Bicycle Race / Fat Bottomed Girls
Yesterday’s weather was GRIM - rain, 11 celcius, and the wind blowing what my grandmother would describe as a “hoolie” from the northwest. I’d planned to ride up to Consett in the morning - 25 miles up into the hills & back to the southwest of us. But with this weather, I changed the plan, and held off to see if things improved by the afternoon. They didn’t, so at three, I set off for Belsay - 25 miles to the northwest.
At least that way, I’d have the wind to my back for the home stretch. Of course, things don’t always work out like that, and it seemed that for big chunks of the homeward journey, I’d just as much wind & rain in my face as on the way out!
This was a tough ride, where at several points, if I’d been clocking up the mileage on a series of short loops near to home, I’d have ducked out early. Highlights include . . .
- Watching a kid out cycling with her father get literally blown off her bike by the wind just outside of Blyth
- Having a Little Old Lady Behind The Wheel try to assassinate me shortly after. She was turning right across the road I was on, and despite my day-glo rain coat, “didn’t see me”. She started to pull out when I was less than a dozen yards away, and then stopped, with her door level with me. Fortunately, it was too darned windy to be riding on the aero bars, AND my brakes do seem to work in the wet. I stopped with my front wheel literally an inch from impact.
- Coming across Newcastle’s Town Moor ten miles from home, and realising that the coat’s waterproofing had been over-whelmed. It was COLD in the crosswind! Maybe it’s time I upgraded to something with Goretex, like these from Wiggle, or these from Evans?
It was tough, but also kinda fun - once I’d got over the shock of the weather. This is supposed to be August!
And the “Fat Bottomed Girl”? When I was just over a mile from home, I passed a woman out jogging. She was a ‘big girl’ - I mean almost as wide as she was tall, moving along at a snail’s pace, and sweating like a . . . a . . . sweaty thing. My initial thought was really dismissive - “Why on earth is someone like that out jogging”. But then, as I’d been thinking about Phil’s post about what it means to be an ‘Athlete’, several things struck me:
- Who the hell do I think I am to ask such questions?
- If ever there was someone in need of taking the exercise, there she is. AND SHE’S DOING IT.
- Hey, getting out there and trying, when you’re as out of shape as she is takes more effort and commitment than I’ll ever have.
Prejudice exists in all parts of our society - whether it’s about skin colour, gender, disability, body fat, or fitness. None of us immune to the xenophobic reaction when confronted by someone who doesn’t look just like the image in the mirror. What marks us out from barbarians though is our ability and willingness to treat these gut reactions as ‘wrong’, which if we do enough will override our instinctive programming telling us to fear ‘outsiders’, even if they live just next door to us.
So, maybe I’ve learned a lesson yesterday, and maybe I’m one step further up the steps to civilisation. And maybe I’ll be a little more encouraging in my thoughts next time I see someone making an effort that puts my skinny-arsed trials into perspective.
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 08/19/2007
- Total Time: 3:01:52.00
- Distance: 48.65 miles
- Average Speed: 16.05 mph
- Max Speed: 30 mph
- Average Cadence: 99
- Max Cadence: 140