This weekend I’ve been on my arm bike in Richmond Park again.
Christ, it was hot. Double Christ, I was hungover.
The last outing I’d done the first lap in 36 mins, riding clockwise around the park, which meant scaling the steepest hill. This time I tried the other direction, having spotted another guy on one going that way.
I made a quick mental assessment of him as I tried to catch him – double leg amputee ( far less weight to carry ), a lot younger than me ( an advantage to him ), by himself ( therefore quite experienced as a rider ), able to sit up and move around his bike seat ( abdominal control ). I concluded that he probably had full lung volume/ function too, unlike me.
In theory therefore he was gonna be very hard to catch and keep up with.
On the first hill I overtook him. Obviously he had no idea that I was behind him, so wasn’t trying to stay ahead. I sort of smiled as I passed him, too breathless to actually speak.
A mile or so later, he flashed past me on an uphill section, really going for it. My gears were slipping all over the place, really interrupting my pedal action. Obviously I gave chase, slowed to a standstill at one point by a Chelsea Tractor.
Up the hill by Kingston Gate, he stayed 30 metres ahead of me. Along the flat at the top, I reeled him in, waiting for my moment to pass him, managing a few words as I did, something like ‘ it’s hard, this ‘, and trying not to show my exhaustion.
Determined to stay ahead I really pushed the last 2 miles, looking in my little rear view mirror to make sure the bastard wasn’t closing on me.
32 minutes for the lap , 4 mins quicker than my previous best.
Pathetic isn’t it, I’ve only been on the thing 3 times, and already I’m trying to take on the world.