Sometimes the tortoise has all the fun

So, I rode my slowest ever lap of Landsdowne Park on the weekend. I must have been around that undulating circuit over 500 times in the last few years – but never quite as slowly as Saturday morning when at one stage, I even stopped and hopped off for a couple of minutes.

Due to a double-booking at a nearby criterium track, my kids’ regular races were shifted from what is normally a flat and reasonably straight-forward course to one that was anything but. Given my youngest son broke his arm just two weeks earlier in a racing accident and is still very much in plaster, this was cause for some concern.

You see, neither of my other (i.e. healthy) kids had ever ridden around the 2km circuit which includes one plunging descent, several technical corners and a few nasty little pinches – nasty for 9-year olds, anyway. With the fear of how I might possibly explain to the boys’ mum that another of her offspring had come a cropper pursuing a pastime introduced to them by their father, I did the only thing I could think of: I donned a poorly-fitting kid’s helmet, jumped on a similarly poorly-fitting kids’ bike, and chaperoned them around the circuit one at a time.


And do you know what? It was awesome. To coast around one-on-one, talking them through the right lines for each corner, when to be on the brakes, which gears to choose and when to get out of the saddle and work was hugely enjoyable; for me and them. To finally share something with them I’d been enjoying myself for over three years was wonderful, for whilst they’d seen me race there many times, the back sections of the course are well out of view to spectators. Now, having hauled themselves up those power climbs themselves, they could start to understand why I always looked so bloody tired at the end of my races!

Even better, their sneak preview of the course clearly worked a treat. They both rode well and, far more importantly, finished their races with skin and bones in tact.

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