Saturday, 11th October
Chesham – Chenies – Amersham – Chesham. 12.29 miles
For those people more esurient for the latest exploits of a Fat Man on a Bike, the last eleven days must have been almost as agonising as they have been for me. Professional and personal activities managed to keep me from the much-loved bicycle for a couple of days, then an evil lurgy prevented me from donning the lycra for the best (or perhaps I mean worst) part of a week. However, now almost recovered, I could bear the forlorn sight of the abandoned bike in the dining room no longer.
The weather, unusually clement for this time of year, had gifted me a warm and beautiful blue sky for my first snot-free day, and I had no intention of letting it go to waste. After a brief wander around the town and a visit to see the ducks at the lake where, in the absence of bread*, my girlfriend and I were amusingly pecked at, we returned home and I clad myself in the finest man-made fibres known to cycling.
I set off expecting to feel truly rotten and, although feeling far from good, I was to be pleasantly surprised. I kept both the speed and the effort fairly low, and headed for the uneven surfaces of the valley road that would take me to Chenies. I had no idea how my broken-down bits would handle the harder breathing that is required when climbing, and was prepared to turn around and return on the valley road if the sharp incline into Chenies produced more agony than my lurgy-ravaged body was ready for. I needn’t have worried. I coasted along the valley road at an average of around 20mph, until the road kicked upwards, then slipped the bike into a gear that I’d be embarrassed to use on such a road under normal circumstances. It proved to be a mistake, as I found that I could manage the hill with no less difficulty than I would otherwise, but couldn’t quite generate enough power (or, perhaps, speed) to shift into a higher, more comfortable gear. I was left pedalling like an idiot yet not getting far at all quickly.
Eventually, I reached the top of the climb and, once in Chenies, I was spotted by a passer-by. The police were notified that they could call of the area-wide search for the not-missing cyclist, and I headed for Amersham. The road between Chenies and Little Chalfont is, despite the occasional pot-hole, quite smooth, and I made pleasant progress in the afternoon sun. Such form was not to remain. As the smooth tarmac gave way to the more usual rutted monstrosity of a Buckinghamshire highway, the road to Amersham sucked the life out of my legs, and the elastic snapped. Much like Magnus Backstedt**, who was eliminated on stage seven of this years Tour de France from Brioude to Aurillac, I could not even turn my legs over. I had to cruise for a bit to recover and then set about trying to get home.
Once into Amersham, a brief detour through the town centre provided me with a bit of flat road to recover on. Sadly, it also provided me with a middle-aged woman with severe visual impairment in a small hatchback, who pulled out in front of me, and then looked in just about every direction other than at the scowling cyclist cursing her. Amersham was negotiated without any further mishap, and it was all downhill from there. I made a quick descent into Chesham and, once back home, I was greeted by my beautiful girlfriend’s bottom, as she was bent over and balancing provocatively on the Wii-Fit. I’ll think about that and, in the meantime, here’s the map:
Todays bike: Pinarello Paris with full 9-speed Ultegra and Mavic Open Pros.
* Do NOT give ducks bread. It’s not good for them. So there.
** I am nothing like “Big Maggy”. He’s a 18-foot tall Swede, whereas I’m a fat Turnip.