Posted on Sunday 18 October 2009 by Bob Davis
Sunday 18th October and it is (near enough) 30 years since I did my first bike race. What happened was that I had just joined Paddington Cycling Club and the secretary/coach, John Austin, asked if I wanted to do a bike race the next Sunday. It was a hill climb – time-trial up a hill – and I wanted an idea of how hard it was. “How long is it”, I innocently enquired. “About 2 minutes for the good guys, everybody else should get in under 3 minutes”, came the reply. “Ah well”, I thought, “that can’t be too hard…”.
In fact hill climbs are about the most lung bursting of all races, as I found out that weekend. I posted 2 minutes 45 seconds: a few years later when I had got used to racing, I did 2 minutes 23 seconds. The club record is under 2 minutes.
So today was to be the unofficial “not a hill climb” for us. I met Rory Rhodes, Sarah Khedouri and Jon McColl at Euston, and Nick Dean cycled out. Regrettably there was a low turn out for this and the West London DA (or is it MG?) freewheel competition, I think due to the absence of tubes to Amersham. A shame, although cold (first gloves day of the year), it was beautifully sunny in the afternoon and lots of perfect autumnal views.
From Tring it’s only a few miles to Toms Hill at Aldbury, so some warming up was in order. I was in two minds whether to have a go – as was everybody else – as I had had a cold for the last month and was hardly in a position to do a proper time with no training. But maybe I could at least do it in less than 3 minutes… So, with rudimentary timing for our unofficial event, the results were:
Nick Dean 2 minutes 42 seconds
Bob Davis 2 57
Rory Rhodes 3 10
Jon McColl 3 19
Sarah Khedouri 4 28
So that was pleasing for me, and I think the others found it at least an interesting experience.
Then over to Penn Street for the freewheel – 18 km up Wigginton Hill, through to Cholesbury, up gradually to St. Leonard’s, through the Lee and then on main roads to Hyde Heath. Then it’s down to the main road, through picturesque Little Missenden (but just about everything is picturesque around there), up the most pot holed road in the Chilterns to the main road and then to the top of the hill at 12.15 – to find nobody there and nobody to contact.
So up to the pub at Penn Street: halfway through a lunch what looked like some West London types going down the hill, and sure enough Rocco Richardson and Liz Creese turned up at the pub at one. Only 4 had turned up for the competition, and maybe we could have given them a run for their money. But we hadn’t felt like hanging around and so the trophy is back from Central London to West London – for now!
Then Nick went off to pick some mushrooms and the rest of us retraced steps to Tring for a 15.15 train back to Euston.
A short but very pleasant day.