Regents Park bike laps, Saturday 20th September

I fancied the ride on Saturday morning. It looked as if we might have a decent sized peloton as riders were resuming their erstwhile routine after the long summer holidays. One or two of the strong boys, namely Plastic Pete and the Slayer, are out of action due to injury, but Iron Mike, Big Mig, The Lion King and Rapid Ben were listed as down to ride on the MHP Facebook page.

Overnight, the weather and my alarm clock had a hand in proceedings. The alarm clock de-activated itself, or perhaps it was affected by the electrical storm which raged beyond the buffer of double-glazed windows.

At any rate, I missed the meet at 06:45, and was assailed by a flurry of texts as various riders decided to continue with their training under the duvet rather than get wet.  No sweat, Bianchi Alex would be there, undoubtedly to be  joined by other amphibians for whom Regents Park is a must.

It was raining when I left Muswell Hill. By the time I had reached the Woodman pub some two kilometres away, the timeless tiptoe of dawn had been reversed, as night battled to reclaim the skies. It had become dark. The rain cascaded down Highgate West Hill and formed a mini-river through Gospel Oak as the drains struggled to deal with the deluge.

Barely a soul out and about. I felt strangely energised, like a warrior going into battle. The bike and I were suffering a dreadful soaking, but, despite the downpour, the bolts of lighting and the booming thunder, it was a mild and windless morning. Eventually, as I entered Regents Park near Camden, the rain sudsided and the leaden clouds allowed a sphincter of blue sky to confirm that a new day was beginning.

On my second solitary lap. I was caught by the Lion King and his apprentice, which signalled a return to normal high octane output in order to hold the emaciated chaingang together. When only three riders are sharing the work, it’s a tough discipline, as each riders’ turn on the front of the group comes along that much quicker.

The guys peeled off but as a latecomer to the party, I continued for another couple of circuits before the ride home via Swains Lane and a splendid reunion at Planet Organic with Bethan, Will and Alex where we exchanged accounts of our derring-do.

All done by 09:00 a.m!

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