Mark and I were out at the weekend, covering a good 23 miles of the Surrey Hills in what turned out to be a fine Sunday for riding. We left Bookham behind and made our way over to Ranmore, then Westcott and back up to Ranmore before the descent through Denbies vinyard and the slog up Box Hill for our scheduled cake stop and the chance to hang out with the roadies.
Now as Mountain Bikers we are often faced with the uncomfortable fact that it’s a male dominated activity. We have resigned ourselves to this over the years and nowadays face it with a Stoic acceptance that would have been greatly admired in Ancient Rome. With young families we can even understand it, to a point, when someone has to stay behind to look after the kids (sorry that sounds chauvinist. It’s not meant to and despite my best efforts Quid Pro Quo operates in our house).
Up at Box Hill then and this male dominance was clear to see. In a sea of perhaps seventy odd road bikers, the majority were men as you’d expect. In fact, as it turned out Mark and I were the only Mountain Bikers there at all.
But standing in the sun at the top of Box Hill munching date slices it became apparant that for a short time at least we had stepped into a kind of cycling Arcadia. In fact, I began to wonder if, on the climb up to Box Hill, I had actually confirmed what my appearance suggested and died.
Looking left we noticed, wonder of wonders, a couple of female roadies, very trim indeed in skin tight lycra. Then we looked right and there were three or four more and several others ahead of us as well. All appeared lithe and fit and tanned with only a few of them having that ominous threatening look that comes from competitive cycling and possibly, hormone injections.
And they all had shaved legs!
In life there are choices. In cycling, there are choices. And, in this case our choice appears to have been wrong. Because given the choice of pounding out the miles looking at the backsides of my fellow Moles or being stuck in the middle of a peloton with these goddesses of the big ring (snigger) I know what I would prefer.
Please note, I’d like to apologise for this post to any female rider who ever comes out with us on a ride!
Although after this, I doubt that any will…