I believe everyone has Dragons that they need to beat- for some it is conquering a fear, for others it is overcoming an adversity and for more, it is simply beating something simple that has been defeating them for some time.
One of my Dragons was a climb- just a simple road that went up further and steeper than I could ride without climbing off and pushing. This Dragon was called Kingston Hill, a road that leads from Kingston Blount in Oxfordshire, up to the A40 just south of Stokenchurch in Buckinghamshire. I rode it twice last year on my Cannondale R800 road bike and on both occasions, about 200 meters or so from the point where it starts to ease off, my lungs and legs gave out and I had to stop.
On Sunday afternoon I rode out of Rafa, my Wilier Izoard XP and decided to take in Kingston hill for the first time on this bike. Well, the Dragon got its arse kicked! I made it to the top without stopping. The fact that I had to utilise MY arse as a supplementary breathing orifice is immaterial. The Dragon has been beaten.
As for drowned rats, that was me on the ride home from work yesterday. I rode out of the car park, just as the light rain turned into a deluge. I could barely see ahead of me. I was still smiling and laughing though. I mean, what else could I do? It did beg the question however- what is easier, riding into a headwind or, riding against the flow? Some of the roads on my way home were flowing like rivers!