On Sunday afternoon I dug out my padded shorts, dusted off my bike and hit the road. I haven’t been on my road bike for 2 years, it felt weird. My butt felt too high off the ground, yet somehow also too low.
And my newest cycling top, ¡Dios mío!, when did I buy it? Was I SHORTER as well as smaller back then?? I need to dig out my super old tops from 15 years ago, those should fit me better and be nice and ‘retro’ by now.
But back to being on the road – it’s 8km of riding on the roads to get to Richmond Park. I know the gutter is full of deep potholes so I stayed wide and Owned The Road. I think it’s safer that way. Last 2km to the park is all downhill, which, peoples, scares the living daylights out of me. I sat on my squeaky brakes the whole time.
Finally, Ricmond Park.
I always ride up the Hill from Hell first. I remember that at times I’ve had to walk some of it. I wasn’t going to this time. My quads were burning big time half way up but I do Crossfit so I know the difference between the pain that could lead to injury and the pain that is just from intensity. I pushed on with quads on fire and made it to the top.
Next several kms went well. Loads of cars about but those poor buggers cannot drive fast in that park as it’s full of cyclists. I don’t even know why they bother driving through it.
On downhill bits I sit on my brakes like my life depended on it. It probably does. The roadside is dotted with these little things:
Geebus. If I come off my bike I would be ok to land on grass but Richmond Park makes sure that you get impaled on wooden posts if/when you crash.
I only did one 10km loop around, I figured it’s enough for my first outing in a long time. I had made it around with my ribs intact, it had started to rain and my legs were seriously on fire from having done Crossfit earlier that morning and then climbed that Hill of Hell.
The way home was wet and freezing, and even though it went quite fast, I kept thinking the whole time how I just freaking want to be running again. When I run I don’t think about staying alive every second of the way. When I run I break a sweat and my heart is thumping (in a good way) and I feel JOY.
This bike ride gave me no joy.
I have not been paying attention to my Giant for over a decade and we have grown apart.
Now the question is whether this relationship is salvageable or not. Or whether I need a new two wheeled partner in my life to invigorate my bike life ;)
Watch this space. I’m going to ride a bit more to make sense of it all and to see if my love of cycling will return…