What seemed like forever away at the beginning ogf January had rapidly arrived, and today I awoke to "Janathon Lunch Day".
I was really looking forward to it.
When I initially accepted my Facebook invite, Cathy (Instigator in Chief of Janathon, and runner of the infamous "dressing gown shuffle" round her garden on January 1st) jokingly inquired whether I was going to run to the London meeting from home. "I don't think so" I thought, and immediately looked up the distance. Thirty four miles on foot, and I definitely didn't think so (I tend not to run more than twenty if meeting people for the first time - ho ho).
But... after the revelation of buying a new road bike last week, I started to think about cycling there. Of course if was coming back by train (no point in overdoing it) there would only be an infinitessimal saving on my single ticket versus a return, and I'd have to carry some running gear on the bike, probably running in my lightweight sandals, but I figured it was worth a go.
I picked a route avoiding the A3 (and M3), and totted it up at about 37 miles. I figured that three hours was probably doable for my rusty road-legs, so I awoke early, and left the house just after half eight.
...and arrived at Hyde Park at half ten. Ooops.
I'd kept an eye on my pace just out of curiousity, and was amazed to be averaging between 19 and 20mph, including a glorious peak at over 30mph (where's a speed camera when you want one?), but I never expected to be able to sustain it. For a month, my bike has been on sale across the country for £350 - and today, that suddenly seems like apocalyptically good value.
It's been years since I owned a road bike, and whilst I've borrowed a couple for a few rides here and there, they've always been a bit too big, or a lot too small, and it's never been a comfortable experience. Today, on the other hand, was incredible. Gobsmacked with my sustained pace I pootled round Piccadilly for a bit, twiddled my thumbs in my stretchy clothes and clippety clogs, had a cup of tea, and joined the Janathonists at 1145 with a big grin on my face.
The Janathon mob were brilliant. It was great seeing a bunch of people that until then, had mostly been connected only by computer, and mileage. I shan't try to list them for fear of overlooking anyone, but they were all very smiley, and didn't look too nervous about being in the company of a person they clearly thought a little unhinged.. Sean AudioFuel (with cold) arrived from the Triathlon Show to oversee proceeedings, and despatched the half dozen of us that fancied a run on a loop round Hyde Park, in the capable hands of navigator Rachel.
Next followed the presentation of my new Garmin 405, for which I was, and am incredibly grateful, a quick call from Pyro and Duncan, who where having a northern Janathon get-together at Hype Park in Leeds, and then onto Prezzo off Park Lane for some much deserved scoff, and a chance to have a natter to a couple of other Janathonists.
Highlight of the afternoon was definitely seeing Cathy (the originator of all this Janathnonsence) receiving tokens of thanks from Cass and Adele on behalf of all Janathonites. Cathy brought hands up to face, to cover mouth-agog, and had a little happy cry. Which I think was shock and gratitude, rather than fear and sadness. They'd also produced some fantastic gifts to commemorate the occasion for her. Well done team.
All in all, a really inspiring day: a love affair with road-bikes truly rekindled, and a very fitting and comfortable conclusion to all that jogging and blogging.