffing and panting. A couple of minutes later I realised the second guy was on my wheel so I kept the best pace I could manage. Ultimately this wasn’t enough and he eventually passed at a pace I couldn’t match. An essential and cruel lesson in bike-suffering – focus on your own Garmin snot-gauge and not other riders’ ability / inability!
I stopped at the top for a drink / eat / rest and to take a couple of photos of my new cycle jersey. I had been internet window-shopping for quite some time for a new jersey but hadn’t found one that I liked. Then I went to the Bespoked Bristol Bike Show last weekend and picked up a pseudo-BikeVCar jersey produced by mill tag which is basically perfect. A simple design of just two colours but with blingy rear pockets in Tour de France colours. These photos don’t really do it justice but they were the best I could do with an outstretched arm.
From Cheddar I headed back home across the Mendips and had to stop and take this photos when I turned a corner and was presented with an awesome panorama of the Chew Valley and its shimmering lakes.
I arrived home after three hours of riding just as it was getting dark. I was still wearing my mirrored sunglasses in the dark and thought for a minute that I must have looked like a 1990s movie assassin. But then I remembered I was wearing stripy lycra and smelled pretty bad which isn’t exactly conventionally-cool so made a quick retreat to the confines of a nice, hot shower.