It is not every weekend that I descend some mountain during a bike race, as I did last Saturday, so indulge me fellow urbanists while I savour fresh memories. I was part of a group of 6 or 7, chasing two who passed the crest 20 seconds before us. By the bottom, we had caught them, due to the greater weight of our cascade. Headwinds slow leaders, and drafts bring new riders forward, each of us staying as aero and relaxed as we can. I’m only human. I wanted to be there about as much as one wants to be watching live boxing, until something takes over, and you would not be anywhere else. The trees beside the road turned into a blur. The temptation to hang back, was swapped for a lust to take my group faster and faster, all of us sensing we were catching those whippets who had beaten us on the climb. After that experience, I want to race mountains every Saturday.
Okay, so perhaps Jan Gehl will not take what I have just said and go preach the virtues of plummeting bike paths to delight those of use with a death wish. And no doubt my regular readers will see what I have just said as masculine prancing. Believe me though, that it was a few sublime minutes, when I managed to work through my fear for the sake of experiencing an aerodynamic phenomenon that I suspect only group cyclists would know. I was surprised we only clocked 70kph. I recall topping 100 with groups I used to ride with when I was younger and more in the habit. TI guess we looked roughly like this: