Today marks a glorious day. The day when, after 46 days ahead, Ade’s 01:41 record on the Pollockshaw’s Road Sprint was crushed by a storming 01:36. It’s not a long segment at just over 800m, nor is it hugely uphill. It is, however, now mine.
Let me tell you how it came about. It started with an old man…
Pollockshaw’s Road Sprint is a nice little segment being short, slightly inclined, wide, with very light traffic and no traffic lights. It also starts from a light I always hit at red, for that genuine ‘time trial start’ feel.
Ade (a man who I know only by his RWGPS profile picture and magnificent beard) beat me by five seconds on the first of May. After an initial burst of enthusiasm to take back the title, my efforts faded. I improved by a second or two, but the full five seemed insurmountable without either a hefty tailwind or removing the commuting weight from the bike (which felt like cheating).
Today, however, was different. Sat in front of me at the starting lights on a sturdy old road bike was an elderly gentleman I’d generously describe as wraith-like. Cord trousers, shirt, flat cap; likely to be inconvenienced by a strong breeze. Maybe out for a slow jaunt to the pub, perhaps. Someone to nod to politely whilst overtaking.
As the lights turned green and I pulled out to pass, it became horribly apparent that a mistake had been made. Wrapped around those boney legs were clearly muscles like hawsers. With a deadly slow cadence like the pistons on a train, this be-capped figure powered up to 30kph within a few strokes and reached a steady cruise just under 40. The silly recumbent man in his racing lycra and cycling cap was left wide, slow and in danger of being dropped like the young whippersnapper he was. Something Had To Be Done.
Without wishing to put too fine a point on it, that something was a herculean effort to claw past 40kph uphill. It was glorious, and finally put the tempting 1:41 in reach. Success.
On that note then, I’d like to dedicate this victory to the elderly gentleman who unknowingly propelled me to victory. I give thanks that you didn’t hear me coming.
Chapeau, good sir.