Posts Tagged ‘cycling’

Wimbledon Common and I

One of my first encounters with Wimbledon was when I was asked to go and work there. I worked for a coffee company which had kiosks in train stations all over the country so I would often get sent somewhere else for a day. I had been to a bar in Wimbledon before, years ago, with a friend, but I knew I wouldn’t still recognise anything.

I cycled there because I had recently decided I was going to exercise more and had purchased one of those little fold up bikes. I lived ten minutes away from Wimbledon Common and knew that all I had to do was get onto it from my end, cycle across it, emerge on the Wimbledon side and find the train station. Simple, right?

This is what actually happened. I got onto the Common and started cycling. I realised that my little fold up bike with its mini wheels was ill-equipped for stones and grass. I was thrown about all over the place, which I blame for loss of concentration. It was summer too so when I cycled through a patch of low hanging trees, there was all this nature-stuff all over the place and sticking to me, petals and bits of leaf and spiderwebs.

I had allowed an hour to make the journey and by the time I was forty minutes in and still on the Common, I started to worry. I just couldn’t find my way to the edge! I’d follow one certain direction in a straight line, figuring I would have to reach the outside soon, then I’d see something in another direction that I was sure must lead to Wimbledon so start off in a different direction. I felt like perhaps I had entered an enchanted land which was huge and inescapable. The Common was like the wardrobe which led into Narnia.

Eventually, after about an hour, by which point I am definitely going to be late to work and am becoming frantic, I emerged from the trees onto a large rugby playing field and a road on the other side of it. The edge of the Common! I had found it. There was a man walking his dog and I bumped over there on my bike and asked him directions to Wimbledon. He indicated back into the trees and said going round by road would take far too long. He gave me directions so I took a deep breath and plunged back in.

And I was lost again. I cycled round helplessly, looking for the tree stump or the split in the path that he had told me about. I couldn’t see any of it. I was lost. Again.

Eventually, I saw some flat grass and two people playing golf. I peddled over, panting and panicking and covered in nature. They pointed the route out to me and said I was near.

As I turned to go, one of them, a guy a similar age to me, said, “Wait a minute.”

Ah! thought I. This is how it is in the films. A damsel in distress, a young gallant man, rescues her and falls in love with her. His heart strings are pulled by her youthful naivete. He will ask me for my phone number now. Be cool. Be calm.

I turned back to him, expectantly.

“You’ve got a spider on your top.”

I looked down to find that he was right. I did indeed have a spider on my top, just by my shoulder. Acting as though I wasn’t even bothered, I brushed it off and hurried away, embarrassed.

I came to a little road and went into it, until a stern lady came out and made it clear that this was a private road and I needed to go that way, the other way, anything to get me out of her road.

After another half an hour or so of cycling and looking and feeling helpless, I eventually emerged and found my way to the station, exhausted and traumatised. Later that night, I finished my shift and decided to confront the Common again, face my fears head on. It took all of ten minutes for me to somehow, do a semi circle and end up coming off the Common a stone’s throw away from where I had entered it. I gave up on the Common then.

As a P.S., when I eventually decided to tackle Wimbledon Common again and figured out the route across it, it took fifteen minutes maximum, to get from end to end. On the day mentioned above, it took me two and a half hours.

My feelings about the Olympics

The months prior to the Olympics

O, the Olympics are coming. That’s nice. I’m not that interested in them though.

 

The week before the Olympics

The Olympics are soon. I guess I’ll see the torch as it’s going to be near my house. That might be interesting.

 

The day the torch passed

I’m here nice and early. This will be nice, seeing the torch. Not that ‘excited’, as such. It will be nice though. Waiting. Waiting. I wish that tall man in front of me would crouch down or something. Is this it?! No, it’s the convoy…. This?! No, more motorbikes and buses. Lots of people dressed in blue dancing about as though they’re at an exercise class. Wait a minute! The torch is coming! THE TORCH IS COMING! I WANT TO SEE! ME! ME! THERE IT IS! I CAN SEE IT! THIS IS SOOOO EXCITING! I’M SO EXCITED! O, there it goes. That was brief. Feel a bit emotional.
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The day of the women’s cycling

Oo, I’ve got a day off. This will be nice. I’ll go and watch the women’s cycling. Ok, go and hang out with a sporty friend and some of his other sporty friends. Watching the race on TV. It’s quite gripping actually. Come on, ladies! Come on! Cycle faster! Ok, they’re getting close to us. Let’s go and watch them pass by then run back and watch them finish on TV. Off we go. O, there are more people than I thought there’d be. And there’s thunder and loads of rain. Right, found a good spot. Phone camera at the ready. The phone’s getting wet, o no! Stick it under these people’s umbrella. They look mildly annoyed that I have my phone under their umbrella. O well. There’s nothing I can do about it. I need to get a photo. Waiting. Waiting. Their umbrella is directing a stream of rain right down onto my head, over my eyes, down my t-shirt and onto my left shoes. I’m slowly getting drenched. But there are more important things to focus on here. Where are they? WHERE ARE THEY? O! Here they are! No, wait. It’s a policeman on a motorbike. Wait a minute. I can hear screams up ahead. They must be coming. Phone ready! A streak of colour! There they are. Click!
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Little pause. Then some more coming. Click!
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Ok, off we go back to the house to catch them finishing the race. We need to run if we’re going to make it. Wait a minute, Laura does not run. I DO NOW!! GO! GO! GO! My legs are hurting a bit. I’m a bit breathless. IT DOESN’T MATTER! KEEP RUNNING! RUN! RUN! RUN! OW! LEGS! OW! LUNGS! RUUUUUN! Made it. Can’t breathe. TV on! Woooooo! We got silver! WOOP! WOOP! I LOVE THE OLYMPICS.

The past week

Oo, there’s more Olympics on the TV. This is amazing. I love watching the Olympics. It’s so exciting. I’ve never watched discus so closely and been so enthralled by it. I can’t wait to go and watch the triathlon on Wednesday. Wait a minute…. It’s Tuesday… So why is BBC News telling me that the triathlon has been won by a British guy? I’m going to see it tomorrow! Aren’t I? Omygoodness. It’s not tomorrow, it’s today. And I had a day off. And I could have seen it. And I missed it. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more gutted in my entire life. I want to see the Olympics. I WANT TO SEE THEM! NOW! ME! I’VE GOT TO GET TICKETS! Ok, online, check ticket availability. Tickets for diving. In shopping basket. Click ‘request tickets.’ No tickets left! NO! NO! NO! I WANT THEM! I WANT TO SEE OLYMPICS! I WANT TO SEE THE OLYMPICS MORE THAN I WANTED A MONKEY WHEN I WAS 11 AND ASKED FOR ONE FOR MY BIRTHDAY. And I wanted that pretty badly. THIS IS MORE! I WANT TICKETS TO THE OLYMPICS. I NEEEEED TICKETS. How about the Paralympics? Those would be good too. In fact, they’d be amazing. Think how much more impressive it would be. Tickets to wheelchair basketball. Request….. NO TICKETS! Damn. Ok. Try requesting tickets for the tennis…. Nothing. Cycling?…. No. I’LL CRY IF THIS KEEPS GOING! I’LL CRY! I WANT TICKETS! I WANT THEM! Try swimming…. Wait four minutes, it’s telling me. I don’t want to. I want them now! Wait…. wait….. YESSSSSSS! GOT A TICKET! YESSSS! Paralympic men’s swimming, here I come! Woooop! Woo! I can’t wait. This is so exciting. It’s so historical and right here in London. I’d be mad not to get involved. I can’t wait. This is the most excited I’ve ever been. EVER.

EVER.