The Wattmeister is currently held spellbound by “A Corinthian Endeavour”, an engrossing book by Paul Jones which charts the history of the esoteric world of the National Hillclimb championships, Hillclimbs Wiki. It is a magical, gripping account of changing times and inspirational characters set amid a variety of unforgivingly hilly UK landscapes.
In tandem with this majestic tome and inspired by an observation from born again former MHP champion sprinter Slayer, The Wattmeister has begun to see a slope in everything. Recently, The Wattmeisterin caught him arranging the HP Sauce, Parmesan cheese container, Salt and Pepper pots and a jar of horseradish in order of descending height during a post-ride refuelling meal.
“What are you doing now, you crackpot?”, asked The Wattmeisterin in her best psychologist timbre.
“Why my love, I am working out the gradient between the HP sauce and the jar of horseradish”, replied The Wattmeister calmly (he is always suspicious of the “Psychologist Voice”).
There was a brief hiatus while The Wattmeisterin scribbled some notes on the back of an old audax route sheet. Nothing further was said.
A few days later, in the spacious living room of Slayer, together with Pistol, Madame Shotgun and the Pistolettes, The Wattmeister found himself admiring Slayer’s bookshelves, in particular the neat arrangement of books from tallest to smallest, left to right.
“What do you suppose is the gradient of those carefully arranged books?” asked TW by way of making after dinner conversation.
The answers rained down….”20%!”, “50%!”, (that was Slayer’s guess, he wants 50% of everything). “3 %”, “8%”, “what’s a percent?” asked someone in a rich Kiwi accent.
To wit, The Wattmeister, armed as always with a Topeak multi-tool and a tape measure, (old habits die hard), recorded the length of the bookshelf in centimetres….100. He then recorded the height of the tallest book….11 cms, and then the smallest book….7cms.
Thus, Slayer’s books drop 4 cms over the course of 100 cms, which equals a gradient of 4 %. Not quite in the realms of National Hillclimb territory.
Out of the corner of his good eye, but on his deaf side, The Wattmeister spied The Wattmeisterin as she jotted something on the back of the routesheet. Directions to the funny farm perhaps?