Despite a series of inconvenient and consecutive ‘real life’ events like a stag-do, a wedding, a family birthday celebration, a Champions League Final and packing up our lives to move house, I have also managed to fit in some cycling.
Firstly I completed three long rides back-to-back after work last week. These extended commutes were as much mental as they were physical preparation for the imminent Tour of Wessex three day cycle event. April’s insane Strava climbing challenge now seems a long time ago, and regardless of the fact that my cycling ability has vastly improved, there was still a nagging sense that an easy month of May could have been softening both my legs and my spirit. In total, last week I rode 253 km (157 miles).
On Sunday I had planned to take the new bike for its second ride. Unfortunately for the bike (but fortunately for the writer) a certain team in blue only went and won the biggest trophy in club football causing the rider to consume vast quantities of alcohol including a rather unnecessarily extravagant bottle of champagne at midnight. Needless to say the new bike stayed indoors on Sunday.
However, Ms BikeVCar was itching to get out on her bike on Sunday and I decided to scrape myself off the sofa and join her … but only on my old bike. I had a feeling that the unmerciful Merckx would have made me sick, again! We rode 34 km in 1 hour 51 and climbed a total of 460 metres. This was some good climbing for Ms BikeVCar and included the infamous Belmont Hill.
At the top of the climb, a fortunate fist-full of my jersey prevented her first clipless pedal capsize, before she then demanded to know why I had climbed the hill 17 times in a row. Apparently, “Strava said to do it” was not a valid excuse and only further proved my stupidity.
I generally try to avoid stereotyping the sexes, but there seems to be a bit of a difference between ladies and gents when it comes to the pure enjoyment of combining statistical data with an obsessive competitiveness. The fairer sex do not seem to share this completely irrational pleasure. So while Ms BikeVCar was later back at home feeling pleased with her enjoyable Sunday ride, somebody else was uploading his data from the ride along with the carefully caveated title “Sunday ride with Meg”. This rather innocuous title was later laughingly pointed out, along the lines of: “is that last bit just in case somebody thinks you rode slow on your own?” Clearly there is some sad truth in this, but I hope that at least half of my readers might have some understanding …
This evening I finally unleashed the beast and took the red Merckx out for its second spin. I rode just over 30 km in exactly an hour which included 350 metres of climbing. And I completely smashed most of my Strava records. It mostly hurt but I could feel I was flying and just kept on pushing. There was no need to add any shallow caveats after that ride, but also no need to bore Ms BikeVCar with every single statistic. She’d only think I was more weird than I am.