The Bike and Other Stories
Cycling adventures around London, New York City, and Berlin.
Geoffrey Armes
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Climbing Like Contador
Geoffrey Armes - 2020-07-09 21:59:46+02:00

A damp day, but cleared enough to ride. I'd been ill all week, acid dyspepsia or a cold or both or under the weatherness, whatever it was time to clear the sloth out of my body and at least, try.

There are pretty backstreets to bring you to S Bahn and the Krone, where everything starts in earnest. By the time I get there, I like to feel good, like I want to ride. Today, as I spun, rounding pot holes, looking right for speeding traffic (there's only the occasional car) I looked to my body for signals, to answer me, yes, this is the right thing to be doing at this moment. Go for it. At the same time I could feel the sickness circulating, my stomach radiating grumpiness. Stop disturbing me.

Head thick with snot, I evacuated a few times, snorting right and left, spitting into the wind with bikie expertise only it wasn't, because as I passed the elegant old church on elegant Bismarckallee I spat, only the wind took the snot and phlegm and detritus and flobbed it on my shoulder or in my stubble, and there I was sweeping it away with these little half gloves also known as track mitts and feeling vaguely embarrassed and disgusted, I did not want to be spotted by the elegant denizens of Grunewald, peering out from the picture windows in their villas.

Something about this episode woke me up, and after this I found I was liking the bike again, enjoying sweeping the corners, sprinting down and up the little rise before the S bahn and then out the saddle swaying my weight to grab some tempo up the Krone itself, a nice tail wind, my upper body finally warmed, legs pumping, warm internally if not on the skin...

It's Autumn, but this was a winter ride in spirit if not temperature or clothing choice. I glugged my juice, kept an eye on the lowering rain clouds, upped the tempo so theoretically I could get some sort of distance done in the hour before sunset and any worsening weather came.

Around by Inselstr there was a lamp on in the forest, also the bridge and the short but steepest slopes of the evening.

I'd been watching a video earlier: “Climb like Contador,” and figured to put my education into action. Up I got, weight forward, slinging side by side, I was going to dance up. To a degree I did, but winded by the top of this little hillock I knew I was no Contador however improved my technique was. Houses shuttered and hunkered, this is a rich corner of Berlin where the houses start with the retired chief of Police and end reputedly with Brangelina (when that was an item?) around the back. I rounded the exclusive circle, thought of stopping for pictures at an abandoned gate with lake behind, but didn't bother. The light had been special on the bridge and I had shot off a couple there for the Facebook. The body was feeling better, maybe sloughing some vestiges of a sodden week away.

No Contador but I conquered the rise into Wannsee, switching my lights on as I passed into the forest, shot off some video as I went hoping to communicate something of the gathering lush gloom of the glistening wet evening but it was a hollow exercise.

The wind was in my face now and I was spinning at 28kmh where on the same stretch coming down I'd been 34kmh no problem,.

Passed a couple of roadies, exchanged curt nods, fingers raised perfunctorily on handle bars, grim work countenance maintained. I got to Halensee, where unexpected evening sun ricocheted off flats and office windows and I stopped to point the camera again.

It was a winter ride in spirit, mostly because it had the kind of peace dropping relaxed tempo high enough to keep warm but not involved with other guys type of feel. Introversion starts to overtake the bike community, even in September.

The ride was over, the sun down as I arrived home, but I hope to at least repeat tomorrow, and knock the crap out of my system.