Approaching first big hill, and wonderfully silent and smooth new chain starts to jump and slip. Have to get off and push bike up hardest hills in pissing rain and dark.
Get to work, people insist on being annoying and having petty arguments and making each other actually cry, I mean, what the actual fuck?! Go to order new cassette, discover I have no idea how many teeth old one has, have to think of excuse to detour with work car back to where I left my bike so I can count. Then hurrah! There is an incident, didn't even need to lie.
I rinse and dry my bike clothes, and when I went to get them out the dryer I find a man in his nineties has removed them so he can put his stuff in, and is inspecting my bra.
'Didn't think it belonged to any of the wifies in here.' he says as he hands it over. I feel sullied. It's only a sport's bra, but still. If this is what communal laundries in sheltered housing are like when I'm old, blood will be spilt.
The wind picks up. I set off home with rain blasting in my face, lit in such a way by my head-torch that it looked like driving into snow. So, so wet through, water running off head and down back of neck. Drenched. Backpack heavy. Bum and saddle soaked, a sore, chaffing nightmare.
Utter blackness. Have to aim my head at the road the whole time to have any idea where I'm going. Neck hurts.
About 50% of cars dip their lights as soon as they see me. About 25% dip them as soon as they see me raise my arm to shield my eyes. The other 25% don't bother at all, making me flail my arm, brake, and swear. And ultimately, a couple of times, fear for my life. This is all I saw, most of the way home.
Then I remembered the time I was sailing with my dad in the winter in rough weather, and his shoes got soaked, and he took them off and big wave came over and took them and the spare shoes away, and he spent the rest of the time barefoot. And we were out there for days. Blue, frozen feet. Made him even less patient with my crappy sailing skills and impressive vomiting skills, but he didn't actually complain once (about the cold feet, never shut up about my puking). So I told myself to-
MAN UP, LUCY.
Worse things happen at sea. And in trenches in wars. You can cycle in cold and dark and wet and wind. Think about hot showers and oven chips.