Once around the park

Went out for a night-ride round Richmond Park last night. It was a new experience and not an entirely unpleasant one.

I managed a lap and a half before I found the cold was getting to me and I ran out of drink in my bottle. I still haven’t got it into my head that, when I say I’m going out for an hour in Richmond Park, I need to factor in getting there and back which adds on a good 30 or 40 minutes to the ride.

Bar the joggers and other cyclists there’s nobody else in there so you get full use of the road and can take the most aggressive line you like on the downhills and the shortest one on the uphills. And the deer; who it seems they are culling again in February. They are one of the main attractions for visitors to the park and are a fine sight to behold. Except when you are hurtling down the biggest hill in the park at over 50kph and one is running alongside you on the grassy verge, both of you with a look of utter terror in your eyes and not quite sure who is going to go which way.

Here’s a picture of them that I took just before Christmas when I was out for one of my Tuesday afternoon rides.

I encountered a poor chap carrying his bike back along the stretch from Ham Gate to Broomfield Drive. Apparently his chain had started jumping and bent his rear mech out of shape. I felt rather sorry for him having to walk all the way back round in his cleats but he seemed to be resigned to his walk with good grace and did thank me for stopping to see if he was alright.

Yet again the cold and my innate propensity to defy any material known to wick away the amount of sweat that pours out of me on a ride meant that after one full lap I was ready for home. I had a bit of an existential crisis at the end of the lap coming up the slope (well it’s not enough to call a hill) towards Richmond Gate. My ability to go up hills in the park seems to have gone and I once again found myself going backwards on the hills to a slow trundle regardless of how many gears I dropped down.

If anyone has any advice as to why this is happening, and only really happening in the park, then please feel free to add your comments. I don’t get the same when I’m riding up any other hills that I encounter and it is starting to rile me in my head.

I’m going to try and get out again with London Dynamo on Saturday morning so i shall probably report back on my progress after that. Hopefully it will be a more successful outing than last week’s.

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