For the past two Sundays, I have gone out on my pushbike with my neighbour and his mate, Phil. We are all doing the London to Brighton ride and now that better weather has arrived, it’s time to get a bit of training in. Better weather? It was still freezing cold!
We all met up outside on a Sunday morning. Both Phil and Frank – my neighbour – were kitted out with all the proper gear: cycling helmets; track suits; cycling gloves; water bottles and a small rucksack each, carrying a selection of tools and puncture repair kits and Mars Bars.
I didn’t have any of that. A pair of joggers with the bottoms tucked into my socks and an old, baggy fleece; that was me ready to go.
The first week we did just 8 miles… easing ourselves in. The following week we did 10 miles, with a few hills to get the legs working.
I really enjoyed it. I welcomed the burning sensation in the legs as we hit each uphill climb, then paused for breath at the top. It reminded me of when I was younger and fitter – though back in those days, I didn’t need to stop and catch my breath!
And whilst they complained a bit, I was pleased that my knees held out OK.
Yesterday morning, I donned my fleece and joggers, ready for the off, only to find that Frank and Phil had decided to go play golf instead. Not a problem, I’ll go on my own. And I’ll go just a little bit further.
I did 20 miles.
Twenty miles with some serious hillage (I don’t think that’s a real word, but it probably should be). Quite a big step up from last week. I had to walk up one of the hills as I just didn’t have the strength to get up it. Others, I should have probably walked up at this early stage in my training (only my third time out), but I pushed myself to get up them. And get up them, I did.
I paid for it later when I got home though, as my legs ached like buggery and pretty much the rest of the day was spent stretched out on the sofa.
Another sufferance was the state of the roads: bumps and potholes everywhere. Each one I hit – and I hit many – caused a shooting pain in my chest, as I currently have a cracked rib from taking the kids sledging in the snow a few weeks back. “No, look Harry, this is how you do it”. I’d only gone about ten metres before I fell off and landed badly. Ouch!
So yeah, I think twenty miles with a cracked rib, old legs and dodgy knees isn’t too bad going for an ageing, fat bloke like me.