“Eeeek saw keelomeeter!” (A hundred kilometres!)
I struggle to find my poker face.
“Haan ji.” (Yes sir.)
“Thakte nahi ho?” (Don’t you feel tired?)
Ohmigod! I’m usually as good as new following a half-hour nap after the Sunday torture sessions, and I stopped feeling the 50 kilometres-in-one-and-a-half-hour rides several millennia ago, but I fail to muster the will to explain that at that moment.
“Nahi ji.” (No sir.)
Don’t say it! Don’t you bloody say it!
“Pagal ho kya?” (Are you crazy?)
My poker face instantly hardens into the Mongol cold face.
“Haan ji.” (If you say so.)
A memory from the BBCh ITT swims to the front of my mind.
Distance: 22.1 km, average speed: no idea, average cadence: 89 rpm, heart rate: 87% of max. HR
I shoot past the rider on the Scott Speedster, relishing the resistance the headwind offers. He has to be the twentieth I have crossed after I started.
“Come on, man, give me a fight!”
He scrabbles to get ahead of me, and fades.
Distance: 22.9 km, average speed: still haven’t got the foggiest idea, average cadence: 88 rpm, heart rate: 84% of max. HR
I hover on the edge of death by boredom.
Distance: 23.9 km, average speed: I just don’t care anymore, average cadence: I just don’t care anymore, heart rate: I just don’t care anymore.
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? SPEED UP!“
I almost jump out of my skin.
“You have got to be kidding me.”
Warmth floods back into my legs as I zoom after Vinesh.
“Not fair!“, he laughs. “Not drafting you!“ I holler back as we both rev our engines.
“Awesome ride, man!” Vinesh yells at me. I clap him on the back. “Not nearly as awesome as yours!”
We’re buddies. Instantly.
It’s amazing how “Brilliant ride!”, “That’s a beautiful bike!”,”That was well-written!”, “What’re you reading now?” get you rolling with people. It’s even more amazing how these individuals invariably turn out to be absolute gems! 🙂
It’s a treat, watching people light up when they chatter away about things they’re besotted with. It’s a treat to have a flat stomach, to have your heart beat at 48 bpm, to rocket around Delhi for twelve hours a day, for one full week, without ever feeling any kind of fatigue, to be able to climb Yercaud at 45 degrees and live to tell the tale, to be able to lift yourself out of depression and get back to work when nothing seems to go your way. I’m a prat for riding my bike. Certainly. 🙂