Diary of the Unfit 2: The Chain Gang

I received some rollers in the post on Friday. A large box, heavy. My first physical challenge involved getting them home on the bike. I kept the anonymous plastic wrapping on the huge box as I stuffed the bottom third into my Tardis Sack – I didn’t want any jokers shouting ‘You’re supposed to ride ON them, mate!’ etc from the pavement as I passed. As it was, they wouldn’t have had a chance, the vast bulk of the box acting like a sail that caught one of those rare and beautiful winds that follow all the way home from behind. Setting the rollers up was easy, unlike my first attempts. Watched and at times literally supported by my family, I stayed on long enough to ascertain that I wasn’t going to discover a talent. Very tricky indeed.

This morning’s ride involved beautiful wind’s evil brother. Richmond had its familiar mix of rouleurs and paragons, dynamos and diehards, all riding in the opposite direction from the three brave Baroudeurs who battled manfully into the wind. The news that DC was not riding due to a carousing appointment the night before was on the one hand disappointing. On the other, if I’m honest, there was a tinge of relief; it meant that Disco and Nustu would not be whipped up into a big-ring frenzy by Dixon’s relentless attacks and his gleeful relish of punishing pace on inclines, declines and roads in general. I believe the boys did try to hold their horses for me today; Lowell stuck the diesel into 5th and powered into the wind like it wasn’t there, offering his wheel and its pocket of air for me to sit in. On one hill, Nustu sniffed the wind and stood up on his pedals offering clean heels to the world. The deer stood by and looked on, oblivious.

Disaster struck on the same hill at the start of our last lap. Lowell’s chain, tired and beaten by the relentless torques it was being subjected to, gave up and broke in two, dumping L on the road. Fortunately he was ascending at the time, so there were no serious holes in anything pricey. His leg will mend. Stu and I then pushed him, arm either side, back to the cafe for coffee and summer planning. Thus was our ride cut short. Mercifully.

I drove home, climbed the stairs at pace and mastered those rollers, oh yes.

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