Richmond to Windsor 2013! Yes, I did it! Well, most of it, anyway. Bike Events said the route was 29 miles, the commentator at the Finish Line said 27, but Map My ride, with its superior GPS, clocked me in at 33 miles – and that is discounting the additional 2 miles to get from Sarah’s house to the train station.
The title of this blog is a lie: actually, my bum is perfectly fine mainly because I upped the padding factor using an overnight sanitary towel (sorry boys, a girls only thing) – many thanks to my darling daughter for giving me this handy tip – although after about 20 miles I did begin to feel uncomfortable. It’s my right knee that took the brunt of it despite the brace I was wearing. My man (thank you darling one) cheered us through the Finish Line armed with a fleece jacket (damn it gets cold when you stop), anti-inflammatories and an ice-pack. We headed straight to Sarah’s (amazing stamina as she just kept going while I flaked out on the sofa) where she dished up burgers and some of her glorious plum crumble with ice-cream. When I finally got home I dragged myself up the stairs and was greeted with a steaming bath. [warm sigh] I felt cherished.
So, I said earlier I did most of the course. That is because at the first major hill my chain slipped off (no path to stop and deal with it). I managed to get up the second hill in second whilst cursing my chain as I tried desperately to click to first and, before I knew it, we were at the top. At the third hill I had to dismount halfway up because of traffic and walk up the pavement. The final hill (I have my own personal name for it) was a doozer and I walked four fifths of it – even if I had been able to get my gear into first (yes, it was still playing up) I wouldn’t have attempted it – I could barely walk up it as it was. So, I would say about half a mile was walked.
Humongous thanks to Sarah Ward (team leader and provider of the most delicious homemade energy bars – the carrot to my donkey arse) and Catherine Lawrence (if she hadn’t booked us on it we’d still be pootling around Windsor Great Park). A little more hill practise and we’ll be ready to tackle London to Brighton…or at least we can kid ourselves we’re ready.
Do I have any tips? Yes, if you’re new to cycling work out how to make the most effective use of your gears. I thought I knew all about it, being used to driving, but I spent nearly half an hour yesterday reading about gear efficiency and boy was I wrong…now I just have to test it out.