Weather Bomb, ba-bomb, bomb, bomb
It’s Sunday; there’s 6 of us; it’s a little wet; how bad can it get?
Pretty bad from what I recall. Meeting up with DC was the easy part, but clearly the communication needs some tweaking. Daddy Cool rolls up in his blue-fixie, only to discover that I’m on gears, with mudguards. We shrug it off, and figure, we’ll be fine.
As we approach Swains Lane, there’s an odd sight of 3 cyclists taking refuge under a bus shelter. This isn’t what I pictured when we organised the day’s adventure, but I’m willing to delve into a different kind of weekend. Teammates, Ed and Craig say hello. Rebecca smiles bravely. I can’t help but admire her, or should I be concerned that she wants to ride in these conditions?
The floating Prince
At the very same time, just a stone’s throw away, Prince Albert Road is experiencing an uncommon abundance of water. Something we will discover a little later. Thankfully the climb up Swain’s is rewarding, in it’s own very special way. We get to stretch our legs and are relieved to see fellow riders out. Looks like we’re not the only mad dogs out this morning.
The smart money is on Ed, as peels off to join family. Just then the heavens open. It looks like they paid a visit to the Arctic first, before piling the chills on us.
Mambo Number 1
Herts is a lovely ride. The country roads and the peace that comes with them, is what makes these routes stand out. You can go on for 15-30 minutes before hearing a car, let alone seeing one. The tarmac is mostly smooth, and there’s enough climbing and plummeting to help you feel your digging. Captain signals a sharp climb ahead, and as he quickly vanishes, I hear the echo of him mentioning that he happens to be the Strava KOM. Nice!
Also nice is seeing Rebecca kick into her climbing legs and take up fighting position. We later discover that this incredible athlete has crossed the United States, West to East, in 9 solid weeks. Not only is she keeping up, she’s leading out as well.
Then the crank goes. Only it’s not Rebecca’s, it’s DC’s, and he’s riding his fixed on practically just one leg. We pull over and between us find the tools to do a quick pit-stop.
Samba Number 2
Only moments later the front brakes blow. I do a double-take to check it’s not Craig, Rebecca, nor Captain’s. Relieved to know it’s not theirs, I start to panic that it could be me. In the middle of nowhere, and in these wretched conditions, I’d hate to commute home. Hold on, where’s DC? He was just there. I turn back, to find DC. His white-knuckles are tell-tell signs he’s been on the brakes, but now he informs us the brakes are gone!
Tango Number 3
As we near a village climb, DC is relying on his legs as a means of control. With no front brakes to speak of, he’s having to work overtime to keep going. The final descent is too much; not for DC, mind, but for the bike. The crank surrenders. We pull up to a safe patch, and reluctantly, DC instructs me to join the rest of the team. He does a little once-over and confirms that there’s no salvaging this baby today. In the wet and in the cold I turn and jump back on my bike. I figure DC’s got a long walk to the station.
Zouk Number 4
For the next 10 minutes I’m racing to get back onto the bunch. There’s roughly 2o miles left and I’m in no condition to ride this alone. As I near a junction a familiar kit comes into view. It’s a flat. Worrying that Rebecca would lose patience with the earlier mishaps and regret coming out, I’m relieved to find out that she’s hit hard-luck. The silver-lining is that this day, it can happen to anyone. Not just those on shiny blue fixed-gear bikes.
Cha Cha Number 5
The numerous stops cause us to shiver. Earlier, DC points out that Captain would make an excellent promotion for the Gabba, as he shivers close to freezing. His teeth grind in the cold. We hit the last stretch before hitting home, but there’s another surprise for us. Not wanting to make this a day to easily forget, good fortune decides to head south and we are hit with yet another puncture. Only this time we are moments from shops and civilisation. Perhaps this is just an elaborate joke.
No, it’s another day with the Baroudeurs in the Winter-Wonderland of Cycling.
All smiles after the miles