Ride report: On hills, and getting a soaking

My ride this morning, although shorter than intended, needed a hefty dose of HTFU.

Firstly, I suck at hills. I’m too fat and too slow to haul myself up anything. But after doing the yacf Friday Night Ride to the Smoke (more on that another time) from Oxford to London, one thing was painfully clear: I need to stop sucking at them. Having a bike with a bottom gear of just 32″ means I have absolutely no excuses. So I’ve been trying to throw a climb up and over Old Town into the start of as many of my rides as I possibly can. At the moment it’s still really tough work, but it’s definitely getting a little easier each time. Where I’m really struggling, though, is with subsequent hills – I can probably manage a couple of hundred metres of climbing before my legs lose all their power and I’m relegated to the flat stuff.

And secondly, if there’s one thing I hate more than hills, it’s rain. I can’t stand getting a soaking, and it doesn’t help that my only SPD shoes have vented mesh uppers and so are the least water-resistant footwear in existence. But let’s face it, living in England – even down here in the south – is going to mean getting wet on a fairly regular basis. The obvious solution, of course, is to harden up and get out there. And with the promise of a Toffee Crisp in the fridge for when I get home, that’s exactly what I did:

Riding out into a light drizzle, my original intention after getting over the motorway was to head west at Burderop and into Wroughton before climbing over the downs and into Marlborough for some coffee and a slice of cake for a total ride of about 35 miles. However after the first couple of climbs the rain was starting to get heavier rather than lighter, and my legs just weren’t really in it for the long haul so I bailed out towards Chiseldon and back over the M4 for the flat ride through town to home.

I don’t like bailing out on rides, but after falling off the diet wagon in a big way this weekend I can’t say I’m surprised. Need to stick to the diet, shed a few pounds, tell my legs to shut up, and keep turning the pedals next time.


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