Oh geezus – I had so much fun yesterday but I have also not been so scared of dying in a long time!
The short version is:
- I did a long bike ride to the top of Box Hill with some of the crew from my new Crossfit box.
The medium version is:
- F*ck, I HATE going downhill fast.
The speed, the potholes, the cars, the INFINITE options for flying off the bike, e.g. a car that pulls out just a bit too far/too fast from an intersecting road, a zombie pedestrian stepping onto the road, a speeding car that pushes you into the gutter, a piece of glass that explosively punctures your tires, etc. etc. etc.
The long version is:
A group from my new Crossfit box were doing a ride to the top of Box Hill and having never been there before OR been on a long bike ride in a group in a long time, I decided to tag along.
I used to LOVE cycling. When I lived in Canberra, I WAS a cyclist. On my bike every single day, I loved it. Since moving to London 12 years ago I have not only given up driving because it’s scary, but I’ve also been on my bike around 10 times in the past 12 years.
We left off from Kingston yesterday morning and after 20km were sort of out of the busiest traffic so for a while it was really pleasant. I didn’t have to think where I was going as the navigators were in the front but I did have a little trouble keeping up with the bunch because a) I don’t cycle much these days b) I don’t like to cycle in a tight group because I like to see the road conditions a few meters in front of me.
Then the freaking hills started.
Uphill bits – fine. Quads were on fire but that hasn’t ever killed anyone.
Downhill bits – hold me.
My fastest speed was 45.4 km/hour. I am comfortable up to 35 km/hour. After that I feel way too vulnerable.
But my fears aside – the cycling bit, the just pedaling away and enjoying the scenery was very nice. We stopped once before heading up Box Hill and then again on top of Box Hill for some food and a bit of rest for our butts.
Box Hill itself was actually not bad at all, the bit beforehand where you go straight DOWN almost the same distance – that was the worst.
When going up, I just chugged along in my lowest gear since I didn’t know how long/far the climb was.
I was overtaken by several guys who looked more or less in their 80s. It’s a good thing I don’t have a big ego.
The top of the hill actually came very quickly and next time I’ll definitely push the pace a bit more.
After the stop on top of Box Hill we made our way back to Kingston, refueled and rehydrated at a pub and then I made my way home via Richmond Park.
I got home at 6:30 after being out and about for 8 hours. Out in the open air for 8 hours. With a bit of diesel in the air, but also with a lot of fresh air and gorgeous countryside views. (Total cycling time, by the way: 4 hours and 4 minutes; total distance: 82 km)
If I weren’t such a scaredy cat, I would definitely do this more often.