I’m going to level with you: I’ve barely ridden my bike in well over a month. So why, you may ask, am I even considering doing something fairly extreme like an Everesting attempt? Well, given that I’ve garnered the support from my employer (we’re even releasing a charity beer, to be premiered at York CAMRA Beer Festival 2018) and a few local businesses, I’m in the position in which I’ve backed myself into a corner: the only option now is to come out fighting.
This is proving fairly difficult. I’m trying to ride on a weekend but the nature of my truncated Saturdays (still in bed worn out at lunchtime) affords me just Sunday to do anything approaching a focused ride where metres are climbed, and kilometres ridden, ticked off.
There are possible solutions to this. One is to ride out to meet a club and, while enjoying the wheels and the distraction of the group, I travel further with less effort. Another solution is to spend a week or so ‘conditioning’ myself to become accustomed to once again spending consecutive days in the saddle, something I’ve not done for well over a year. This will ensure the habit of riding daily will return, and fitness levels will improve. That’s the plan. Turn my legs. Constantly. Against gravity…
So, with limited resources, but taking full advantage of the Warmshowers.org community (as a guest for the first time rather than as a host!), I’m embarking upon a mini-tour of all the hilly regions the north of England has to offer. It’ll be my first proper holiday in years.
On Monday next week I head west across the Dales. The route then takes me to the Bay of Morecambe, up into the Lake District, across the high North Pennines, eastwards reaching the Northumberland coast, before heading south to my home in the North Yorks Moors on Friday.
If this proves to be an effective plan it’ll allow me to shed a bit of flab, firm up, and hone my mental toughness. I’m under no illusions that it’ll help me climb as efficiently and as effortlessly as I did only five, or even just two years ago, but it’ll certainly help, and let’s face it, the scenery will be beautiful.
So, in order to complete this challenge I do need to fully adopt the mantra:
“I have a life, and it only goes in one direction: forward.“
Like Don Draper, I’m usually trying to convince myself, rather than others, that this is an approach I take, becoming nostalgic at all too frequent intervals which are neither healthy, nor conducive, to progress. Yet whilst I acknowledge that I’m never going to turn the clock back to happier, or fitter times, I will strive to improve my current conditions, and consequently those around me.
It won’t all be relentless toil. I’m planning on redressing the prolonged agony of defying gravity by spending time in the stunning locations of my friendly hosts, and meeting old and new friends en route. There’ll also be some missionary work involved too, spreading the good word of Brass Castle amongst those I meet at my scheduled stops at Hawkshead, and Wylam breweries.
I can’t wait. It’s a significant journey for me, and another forward push to chase the stigma. Let’s hope there are some tanline benefits too!