116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133
I like to try and keep fit. Even before my heart attack over a decade ago and which my doctor at the time said anyway was more due to my having a ‘broken heart’ than being physically unfit, I used to cycle regularly. I still do, at least I do when I can find the time. What with a more than full time job plus building a new home and other chores and hobbies there never seems to be enough of that these days. Admittedly being a tad overweight (“Not for a man 8 foot tall. Except that you’re not!” says my friendly doctor) I nonetheless still consider myself to be reasonably fit. Imagine my surprise then when suddenly finding myself bested by what could only be described as a whole bunch of ‘wrinklies’. Such it was last week on my regular three kilometre cycle ride to our village Bureau de poste with the days letters. My route is a pleasant one, over hill and down dale, passing by brook and stream. One such dale is quite steep and precedes a matching hill on the other side and which is even steeper. Depending upon which direction one is travelling along the route of course. The hill rises at around 1 in 8 (12.5%) for almost a third of a kilometre. Bottom cog stuff then or very close to it. At least it is for me.
Now I can hear a well oiled Derailleur approaching from behind. Even when I’m well oiled up front. Though on this occasion and as the sun had only just begun its relentless ascent to the yardarm I hadn’t yet touched my first drop for the day. I was huffing and puffing along about halfway up the hill when I heard the unmistakable ‘click, click, click’ sound of Derailleur gears closing fast behind me.
”Bonjour!” said the octogenarian atop his machine as with spindly, wrinkly, sinewy legs and standing on his pedals he shot past me and on up the hill.
By the time I’d summoned enough spare breath to politely reciprocate his greeting he was already out of earshot.
”Bonjour!” came another shout from behind. This time from a similarly aged woman, also with calf muscles twitching with exertion as she sped past me. Like a bolt out of a crossbow.
”Bonjour!” I managed to gasp in response.
Then another and then another and so on and so on. Each one with a cheery ”Bonjour!”. Me gasping out obligatory replies until I was reduced to an oxygen starved, shaking, blue faced, quivering wreck. Barely managing to squeak out a faintly audible ”Aaaghbonjouuuughr”.
To be fair upon myself (and I generally am) you have to admit that as there were fifty or more of these escapees from the local ‘Club de Cycle de la Maison Retrait’, whilst each one of them only had to say ”Bonjour!” once, I had to repeat it fifty soddin’ times!
I really must train more in order to speed up in future. Less opportunity then for exhausting conversation.
I’ve finished gasping now
For the day anyway.