I parked outside Kew Gardens and cycled the short distance to Richmond. Reaching Nightingale Lane I ascended it pretty easily, so much so I did it a second time. I really do love hills but later on this rose tinted view was left slightly tarnished!
As I entered Richmond Park there were dozens of other cyclists out for their New Years Day ride. The one thing I noticed instantly was the look on their faces. Their faces betrayed the conditions I feared as I attempted a few circuits...
Rain, although falling a reasonable amount did not really concern me. It was the strong headwinds that made me pause for thought. On the flat, open and exposed parts of the park the winds seem to travel in all directions but at times I was battling to keep going.
When I reached the big hill the strong winds made it seem like Ditchling Beacon x 2. I still managed to overtake a couple of roadies and in fact it was the desire to claim a scalp when they were in front of me that spurned me on. Upon reaching the summit my legs felt as though I had completed several laps when in fact I had yet to complete one!
The second lap was a little better but my third and final circuit was the worse. Approaching the big hill I had already bottomed out on my gears with nowhere else to go. I pedalled as hard as a could but for a 50 metre stretch is was as if I was going nowhere.
Feeling rather good with myself for starting 2014 with a demanding cycle ride - more to do with the conditions than anything else, I decided to call it a day.
A couple of brave souls ventured out later in the day where conditions were worse. I only hope that I can continue 2014 as I mean to go on!