I've spent the past two weeks in the UAE, spending most of my time sitting on my arse reading books and drinking beer, so I was itching to get out and about on the bike today. I really felt the need for some exercise. I wanted to get the blood pumping. I wanted, somehow, to shift the excess weight I've gained since my last cycle.
Sadly, the time out of the saddle seems to have taken a toll on my fitness. Or maybe it's the after effects of a crappy head cold I caught from my young nieces while I was away. I was okay for the first three miles, bombing along the Thames Tow Path under a green leafy tunnel of trees in pleasant sunshine, but by the time I got to the four-mile mark a wave of nausea overtook me. I wanted to get off the bike and have a good old hurl by the side of the road. (Charming, I know.)
But I decided to ride through it. If I could get myself to Roehampton Gate, I figured I could put the bike aside and have a lie down in the luxurious green grass of Richmond Park to recover.
Alas, by the time I got to Richmond Park, just an extra mile down the road, I was feeling my normal self again. The nausea had gone and I'd regained my cycling legs. I persevered for another two miles and then pulled up near my favourite little pond for a read in the sun.
It was very quiet, just the ducks and me again, with one or two other people lying nearby. I read for an hour before deciding to continue my cycle.
Somewhere near Pembroke Lodge a young Bambi-like deer jumped out onto the road in front of me. I was going 20mph at the time, but luckily I'd clocked him grazing on the verge and suspected he might be stupid enough to cross the road without looking.
The rest of my ride was fairly uneventful. I stuck to the road proper, rather than the Tamsin trail, because the pace is faster on bitumen and I was feeling strong. This route is slightly shorter than the trail, which meant I didn't clock up the usual 17 or 18 miles I usually do, but never mind, I need to ease myself back into it, don't I?
Total distance: 15.76miles (25.35km) | Ride time: 1hr 28min and 50sec | Average speed: 10.6mph | Top speed: 21.6mph