Monday, October 15, 2007

London by night

Bit of a sporty weekend, all in. On the way home on Friday, persuaded Ben Cushtie to do 7 pull ups on a crowded train - amazing how people avoid making eye contact. Went to the Castle on Saturday afternoon, did a few problems; finished off with a 4c boulder round 'Lust', a big grey lump about the size of a transit van. Sweating like a pig by the end of it; it's all upper body strength with the rock hanging away from you, so after spending the rest of the day feeling ok, was wrecked by about five minutes of this. This is the first time I've got all the way round though - challenge next time is to do it smoothly.
Went out in the evening; first to the Crown and Sceptre on Great Titchfield Street to meet Hugh, got caught out on my rather-over-simplified distinction between 19th century horror (fear of sex) and 20th century horror (fear of masturbation), mixed my drinks in amateur fashion - Hoegaarden, Guinness, Kirin - went to Anna Rafferty's birthday party, went home to bed.
Sunday morning woke up thick-headed. Met a Swede for breakfast, went to Leith Hill with Jonny to go riding in the afternoon, thought I was going to die. He's on a singlespeed, I'm on a hardtail with 16 gears that weighs more than my downhill bike. Understandably, Jonny got up every hill first. Hit my knee on the handlebar once and almost fell off, weeping with pain. That's a sign of something, right?
Anyways, after all this got home, cleaned up and then took the commuter up to Victoria on the train and rode over to Nick's place in West Ken. This is a miserable ride - out of Victoria and down to Chelsea Bridge is ok, but it's much longer than it needs to be, and the part round Earl's Court is rubbish (and a nightmare to do in reverse, with all the one-way streets round there).
But on the way back, Nick pointed me in the direction of Olympia and straight down Kensington High Street to Knightsbridge and beyond. Fantastic. A reminder of why London is so great - storming it down empty roads at 10 at night, everything lit up - Harvey Nicks, the Albert Hall, Hyde Park in darkness on the left, and you feel like you own the road. Didn't hurt that I could trackstand at every set of lights (why is that easier to do in an old pair of trainers than in SPDs?) and even the horror of Hyde Park (with associated desire to punch out a taxi driver) didn't crimp my mood too much.
Back to Victoria, missed train by 4 minutes, had to hang around forever for the next one home. Never mind: I had the iPod, so I listened to 2 Minutes to Midnight all the way home. Am I turning into an Iron Maiden fan in my dotage?


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