I was going out for one of my feeble one-hour rides at an easy pace. I was cycling out of Oxford up Barracks Lane. It’s a short steep hill. Steep enough for many commuters to get off their bike and push. At the bottom, there was a runner who looked like he was doing hill intervals. Out of curiosity, I rode alongside him at his running pace. I smiled and offered a little encouragement. Then he smiled and said:
“right let’s do this” and he shot off up the hill. It was clear he was inviting me to a race.
Now I’ve been a bit on the crocked side for the past 18 months, but the competitive spirit still lurks. And some of the old dormant speed remains. So like the red rag to the bull. I sprinted up the hill and left the runner far behind. I turned round at the top to give a valedictory wave and the runner – now in the distance – smiled, or perhaps he grimaced.
So that was probably the most exciting 30 seconds of cycling for 2018. After that, it was back to tootling around Oxfordshire before going back to do my yoga exercises and stretches.
Still, I will take it as a good omen. I can still cycle faster than a runner, and that has to count for something.
One thing I’ve always found puzzling – In the Tour de France why can big fat blokes in a mankini run uphill as fast as the lead professional cyclists?