I cycled just over 100 miles this week. These miles were all from commuting. It’s good to be getting back into the rhythm of cycle commuting and building up the weekly mileage – this was only the 3rd time I’d ridden more than 100 weekly miles since September. Injuries, Winter and most life-changingly: becoming a father had all contributed to a reduction in cycling. Cycling 18 miles each way in Winter conditions is a tough challenge, both physically and mentally, but it feels great to arrive at the destination and is infinitely preferable to the boredom of commuting by car.
Unfortunately I had a couple of minor run-ins with car drivers – both occurred on the same journey and both involved overtaking me on a blind corner before encountering a car coming in the opposite direction and having to cut me up to avoid a collision. Both times I reacted by tapping on their window and voicing my disapproval. On one occasion this resulted in the driver intentionally swerving in front of me and then winding down his window to shout back. In hindsight I should probably consider my vulnerability before confronting idiots in control of motor vehicles but it’s difficult to just turn the other cheek when somebody acts so stupidly.
On a positive note these incidents were mostly notable for their rarity on my journeys. Drivers are usually sensible and considerate and I shouldn’t let a couple of fools irk me.
I went out for a 5 mile cross-country run on Saturday morning. After advice from my physio I’ve been trying to run every week but had been finding road running interminable. I couldn’t face another session of pounding the tarmac punctuated by glances at my watch to see how far I’d gone and therefore how much more I had to endure. So I bought some ‘fell-running’ shoes in the hope that their increased grip and support would prevent a repeat of the painful incident before Christmas when I slipped and ‘fell’. The grip was remarkable and helped me to get up and down the muddy Mendip Hills without a single slip. I must admit that I needed to walk a few sections of the steepest ascent and also stopped to catch my breath while climbing over a few gates or stiles, but it was an exhilarating experience, especially in comparison to road running.
Fell-running certainly isn’t likely to replace cycling as my preferred form of exercise, but one of its advantages is that 45 minutes is plenty of time to get a good workout, rather than the 2+ hours needed on the bike. This is especially important with the little ‘un in our lives and the amount of time I get to see her during the week. She’s always asleep when I leave for work and it requires me to leave work an hour early to be home in time for bath and bedtime story. So I was looking forward to spending time with her on Saturday – understandably my wife was looking forward to some free time away from the baby so it was win-win for me to take care of her. This afternoon the weather was glorious so I dressed the ‘hoglet’ in her favourite onesie, strapped her to my chest and set off for a hike to the top of the Mendip Hills. A footpath leads from our back garden and runs up through the woods to the top of the hill. It’s about 600ft of climbing which is plenty while carrying 15lbs of baby on your chest. However, the benefit of having such a tiny companion is that 600ft is definitely a mountain, not a hill and I think she was impressed by our afternoon’s work.