Today has been warm and sunny, although the humidity is high, and by the time I left work, it was becoming a bit overcast. It was humid and a little over 20 degrees by the time I set out. I went for the royal blue t-shirt and navy shorts today. I had been keeping hydrated but as I hit the uphill part of the run in the second km, I was practically leaving a river of sweat on the pavement behind me. I turned away from the river just after the half way point, and hit the summit of the route at 3km. Downhill for the next 1.5 km, dead straight on a reasonably main road, and thankfully I was on the shady side.
That's where I saw him. On the other side of the road from me, practically level, setting a strong pace and looking like he was barely breaking a sweat. Jet black t-shirt and shorts. Eyes front and centre, looking focused and fast. I was keeping up reasonably well, with the slight downhill gradient in my favour, but he was creeping ahead. We hit the first of three roundabouts. I was on the less busy side of the road, and as we came off the crossing, I had made up the distance and then some. I was ahead, but he was still setting a strong pace. I upped the pace as much as I dared. I still had 1.5km to go, and had to keep enough in reserve.
Second roundabout, and I we both parted to manage the side streets. Somehow I had made it across the side street more cleanly, and had drawn ahead once more. My red face was no doubt setting off nicely against my blue t-shirt. He was still looking cool and collected, with a long languid stride in his intimidating black gear.
His pace seemed to be slowing, or perhaps mine rising to meet the challenge, but he didn't seem to be pulling ahead quite as much as earlier. The town hall was coming up on his side of the road. He mounted the two or three steps to the open square in front of the town hall, slightly ahead of me. Perhaps he was turning off here, this is the third roundabout. I turned my attention to avoiding the BMW coming down the side street and not getting run down. Coming off the roundabout, I glanced across and there he was, black and quick as ever. The phone told me I had 1km left. I could afford to push a bit more now. I had held on to this guy so far, I could hold on now. We were neck and neck. Now the last junction before the church, and I'm on the home straight. My nemesis peeled off at the junction, and left me to manage the last few hundred meters to the end of my run.
That was the end of W9R2. Just one to go.