Red Mist Defeated By The Red Line
My swimming buddy Simon, couldn’t make it last night, so I decided to go for a ride instead. It was one of those ups & downs rides, with the highs provided by favourable wind on the way home, and the lows from eejits in a car.
Let’s deal with the lows first. About six miles from home I got stopped at a set of lights. Not a problem, as it was right on schedule for me to have a drink (that’s every ten minutes - gotta keep hydrated!). Anyway, we pulled away, and I was just clear of the traffic starting to spin up my legs, and dropping from the base bars to the elbow pads, when there was this awful scream from just behind me.
The passenger - a Paris Hilton wannabe, but with none of the class - of a car overtaking me thought that leaning out of the window and trying to startle cyclists was just the funniest thing ever. Unusually, it didn’t startle me (I’d not had enough coffee yesterday perhaps?), but they did it with added help from the horn to another cyclist coming the other way on the footpath a hundred yards or so ahead, and he almost fell off his bike. When I saw that, the Red Mist started to come down again, and I decided I had to catch that car and engage the passenger & driver in a frank & open discussion on the subject of courtesy to other road users.
The car had about 150 yards head start on me, but I tucked in and gave it everything - I knew that there were a couple of roundabouts coming up that if the traffic was right, might just slow them down. Unfortunately, it was not to be. The rush hour had already subsided a little, and they coasted through those roundabouts with only minimal delays. I was chasing, into the wind, and in the hope of making it only a short sprint, hadn’t bothered taking it up onto the big chainring when I’d run out of sprockets. I was pedaling at close to 140 rpm, which is easily sustainable downhill on a fixie, but not when you’re trying to get some power onto the tarmac . . . my endurance limit’s probably only about 110 rpm, for a couple of miles I can sustain something like 120 . . . but 140?
No - that was way past the red line, and within less than half a mile I’d blown up. Even if I had caught the car, all I’d have been able to do was pant and gasp at them - though in a very eloquent and erudite manner, of course. It probably took me a good couple of miles to recover too, with a noticeable drop in my average speed - something to bear in mind for race day. A good steady (but fast!) pace is likely to prove more effective in the long run than a series of sprints and recoveries. Hmmmm.
So I just put it to one side, and settled down for the rest of the ride. I went through the top of Newcastle to Sage’s offices and then turned round. What a relief! I knew that I’d been cycling into the wind, but hadn’t appreciated how strong it was. The ride home was just fantastic - one of those absolute flyers where everything seems to go right. The biggest problem was keeping the bike under the speed limit, and dealing with the traffic which seemed to be moving just so slowly.
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 06/19/2008
- Total Time: 1:25:00.00
- Distance: 25 miles
- Average Speed: 17.65 mph
- Average Cadence: 98