Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dulwich Paragon - trashed

C'mon Jayne - let's go riding with Dulwich Paragon chaingang on Wednesday night!  We'd checked out the website page and reckoned it sounded like a ride for us.

What started out on Wednesday evenings as the women's chaingang has metamorphosed into a sporting ride but one that is still sociable and takes time to re-group 
Average speed 18mph which I calculate as a shade under 29kph.  I can manage that easy!  We figured we'd go and have dinner after or something.

All started well.  We both got to the start place ahead of the start time.  Jayne riding her fixie (as single speed) with the mother of all chains over one shoulder.  Me on the Baum in my DHBC jersey.  Intros all round, forgot to take a picture.

Hmm, these riders are young and skinny.  But anyway, we believed the website and set off.  Fast.  Actually, quite fast.   By now it was dark - these people don't ride in the mornings like we do.  It's all evening.  Turns out to be quite hard to hurtle through the darkness on the back of a bunch of about 12 going way faster than I ever would ride by myself thought traffic and narrow roads.

We think riding to Waterfall is a heavy traffic route.  At least we have dedicated lanes for half of it and wide roads for most of it.  NOTHING like London.

With no idea of the route, when the hard bits or the easy bits were going to be, I hung on for dear life.  Thank god Jayne was finding it tough.  She suggested we bail about 6kms in but I thought I'd warm up soon and be OK.  In any case I could hardly breathe.  Or think.

One of the DP guys dropped back with us and another bloke.  He lasted about 15kms and then said he was cooked.  More hurtling, now in a small group of 3.  I could barely do a turn on the front in the rolling paceline.  Finally got to the turnaround point, somewhere in Kent.

Jayne was spotting pubs and suggesting we stop at each one.  At some point I heard her explaining to one of the riders.  "we need to stop at a pub - she's Australian!"  In a begging kind of voice.  

After the turnaround, it was more downhill and fast.  Harder for Jayne whose legs wouldn't turn over that fast on the singlespeed.  More hurtling, but faster.  Eventually we ended up at Crystal Palace - the end of the ride and suddenly everyone dispersed.  No-one wanted to go to the pub!

So Jayne and I headed off to Dulwich and staggered into the pub, giggling hysterically, to gabble at the barmaid that we'd been trashed by a bunch of young blokes and needed beer. Urgently.  And chips.

No idea what my average was because it includes the ride to and from at a somewhat more leisurely pace.  Others on the ride averaged 30-33.  That's fast for the traffic and conditions.  Most people seemed to have acquired a swag of PRs suggesting it was a faster ride than usual.

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