Commuter Racing – It’s a Mind Game

The course is around 2.5 miles, from my workplace to my home, mixture of level and moderate uphill. I was riding my Brompton Wide Range M6L with broken rear mudguard and C-bag full of office survival gear. Secret weapon is Mirrycle bar-end mirror. Normal work clothes – cotton shirt, Craghopper trousers and lightweight blue windproof. Reebok trainers and strapless toeclips.

The first part is uphill so I tend to take it easy while I warm up. A roadie caught me sleeping but he wasn’t going very fast so I tucked in behind for a couple of hundred metres (yep we can do miles and metres in almost metrificated Britain)

The next bit is a gentle downhill towards a crossroads where you give way but I know that the major road is one way and you have clear sight of it for about 100m to the left where the traffic is coming from. To the right your view is obstructed so if you thought there might be traffic coming that way you would have to slow right down. (Actually I once had a narrow shave with a vehicle coming illegally from that direction but what the heck)

My man starts to coast and I think he might not have the confidence or local knowledge to shoot the junction so around 50m short of the stop line I give it all I’ve got, go past him and use the incline to get up to max speed, no traffic coming from the left so I hold my speed across the give way and that gives me a lot of momentum for the level section beyond, check the mirror and he’s stopped at the give way.

I make good time over the next section and through a couple of traffic lights and he’s nowhere so I assume he went another way. Then about half way home he’s behind me coming up fast. There’s a lucky bit of traffic jamming going on so he can’t pass me and I thread through a gap inside a blocked car to gain a few yards. I give it max again and hold him off. He seems to drop back.

A bit further on he’s after me again so I pick up speed and give it my best effort up a long moderate incline, he’s gaining  but I keep the pressure on and decide that if I can hold him off to the tee junction 400m ahead that’s probably as good as I can do, after that it’s more serious uphill and I’m feeling the strain. At the tee he’s right on my tail and I decide that I’ve finished, the next section is steeper and if he’s as young and fit as he looks he’ll have me.

So I coast through the right turn and set off up the hill at a gentle pace and HE DOESN’T TRY TO PASS! Either he’s shattered or he thinks I’m playing with him and will just accelerate again if he tries it on but anyway he just sits on my tail. I let my speed build up a little just to keep him thinking and in 100m it’s my turnoff and I’m home. Who needs a gym?

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One Response to “Commuter Racing – It’s a Mind Game”

  1. caroline Says:

    I was ‘Hooked’ Chris, from the beginning. I had to read on to see who won!

    :) Can you make it to Our book launch? It’s on the Monday 17th of October, at 6pm at the University (opp Hendersons Relish). My Short story is all about Cycling, and the freedom it’s given me. So there’s quite a lot of cyclists supporting it.

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