Sunday, September 02, 2007

The conqueror of Callow Hill - AKA, Richmond to Windsor bike ride 2007

Another year, another Richmond to Windsor bike ride. It doesn't seem like a year since the last one, but as I enjoy this event so much I won't complain. In fact, bring it on.

So I got up early this morning (6:45 am!), had breakfast (oat cereal - thinking of the slow release energy there people!), and a cup of tea, then sauntered about getting all my bits together. I eventually set off for Richmond at EXACTLY 8:14 am, and arrived at EXACTLY 8:57 am. While chilling out pre-ride, I sat on Richmond Green trying to work out exactly how many times I've done this event; I'm pretty sure it's at least the fifth, if not the sixth time. I must check. Any-hoo, this year was a bit different from those previous occasions. Why? Because I was doing it without my wing-men - Mr. Chunt and, from last year, Sweatband. They'd both cited social engagements on Saturday evening as their pitiful excuses. So what did this mean for me? Well, three things:

• Fewer photos than normal. Chunty takes pics of everything, whereas I usually can't be arsed to get my phone out of my bag unless I've stopped.
• Less opportunity for mid-ride conversation.
• No opportunity to cycle in a visually-stunning wedge formation.

To be honest, I'm not too bothered by the lack of pics, and when you think about it, a 37 mile bike ride isn't exactly the best time to natter with your pals. But I did miss that wedge formation.

Anyway, just before I was about to set off for Windsor, I received a text from my compadre in all things Star Trek, BSH. He was joining me for the ride, but was only just leaving home at the point I was about to depart. Bearing in mind that he lives waaaaay north of London, we decided that it was probably best if I set off.

So I joined the queue to set off. And almost got very angry with the posh lady behind me who kept bumping my back wheel. I very nearly hit her on the head with my pump. Fortunately, the hilarious witticisms of the familiar event compare, who Mr. Chunt and I have nicknamed fake Shatner over the years (due to his resemblance to real Shatner, I should add), kept me in a good frame of mind.

And so, around about 9:30 am, as fake Shatner said "another band of heroic cyclists cross the start line, passing the assembled throng of papparazi, and crowds of weeping relatives here to bid them farewell as they begin their arduous journey down the long and winding road to Windsor," I began.

Without wing men to keep an eye on, I decided that for the first time I was going to go hell for leather and see how quickly I could do the ride. That being the case, I immediately swooped past the slow-coaches in front of me, and before I knew it I was out ahead of the pack. Fortunately, I knew where I was going.

All in all, then, the ride was going swimmingly, even the bit where it passes so frustratingly close to Sparky Towers that last year Sweatband suggested we stop in for tea and biscuits. There were a couple of annoying bits, though, including some guy cycling right behind me who clearly loved the sound of his own voice and thought that every one else would too; he wouldn't shut up. Another problem was some bloke who'd hitched a stereo up to his bike; now, I like a bit of ingenuity, but for the 30 minutes or so I was level-pegging with him, I came to the conclusion that he had exceedingly questionable taste in music. That was until we were freewheeling down a hill and 'Ride of the Valkyries' came on; that was rather inspiring. The last time I saw him 'Intergalactic' by the Beastie Boys was playing, but as I thought it couldn't really get much better than that I decided to overtake and zoom-zoom-zoom into the distance.

Knowing that I'd be wing-manless, I'd briefly thought about taking my iPod with me, and in fact many people had, but I decided against it based on the fact that I like to be able to hear cars approaching from behind. That being the case, I took to humming tunes in my head, and kinda got snagged on Matchbox Twenty's new song, 'How Far We've Come' (rather apt, huh?), which you can hear for yourself HERE. It's very good. In fact, it was cool, cool, it was just all cool (which will make sense if you listen to it).

Anyway, my mental recital of Matchbox Twenty led to one of two moments when other riders spoke to me. The first, non-Matchbox Twenty-related moment occurred when I decided to slow down a little bit. Some lycra-clad bloke raced past me on a road bike and shouted "GO UP A GEAR - YOU'RE WASTING ENERGY!" Which I suppose was helpful, albeit unwanted advice.
The second instance occurred when I was so engrossed in singing the song in my brain that I actually missed a turning. The bloke behind shouted "left - LEFT!" which was actually very helpful, and gratefully received advice. See, this is what happens when I don't have wing men.

After that, all that was left to do was conquer the horrifically steep Callow Hill (which I did with something approaching relative ease!), before finally reaching Windsor at bang on 13:00, which was a smidgeon quicker than we've done it in previous years. And I was greeted by fake Shatner who called me "sir!" Good times!

After that I waited around for BSH who took another hour and a half (and he did the short route!). Fortunately, fake Shatner was on hand to entertain me, and at various times referred to the tent that marked the finish line as "the tent of triumph," "the gazebo of glory," and the "marquis of miracles." That chap is one of the reasons I do this event every year.

All in all, then, a good day. I'll leave you with the three photos I took, while I go off to see if there's any chance I'll ever regain sensation in my genitals.

The start line…

…and the finish line.

Fake Shatner, resplendent in yellow!


Inexplicable DeVice said...

Good Christ alive!! Fake Shatner's been eating too many bananas methinks?

Super show for beating your previous times.
If you need any help checking for sensations in your genitals, you only have to ask. I do have some experience in such matters...

Tim said...

Fake Shatner always wears yellow, though I think this was a new suit - it's a tad more vibrant than it appeared last year.

Thanks for your kind offer, but all is super on the genital-front. Honestly.

Dinah said...

Awesome! I'm so proud of you!

The Ride of the Valkyries music is reminds me of the times I'd be walking down the street and Carmina Burana music would come on and suddenly everything would seem so much dramatic.

Tim said...

It is very inspiring, isn't it? I should play it whenever I need a boost!

Inexplicable DeVice said...

I find Holst's Mars: Bringer of War to be a delightful pick me up.
Just imagine it blasting out next time you have a specific itch and I'm zeroing in on you astride Broom at 90mph...

Tim said...

That would be an awfully dramatic method of scratching an itch. It would probably take you an age just to get to the correct place on your old-school 8-track of The Planets…

Inexplicable DeVice said...

I suppose you're right. Well, there're other things to do whilst we wait...

Tim said...

Watch Star Trek?

Tara said...

I admire you for doing those bike rides. It tires me out just thinking about it. :D

Was just thinking this morning that, if they haven't created one yet, someone should come out with an IPod or MP3 player that has a built-in pedometer to show how far you've walked while exercising. Do you think anyone has that out there yet?

Tim said...

Bike rides are fun!

I think the closest thing to what you're describing is the Nike+ iPod kit which is designed for runners and uses a sensor to record all your data which you can then upload to a special website that can monitor your performance. It sounds cool, but I've not gotten one yet.