Monday, 13th October
Chesham – St Albans. 16.62 miles
I left the house quite excited this afternoon. The bike has started to develop a few niggling rattles and creaks, and so I’d booked it into the bike shop for a service.
I started out at a bad time of day. The climb of White Hill came almost immediately, and just as the clock reached chucking-out time at the local High School. Crawling your way up a hill, gasping for every molecule of oxygen you can get into your ravaged lungs, hardly gives you the most flattering look, and struggling away whilst simultaneously having the piss taken out of you by spotty, untidy school-kids does little to add any encouragement to carry on. Fortunately, they looked scruffy in their horrible uniforms, worn in a variety of horrible styles, whereas I looked marvellous in my lovely lycra. One-nil to me, I think.
After the initial climb of White Hill, the road levels and becomes very windy and flat for around four miles, taking you through Bovingdon and past HMP The Mount, where Iron Mike Tyson never did reside, before the descent of Box Lane and into the oh-so-ugly Hemel Hempstead., which boasts The Plough roundabout, affectionately known locally as The Magic Roundabout because it actually consists of five roundabouts that circulate around a central …erm… thingy. The principle of the design is to confuse the living daylights out of visitors to Hemel, in the hope that they don’t stay. However, the locals needn’t have worried and, after a five minute conversation with one, any visitor would have to be equally as inbred to hang around. There’s no such thing as a safe negotiation of The Magic Roundabout, but I made it in one piece.
It wasn’t to be long before the rain came down, and the rest of the road was to be thoroughly miserable. Once at the bike shop, I reluctantly handed over my lovely bike to the grease-monkey that was to service it. I wanted to cry. While I wipe the tears away, you can look at the map.
Todays bike: Pinarello Paris with full 9-speed Ultegra and Mavic Open Pros.