The Surrey Hills Gravel Cross event took place this weekend….without me. Damn it! No gravel bike this weekend, a broken Kinesis Tripster thwarted my plans and had me wondering what to do with myself.
As it happens an enforced rest was, perhaps, no bad thing. Work has been a relentless sweat fest recently. Long neglected tasks at home have been beckoning too.
That’s not to say I didn’t have any fun. I went out with the dogs and got more acquainted with my new camera.
And, in order to make an onerous shopping task bearable I decided to make it a special occasion by borrowing Anita’s bike, a Specialized Ariel elite.
A trip to the local supermarket on a hot afternoon, on a ladies bike, requires one to enter into the spirit by dressing casually I feel. So, I did.
Whilst I gently wafted along, for wafting is what it was and very pleasantly too, I started to consider how a change of bike and clothing style can result in a complete alteration of mindset.
Normally I ride a sporty gravel bike. I wear sporty gear and I sport a sporty attitude. I feel competitive. I want to challenge myself. I hate being passed by other cyclists and if one appears ahead of me I can’t help but chase after them. Pathetic….but fun! It’s a beast that gets into you. Wafting on my Tripster in casual clothing would just feel weird.
So, this afternoon was different and all the more enjoyable for that. I realised I’d forgotten about gentle cycling and the care-free joys it can bring. I pledged to myself that I must do more of it. And, that is how I came to be wandering along the local lanes this evening in my flip-flops and shades. I was taking time to look around, enjoying the self-generated breeze, taking care not to break into a sweat and thinking about what style of shopping basket would look nice out front.
I nodded or waved to the occasional teeth gritted roadie going the other way and felt…well…strangely superior.
Considering how slowly I was progressing it was a surprise when I made a right turn and spotted two roadies about half a mile ahead.
It is amazing how quickly a state of mind can flip. I was instantly transformed into the whippet that just spotted a rabbit. Honestly, I tried to stop myself but I was like Gollum drooling over the ring.
These guys looked young. A glorious plan was forming. An old git, inappropriately dressed, wearing flip-flops, on a ladies bike was going to sail past. A turn of the head, a nod and off into the sunset. It would be like winning the Tour de France on a shopping bike!
My jaw set, legs pumping I was within about a hundred yards of my goal when they turned right. Now, I may be a tit but only partially so I didn’t follow them, I would actually be turning back onto the start of the loop I’d almost completed. Catching them would have somehow been a conceited victory. To literally go out of your way to overtake someone would be un-gentlemanly and just one step too far on the path to being a sociopath.
It’s given me an idea for future rides though.
Watch out for the wolf in sheep’s clothing.