– Ride a century around Regent’s Park.
The outer-circle of this Royal Park is said to be 2.8 miles. Even on busy workdays, it’s still possible to put down some decent mileage in the quiet season. Supposedly 19 laps will get you a simulated ride to Brighton; just without the worry of a journey home by bike or train. Get out on an early morning, when the gates are shut to traffic, and it can be an ideal central location to enjoy a bike ride.
For the club, it’s also happens to be a place of fond memories: July, five years ago, we share our very first Team Kit – the scene, not too dissimilar to giddy school kids off on a summer holiday. Then there are the meets for rides to Richmond Park; back in the day when we had no idea what Richmond Park would be like. And more recently, meeting new members whom have since become very good friends and great Baroudeurs.
The sun had been replaced by dark clouds. We put down something like 80 miles the week before in some ghastly weather. Crazy how a bit of water can seep into your head and come up with equally soggy ideas. And so, with a sense of some kind of weird achievement, possibly encouraged by some friendly locals saying “Good morning!” (or was it something else?) each time we lapped, rather than some rant for us being on a bike at some uncivilised hour, we vow to return for a little bit more.
The Forgetful One
I can count on one hand the times I’ve used chamois-cream. I never seem to need it. It’s so infrequently used, I’m always surprised to find it in the medicine cabinet. All the same, after last week’s experience of rain and friction, I’m encouraged to make full use of such fine natural ingredients and apply a good measure of it on for today.
There’s no ‘probably’ or doubt about it, I’ve got to be the worst for punctuality. So in many ways, I have no right for help from fresh-legs to draft my weak-ass back on the chain. And yet, to see a friendly figure in the distance donning the big ‘B’ is a welcome sight, and one I have to take advantage from. There is one, two, three, and eventually four London Baroudeurs on the ride today, and man does it make a huge difference to morale. In all but the heaviest of rain, the boys are smiling. We need to, half of us are on single-speeds, and the other on fixed. Not so much cavalry, more like infantry.
Here they come
You get to a point when you lose count. The stats on the Garmin read 99 miles and I’m thinking this is going on forever. In fact, at the point of 88 miles I’ve depleted the stores of food in my pockets and running simply on the motivation provided by the boys up front. Despite it being midday, I’m lost. You can tell I’m not the only one. The conversation has come down to simple figures: time; number of laps; distance; speed; where it hurts; where it’s numb.
By the time my computer tells me we’ve done 100, I’m beat. So what is the smart thing to do? We agree to do another lap, just in to be sure.
Finally, we stroll into the nearest cafe and smile. We’ve done the 100.
Riders: 4 Start time: 0548 Distance: 111.52 miles Elevation: 1,844 Max Speed: 28.6 miles Calories: 6,371