HC’s gone on the 5:2 diet. Last night we ate lentils, griddled courgettes and mint leaves. With 40g of feta cheese. It’s a new thing probably based on an old thing, a diet of starvation. I only ate this in solidarity, as well as having eaten a massive breakfast and lunch. Fasting. It’s not for me. But it probably should be. I could do to get lighter.
On my 5.6 mile ride to Elephant this morning, I caned it down the Kennington Road. It’s a fast road, dead straight. I’d had to get into school somewhat earlier than usual, so I went out with the 8.45 crowd and found that it was a racier crowd of fighty cyclists. In Brixton, weaving through the A23’s killer trucks and buses, there were front wheels a-popping. The sporadic traffic lights and junctions all the way along make for that interval training that triathletes and TT riders are so enamoured of; and to some degree, so am I. I will, on occasion, treacle through a red light on a crossing, or a left turn. I’m not much of junction-jumper, but I can see why so many are. However, I have good reason not to: I can really accelerate off an amber. It means, oftentimes, that I’ll catch the law-breakers in front of me, only to be passed again when I stop again at the next lights. Hopscotch. What’s important to note, however, is the very act of stopping at lights is what makes you so effective at leaving them again - power generation. Stop-starting, riding as hard as you can between junctions - that is training. It’s a short way, five and a half miles, and I can do it in 20 minutes if I’m nippy (even less if the lights go my way) but I often get in tired and a bit warm. Commutes should be like that.
The Bank Holiday weekend saw some mileage, too. Sunday was a wonderful day, I put 57 miles in the case and hammered some hills. I did a similar, shorter loop on Monday; I rarely cycle two days in a row, but when I do, it is marvellous. You recover on the second ride, especially when you ease up a little on the pedals. I made 46 miles on Monday, and they were easy, traditional miles; I did cane it up Toys, however. It’s almost making me want to tackle an iPhone, and Strava, if it weren’t so against my cheapskate fears of technology. Besides, I know I’ve caned it when I pass an entire cycle club, strung out in various degrees of distress, and get to the top guy, a Stravanaut for sure, and pass him a little slower than I did the rest. I had the legs, and I knew the legs had the juice to keep going to the top, beyond, and back up the wall of the Downs on my way home. Form is what they call that.
Route 66, the 20 minutes from West Wickham to home, are where all Velonauts reconfigure for the final burn. I found I was sandwiched between a couple of fast groups, two in front who were absolutely burning, and two behind who so thoroughly resented being overtaken by a guy on his own, that they downshifted, went quiet, and hammered it for five minutes just to reel me back in. And then they hopscotched me and slowed up. Another guy did the same to me, and I to him, to the top of Anerley. Everyone’s coming into form, and it’s days like this when certainty means having a pop at whoever’s there. And I like it, the fightiness.