Monday, 22nd September
Chesham – Great Missenden – Amersham Old Town – Chesham. 15.05 miles
I used today as nothing more than a quick test of the legs, and took a short but hard ride along the roads that I’d ridden a few weeks ago, at the height (perhaps I should say “weight”) of my lardyness.
The route took me, initially, up the steady incline out of Chesham, climbing for the first four miles until the short but steep drop into Great Missenden. I rode it hard, and on the top ring, getting out of the saddle a la Pantani, when the cadence dropped, although I was stomping rather than dancing on the pedals as the late Marco used to.
Once into Great Missenden, a left turn took me towards Amersham, with a gentle descent covering the next two miles up to the part of the ride that would really test the legs – a half-mile drag up a steeply rising section of dual-carriageway, which always seems to have a nasty headwind. I wasn’t to be disappointed, which is more than can be said for the hill. I’m sure it was utterly gutted, as I stood on the pedals and mashed the 53-toothed chainring for all I was worth. By my calculations, that would be about £7.99, making allowances for inflation. At the top, I paused long enough to get my bottle open (for it is a cheap one, and the top is a bloody nightmare), and made my descent into Amersham Old Town.
A brief potter through the town gave me the opportunity to overtake a few cars, making myself feel good despite their relative slow speed. Then I was faced with the delights of the climb out of the old town and into the new. The climb is one that I neither ever remember nor give respect to, and it always gives me a big smack in the chops. The first mile climbs rapidly skywards, then levels out just enough to make you think that you can recover and give it the beans. It lies to you, too, as almost immediately, the road slopes upwards once again, and catches you out. However, calling myself a cyclist and clad in spandex, I certainly wasn’t going to let the fat bird on the mountain bike that had emerged from a side-road stay anywhere near my back wheel. I hammered the pedals and probably emitted a fart with the effort, giving her a whiff of my beans.
The road home is downhill and, other than leaving the learner driver in a cloud of my dust on the descent into Chesham, the ride was over. I was pleasantly pleased, as the legs are coming back.
Todays bike: Pinarello Paris with full 9-speed Ultegra and Mavic Open Pros