I wasn't sure if I remembered why I go out riding at about 8 this morning. It looked cold and wet, a kind of concentrated month of February in one day, and because of a lingering cold, I've not been out for what must be almost a month. The signs were all about the wrong shoes initially put on, the inability to find the right clothes from the pile of cycling gear stuck in the drawer, and a lack of inner tubes that could sustain an inflation. I was late, and Dr Doug considered my excuse (wrong shoes) barely an excuse (Jon had to work).
Then, we got lost, or at least couldn't find Richmond Park. Traffic, rain, diversions and just a dim memory of the route meant we took almost 1 1/2 hours to get south of the river and to Roehampton gate.
We went clockwise. The first hill was as steep as I remembered, and my heart monitor maxed out. I sat on Doug's wheel most of the way round, into the wind. We waved at the deer, who were sheltering under trees. We made it back to the cafe, and turned to go anti-clockwise before we just went for a coffee. We knew the drag up the hill would hurt.
But then, somehow it didn't. We managed a good lick round. It rained some more, but it didn't matter. Up the hill, with the reward of the descent. It was cold, windy, and raining so at times it got hard to see. But, for moment or two, I think we found the zone. It was worth it.
Of course, that was the moment Doug got his puncture. But then we we basically done. The new pump bust the valve. We were out of spares, the tyre was shredded. We rode home. Lots of traffic. But maybe we'll manage the Puncheur.