Sunday, September 05, 2010

My arse hurts: the Richmond to Windsor bike ride 2010

The Richmond to Windsor bike ride crept up on me a bit this year; in fact, I actually only signed up for it about three weeks ago, and at one point was even debating whether I'd even bother doing it. Just last night I was complaining about it to Sparky Ma. The reason? I dunno … I think I felt woefully unprepared for it. The last time I'd been on the bike was last year's ride. But then again, the last time I'd been on it before that was 2008's ride, so if anything I was just as well prepared this year as I was last.

But seriously, three rides in two years? Ouch.

Anyway, having payed £17 for the privilege of taking part I thought I'd better do it, so I was up at seven this morning for a nutritious breakfast (porridge - slow release energy), got my kit together, and got out the door.

The day immediately took a bad turn when not one minute from my house I was stopped by some local busybody wanting to discuss a new recycling plant the council want to build in the area. I barely discuss anything at 10 past eight in the morning, let alone debate the merits, or lack thereof, of a recycling plant. While he was busy pulling an A3 laminate of the plant out of a worn plastic bag I told him I had the council's information pack in doors (technically I do - ironically it's in the recycling bin) and that I'd consider it in my own time (a lie). He then asked if I'd sign his petition against it. I rolled my eyes (behind my sunglasses so he couldn't see) and repeated what I'd just said.

Then, basically, I just cycled off.

En route to Richmond I had the unerring sensation that something wasn't quite right with my bike, although on the face of it, aside from being a bit dirty from the accumulated muck of the last two rides (particularly 2008's horrific washout), it was fine; I'd oiled the technical-looking bits and pumped up the tyres earlier in the week. Still…

Upon arriving at Richmond I decided that the rear tyre was a smidgeon under-inflated, so pulled out my pump and went at it. And then the valve broke and all the air came out. Well, some of it. I quickly and wisely put the valve cap back on to contain the leak.

I was thus confronted with a dilemma, the options available being thus:

• Phone Sparky Pa, tell him of my predicament, ask him to come get me, and bail out of the ride.
• Do the ride with the valve cap in place and hope it was sufficient for the 40 miles to Windsor, and the 10 or so home.
• Get someone to fix it.

While option two was dismissed almost instantly (even I can't believe I considered it), option one appeared VERY tempting. But then I realised that Sparky Pa would probably say something like "no, I'm not coming to get you, you lazy tyke," and I'd have to walk home from Richmond with an epic sad face. And anyway, having got to Richmond Green the sight of all the other participants boosted my spirits somewhat. I (kind of) wanted to do it!

So I went over to the mechanics tent where a nice chap changed the inner tube in about five minutes for the princely sum of £5 (they also had a box in which you were supposed to throw loose change as a donation for their tea fund, but I only had notes so I just looked at him with apologetic eyes, although in hindsight he probably didn't see this as I was still wearing my sunglasses). This was good because, quite frankly the last time I tried to change a tyre I was about 9, it all went horribly wrong, and I threw an immense hissy fit. Chances are if he'd told me to do it myself I'd still be sitting on Richmond Green sulking now.

Anyway, with my stead restored to full working order, I headed off to join the queue for the start line. Unlike previous years, though, the queue this year stretched right to the opposite corner of the green and had begun to loop round again.

I tried to take a picture, but I couldn't get it all in frame, so I did a video instead. Look:

That done, I faffed about putting my phone back in my bag, only to turn around to find about 50 more people had joined the line. I sighed, and tacked myself on the end.

It took about 25 minutes to reach the front, at which point I heard the compare (alas, not the usual Shatner lookalike) make a fascinating comment about most men not being secure enough in their sexuality to have a wicker basket on their handlebars, and then I was off.

So, yeah, the ride went OK. Good, actually. I think I did it in about the same time as the last few years, obviously arriving at Windsor a smidgeon later than usual due to the delayed start, but physically I don't feel too exhausted - with one exception: my arse.

I don't know whether I've shed fat in my posterior, or whether it's just a case of not being anywhere near as prepared for the rigours of being perched on the saddle for so many hours as I should be, but it REALLY HURTS. At one point I sat down on some damp grass to try to alleviate the pain, but that just made me look like I'd suffered some sort of horrific downstairs accident. Cycling home from Windsor was especially painful. As a result, my saddle and I are currently NOT FRIENDS.


On the plus side, based on my recent cycling history, I won't have to deal with this problem again for at least another year.


Bonus photo!

This adorable pony was tethered at one of the rest stops. While I sat soothing my aching posterior, I watched a woman approach it to take a photo. The pony just wanted some attention, though, so she stroked it and they both appeared to be having a great time. Then the woman walked away and the pony started spazzing out a bit, shaking its head like it was having a bad reaction to some E or something. This went on for about a minute, at which point I decided I'd had enough of seeing a pony having what looked like an aneurysm, and jumped tenderly back on my bike before cycling off at speed. I hope it's OK!


CyberPete said...

Where is the photo of you? (and the horses that were flying full mast)

You usually include a photo of your fine self.

Tara said...

That bike seat really does look evil and sinister! Hope you're 100% better by now! Congratulations on finishing the route and going the painful distance!

Tim said...

Cyberpete - I do, don't I? Forgot this year!

Tara - Yes, a lot more comfortable now, thanks!!