Monday, 5 October 2009

FNRttC to Southend: the report

What a weekend.

I headed to Hyde Park Corner (or HPC for those in the know) late on Friday night and was rewarded almost immediately when a beautiful young fox decided to accompany me some of the way to the station. When I got to HPC I wasn't the first person there, hurrah! Not only that but I saw my first recumbents in the flesh. Two trikes and a two-wheeled one. Just when I thought it couldn't get more exciting the tandem turned up. It was a specially built one with an upright on the back and a recumbent up front.

I'd put on cyclechat that it was my first ride without friends and, given the friendly atmosphere the last two rides, I wasn't at all surprised when quite a few people came up and asked if I was weenie and said hello. We set off without the ride leader when he couldn't be traced (our usual fearless leader who was meant to be taking a break took us) and headed for parliament, arriving just as Big Ben chimed 12.15am.

We headed off through London with the only unfortunate incident being an idiot throwing a bottle filled with a substance we decided not to check at a group of us. Luckily no one was injured and we turned the other cheek. We checked out the Olympic site (it's huge!) before heading to the Dartford services for coffee and cake. An hour in, an exhausted looking ride leader arrived having slept past his alarm and chased us all the way to the halfway point, which we'd arrived at half an a hour early.

As we set off for the second leg I became increasingly appreciative of my new long-sleeved base layer. I spent a little more to get a swanky merino one that was on sale and my God it was worth it. I was warm and dry throughout without getting overheated and as we left the city behind it got ever colder.

We swept on threough deserted country roads, the only sounds being the whirr of freewheels and the periodic shouts of 'Easy!', 'Hole', 'Glass' and 'Bollard!'.

The route was relatively flat and pace sedate so there was much chatting and we went. We even stopped for a lecture on Czech architecture outside an old boot factory. Near Southend we found a viewing point to watch the sunrise with the castle in view. Mr Weenie's text at 6am asking where his gumshield was provided much giggling before we headed for breakfast.

About 20 minutes in, the level of chat started to dip as knackeredness set in. A few fried breakfasts later it resumed with me being goaded into the cycle back. I resisted but agreed to cycle home from Liverpool Street instead. On the train myself and a fellow rider ended up moving our bikes continually to let people on and off (I say we, she did most of it, thanks again Kate).

I cycled the 12 miles back from Liverpool Street, got home, did the mountain of washing up, ate hopmemade soup with bread and butter and showered. At 12pm I lay on the sofa to watch TV. At 4pm I woke up withn a contented Mr Handsome asleep on my lap.

I then cycled to a local pub for a pint with an old friend I haven't seen for ages. Went home again to a similarly exhausted Mr Weenie before having a takeaway and going to bed.

On Sunday I went for an enormous curry lunch with my parents, sister and cousin. As I ate my second helping of muttar paneer, ginger chicken and tikka, washed down with another mango lassi my family could only look on in admiration, no one eats quite like a cyclist whose done more than 80 miles of a weekend.

I shall post pictures when I get them off my phone!

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