Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Higher education

College fees: one of London's earlier attempts
at the Congestion Charge
As with many things in life, what starts out as a lofty, worthy idea can often turn quite quickly into a ruddy millstone round your neck.

So it's proven so far with the hills challenge. I've compiled my list, put in place a plan of action and even cleaned my bike in preparation for the first tilt at the inclines.

But have I crossed any off yet? Alas no. My flat 3.5 mile commute is all the cycling I've done for the past three weeks.

I've thought a good game, mind. The number of times I've relived climbing the cols of the Alps in the recent past is uncanny. And both my bikes are now looking pristine. Yet still the ascents have failed miserably to get off the ground.

Until this evening, that is. A group of cyclists - players of the unspoken game of SCR - have instigated the College Road challenge. A simple, timed ascent of the upwardly immobile toll road in Dulwich, starting at the toll booth and finishing at the top of Fountain Drive. It's not quite a mile long and isn't particularly steep until you get to the top, but it's only a bit of fun.

So I had my first crack at it tonight. And didn't do too badly considering the only thing I've climbed of late is the stairs, recording a time of 3 minutes and 28 seconds. I think I can improve on that as well as I was stymied by a ponderous Volvo and one or two fellow cyclists who were weaving somewhat towards the peak.

And the bonus is, I get to put in 11 miles on my commute home, which is bound to help as I eventually get round to completing a few of the hills.

Next stop... the list.

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