My Descent Into Gladness

Lore and I at the Audax Alpine Classic held every January.
My mate Lore is the first to admit that he’s not the most adept hill-climber in the world. But what time he may lose on any arduous ascent, he more than makes up through his agility on the downhill slope.

As for me, I’m the exact opposite; a little faster on the way up but whatever time I may gain I only lose on the descent. A veritable monkey grip of sorts, I tend to use my brakes more than a customer trying to cope with an out-of-control shopping trolley.

Near the bottom of my favourite climb, Arthurs Seat yesterday, I was quickly passed by two young guys on their way up the hill. Both riding identical Giant bikes and colour-coordinated in blue, they were like peas in a pod, except one was much faster. While I never saw him again until the top of the climb, the other guy looked like he was doing it a little tough; mind you, no tougher than me. While rarely out of view, especially along the steeper stretches of the climb, he predictably accelerated away once the gradient eased.

The 9th of 10 hairpin bends on the ascent up Arthurs Seat.
While just a normal riding day on the Mornington Peninsula, sometimes the unexpected does happen. Descending to repeat the climb, both guys rode off in tandem, with me about 200 metres behind. Not only was the other guy a much slower climber, he obviously didn’t descend too quickly either.

It wasn’t as if I was trying to overtake him; I mean, having descended my ‘hill’ more than 3,000 times, who’d be bothered? Hardly an achievement, nonetheless a novelty, I passed my first-ever cyclist on an Arthurs Seat descent. Both of us turning at the bottom of the climb, to ascend it for a second time, I wondered to myself if he left the supermarket shopping to his wife.
The now demolished Arthurs Seat tower.