You’re wondering why I’m writing this?
I set out this morning, for a bit of a wander around on the bike. Riding the roads that have a whiff of familiarity, letting my legs warm up as I crawl up through Headley, my finger flick and my one sided smile at everyone passing in the opposite direction. I wasn’t feeling epic by any stroke of imagination, just letting my thoughts wander. This way or that? Where does this take me? My deadpan ‘morning’ to those who spin past me without a word.
I scoot down toward the level crossing (see Strava for my route if you’re interested) finding it closed. Wait. Then off toward Betchworth. I forget briefly which way I want to go. A quick stop. Off again. Nope. Wrong way. A dawdle down familiar lanes and roads. Debating where I want to go. At this point distance isn’t a prerequisite as I’m riding alone. Nothing to get back for. No one around. I decide on hitting Henfold Lane, heading toward Dorking, to detour via Punchbowl, skirt the edge and back via Leatherhead, Ashtead and Epsom.
I give a nod to a cyclist who’s passed me twice (I think) and he smiles. Just heading toward Punchbowl now. I’ve no intention of doing anything other than enjoying being out, and with a quick look behind me, I end up just coasting along. Looking left and right, remembering what it was like when it snowed on this bit (no idea why tbh). Two cyclists come past me quite fast, one in black and red Castelli, the other in black and yellow Castelli cafe kit.
‘…off the fucking road you fat bitch…’
From the first one. He said something else, but I didn’t hear it as I was busy f***ing and blinding back at him.
You’ve no idea how stuff like that makes me feel. Wretched for lack of a better word. Incensed. And very very upset. I carry on. Not very happy. Trying to ride a bit harder so those tears don’t fall.
It worked for a bit. The kind driver who let me out at onto the A25. The random guy who shouted ‘nice cornering love’
A doodle towards Box. The thought that actually I wanted to go home. A ‘sod it’ moment. I don’t really like going up Box when it’s busy but it’s the most logical route back. I planned to stop and refill my bottle.
I go around the roundabout following two other guys, one a roadie one a mtber. Past some guys with Wallington on their jerseys stopped at the bottom. And head up Box. A lone rider – quite tall in plain black kit goes passes just as the road straightens.
‘Can you get that fat ass up here?’ He snapped.
I know I’m not skinny. I know I’ve got big boobs and am curvy (I’m paraphrasing a nice male mate of mine here). I know I smoked for 10 years. I know I’m riding alone because I really haven’t found any clubs around here that I’d be happy to join. Or any local friends.
But why? Would they have said this if I’d been with other people? Is it because I will never be – and don’t particularly want to be – stick thin.
I don’t fit in. I KNOW THAT. I am ME.
But you know what? I cried. All the way up fucking box hill. Trying to take deep breaths. I didn’t dare stop at the top. Too many people. I carried on and on. I just wish the ground could’ve swallowed me up like the Mickleham sinkholes. I wanted to just be invisible.
All I wanted to do was get home. Where there is no one. Just a bit of free affection from the cats.
This is destroying me. I don’t want to race. I don’t want to be super fast. I am slowly getting fitter.
But now. I may just limit myself to riding to work and back. And going to cycle events. And being myself.
If you don’t like it. Or you don’t like me. Fine.
No smiling here. Not today.