The Wattmeister’s favourite local Indian cuisine is served along with a choice of Kingfisher or Cobra beer at the Quality Tandoori in East Finchley High Road. A Friday evening visit is often followed by early Saturday morning laps of Regents Park in the company of riders from Muswell Hill Peloton and often as not, some friendly interlopers. This week, The Wolf came along with his mate The Barber to add a bit of fire to proceedings. The Wattmeister though had been on fire all night and arrived at the meeting point just as the elite group was setting off, having forgotten to slip his shoulders into his bibshorts.
Moving with stealth through the dawn, the group glided past Kenwood House and the Spaniards Inn, descended rapidly through narrow Hampstead and then charged down Fitzjohn’s Avenue to be joined by a couple more riders in the Park.
A tidy chaingang rotated in pleasing symmetry. The Barber, shod in golden cycling shoes to match the golden shells of his hubs, pulled through in immaculate style, followed by ‘Killer’ Kay, ‘Iron’ Mike, Big Mig, ‘Pistol’ Pete and the rest of the squad. This harmony continued for six swift laps. Today the group exhibited a smooth precision like a murmuration of starlings before the customary jockeying for position as the sprint finish approached. Big Mig contemplated a long breakaway with The Wattmeister, but could they trust each other? Other riders had their own plans.
The group stretched out like a string of pearls, the main contenders poised at the back of the bunch. Slayer, Wolf, Wattmeister, Lion King and Iron Mike all fancied their chances this morning. At the left turn opposite the College of Physicians, The Barber made his move with a determined burst of power. Too good a rider to let go, he was quickly marked by Big Mig and Pistol. With 300 metres to go Wolf was unleashed and immediately covered by Slayer, the two of them drew clear of Lion King who was on a borrowed bike, it was rumoured that the carbon rims had been filled with water!
Behind the two younger men, and hampered by their arthritic joints, poor sight and even worse sense of sound, Iron Mike and The Wattmeister flicked through the gears and briefly closed the gap on the young pretenders. The oldies flew, but it was too late, Slayer slew Wolf in great style and will hopefully defend his crown next Saturday.
Enjoyable as ever.
Hasta la Vista, baby and lay off the curry.