Rugby, cycling and feeling good

Got a bit annoyed with myself on Saturday. It was a truly beautiful morning which blossomed into an even more beautiful February day, and somehow, I did not engineer an outing on the bike. In an attempt to stem the trickle of negative energy, I spent some time in the morning cleaning the bikes in preparation for Sunday’s ride.

At 4 p.m England and Ireland clashed in the Six Nations at Twickenham. The atmosphere in the stadium seemed tremendous, and the players did not disappoint the fans. It developed into a contest of the highest quality, generally played in a good spirit and notable for its tight and sporting discipline. The result was in the balance until the final whistle. Two great tries, one for either team, distinguished this close affair, and certainly banished the blues from earlier in the day.

Sunday morning was colourless compared to Saturday, and a stiff  damp breeze featured as a factor in what to wear on the bike. However, it was a mild morning for mid February, and for that alone, we were grateful. Our peloton, diminished by half-term family commitments, set off for ten laps of Regents Park. The lanes of Hertfordshire were being used for an annual 25 mile Time Trial, so our decision was an easy one.

As it turned out, the park was busy. We managed a steady six laps at approximately 8 minutes per lap before Hugh ‘the Destroyer’ arrived to inject some real pace, and ably joined by a couple of young guys in Rapha kit, this threesome dragged the rest of our growing number around for the remaining 4 laps.  It was quite windy along the north side, and the protection was gratefully received.

On lap nine, an impromptu and unannounced sprint into the headwind, instigated by one of the youngsters, collectively raised our heartrates by 20 beats per minute as we scrambled to hold wheels and maintain the furious pace. A short period of recovery approaching Hanover Gate allowed the group to reform, and we set off on lap 10 wondering who would be next to ignite the touchpaper.

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