I’m now 3 away from a ton of commutes for the year. 100 runs is a magic number for a cricketer. On 97 runs at the crease, the figure is tantalisingly close but in reality one bad delivery away if you’re lucky enough to hit a boundary 4. Cricketers call it the “nervous 90s” for a reason though. As one approaches the desired ton, negative thoughts of being dismissed can be the undoing of someone who has batted effortlessly up until then.
Over the last 4 years out of 5, I have eventually made it to 100 per year sometime in December. It looks like I’ll do it by the end of September. 2020 isn’t all that bad. The only time that I didn’t ride the ton, I did 81 in 2018. Last year I set the B2W world record at 101. At the beginning of the year, I resolved to aim for 118 commutes to bring my 5 year average up to exactly 100. This was the main reason that I hauled myself up the road to work on the bike this morning. I had also made £20 of petrol last for just over a week in the van which was another reason. If I drove, I would need to visit the petrol station. If I rode, it could wait until Monday. It was cold. Hands closed into fists to avoid frozen fingers cold. I could have worn gloves if I knew where they were and be bothered to look for them but this is September. I like wearing gloves in September about as much as I like having the heating on in October. That is, it shouldn’t be required.
Mist blanketed low ground as the sun rose over the fields of Hatfield forest as I set off. The red poll cattle, noisy in the night looked splendid in the sunlight, mooching about finding the best bits of grass before they head back to their farm for the winter. After 10km, my body was warm, arms coping admirably but fingers pissed off at my no gloves in September policy. Sadly, the gel padded fingerless gloves are coming to the end of their season as the summer fades.
I was already late for the 3rd day running but had no immediate commitments at work. Until I got there that is. Apparently my department has to write a business case for a new building that the Trust wants to build to re-house us. We have been asking for only 10 years but now, even though we have been involved in the process in the planning phase we find out that although the finance has been agreed and the architects drawings ratified (though not by us-we have stated many times that the space will never be large enough) we have to write a business case in retrospect for “governance purposes”. I don’t think so. Whoever omitted to tell us can do it. We are happy where we are, even if we have to freeze our cojones off over winter because the heating is too expensive to repair. The building, if going to plan is said to be ready by end of Jan 2021 but a spade hasn’t hit the ground yet so I can see things being drawn out in a bitter winter battle. Kind of like Stalingrad except I hope the Trust management end up being the German 6th army.
After sitting at my desk all day, punctuated by screen breaks and politicking I was ready to get out into a warm-ish day. It wasn’t that warm but my 2 layers made it comfy so I made the most of it by bumping through Hunsdon airfield before the tracks get too muddy. Between the ploughed fields and woods I went before exiting onto country lanes to hide from rush hour. There were a couple of main roads to navigate but Friday rush hour always seems to die down earlier, maybe because like me, most want to escape for the weekend sooner rather than later.
I got home with another 200km for the week. During the height of the pandemic, this was standard. For a normal school week it is epic considering the morning temperatures, driving for the school run and fading daylight. Hopefully I can keep the run going with warm dry days forecast next week.