Never again. Until next time, anyway!

Who is the creature who returns home exhausted, depleted? Dry salt caking face, heavy black rings lacing eyes, more aches and pains in legs than your average nursing home.
This is the cyclist who has ridden too far, too high. Bitten off more than they can chew. The route too big for their legs.

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Once a week or every other week I have the tendency to ride like a child who has stayed up way beyond their bedtime, pushing my body to its limits, working every last drop of energy from my legs.
Why? I love ‘big’ rides (don’t mention Honister Pass), I enjoy the physical and mental challenge of pushing body and mind to the next level, I don’t like long distance rides, my bum it’s too big and heavy and the equatorial region doesn’t like being squashed for to long.
But I love big steep mountain track
And then I rest. No overtraining for me, oh no, I’ve been there.
Problem is, rest requires going to work and you know, still functioning with a resemblance to a human. Not sure I manage the latter at the best of times.
Post big ride I’m oh so low. I was actually shocked to see the hollow face staring back at me after a recent ride in the Lake District. The next two days passed in a fugue like state, warning lights flashing on my mental capacity dashboard.
Simple arithmetic is like cracking the enigma code, casual questions akin to interrogation. Did I have a good weekend? I’m unsure. Is this not Sunday?
I exist in an echo chamber. Voices reach me long after lips have stopped moving, my mumbled reply is delivered long after they’ve turned their backs.
I have the reflexes of a hungover sloth.

The world moves all around me as if underwater, slow motion, am I seeing through the matrix?
Coffee kicks not this donkey.
Sleep cannot come quickly enough and when it does the clock reads am.
I have no wit, no turn of phrase. I’m certain of nothing. I’m lost in a long tunnel; the distant white dot of normality gets no closer.
I feel nothing. The thought of riding, of doing anything other than lying down, overwhelms me.

Keeponbiking x

 

A ride up Catbells, Derwentwater

I’ve tried to run up this Hill a few times without success and I’ve been on its summit a number of times.

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It’s by far on of my favorites, though in saying that you’d think I’m an expert. I’m not, I know the Keswick area well and the hills that enclose Derwent Water but further afield I can only reel off names that I’ve heard being discussed or written by others. few months ago while on the summit I come across a group of middle age guys on their bikes, some looked older than me.

I love the fact that they looked like they were really enjoying themselves and for me there is no feeling that compares to challenging ourselves in something physical that seems impossible.

There and then I decided that I was gonna do the same , mad I know but why not?

Whats the worse that could happen to a ‘middle aged’ strong boned (fat) guy trying to ride a mountain bike up and down Catbells? Many things I suppose but never mind, it could be bad but also amazing.

Catbells is a lovely fell, seen from Keswick town it has a ridge that mimics a sleeping dragon with steep sides coming out from the lake with two bumps that reach toward the sky. It’s easy to navigate up, but the rocky outcrops nearer the top make it harder with a bike in ones shoulder.

These views are superb and what better way to see them than a quick fell run on a bike?

Well, some people prefer a nice fell walk but I prefer the quicker way!

Starting from Portinscale and heading on the road towards Grange in Borrowdale, after 10 minutes of cycling I get to the path heading up towards the summit of Catbells

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The path was easy to follow from here. It was a direct line almost to Catbells which I could see rising above the tree line when there was space.

Arriving at the bottom of the fell I passed a couple of walkers. The familiar look donned their faces, one of shock and horror that someone would consider walking up a hill with a bike on his shoulder.

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I like this look, makes me feel like I’m doing something out of the ordinary where in reality lots of people do it and are much better at it than me.

Nevertheless these guys thought I was either a pro in training or someone mad in the head or going trough a middle life crisis. And I couldn’t stop and have a break just yet, not until they’re out of view anyway!

Catbells rises sharply on a switchback path and before you know it you can turn around and see a great view.

My back had started to ache. First it’s like it’s going numb but then a dull ache ensues.

But ‘hey, get on with it’ I said to myself.

Not wanting to make do with the current view I continued up through the pain in my back and sweating like mad.

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There are a few rocky bits that need scrambled up using arms and sure foot holds, well one harm .

I arrive at the first bump and peak this where I’m confronted with a strong wind that makes me lean into it in fear I was going to get blown off the top. The fell had thus far sheltered me which was good.

The path kind of levels off following the ridge until it rises more sharply than before with a lot of scrambling involved.

I’m walking really slow this bit and the bike feels heavier but it reminds me of carrying my boys on my back and gives me a burst of energies, I pass a group of lads who also gave me that look. The wind now behind the fell so I’m afforded a nice easy climb. I’m tired so I’m making sure my feet are secure when climbing.

I reach the top an the wind is even more crazy. I struggle to stand up on top. I move to the edge of the peak that faces the wind so if i do get knocked down I’m not going to fall off the cliff.

It’s at this point I wonder if Pepi had listened to me when I told her I was going up here!

Just in case I didn’t come back.

I get my camera out and take some pictures and a video as this is the only medium that could show what it was really like on top.

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The views are just as amazing as I remember. I sit and watch for a while and then head back following a easier route. It’s slow going down the rocky bits and the wind seems to be on my back pushing me down.

Amazing, absolutely amazing.

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I eventually catch up with the group of lads who I’d passed going up. I don’t slow down and plough past them giving the one at the back a bit of a scare. Not sure what he thought.

Back on the ground I pass a fell runner looking fit and running easy and I wonder if he is amazing as he looks or if he’s like me, a ‘crazy guy’ with a lot of enthusiasm for hills and life.

Well done fat man.

Dear Walking

Dear Walking,

We’ve been seeing each other for over forty years, well I say over forty but my mum sometimes reminds me that I didn’t started walking until nearly two years old but that’s a story for another day, but I feel that this letter is long overdue. But every day, my heart beats wildly for you. You have brought me to some beautiful places. Because of you, I have experienced some breathtaking views mostly just me and you but also with the boys and birdie my walking stick, and met some amazing people.

Our walks in the wilderness are memorable and always bring a smile to my face and sometimes a tear,

But most of all, I love how you bring out the best and worst parts of me. You take everything I have mentally, physically, and emotionally and yet you offer a safe place for healing, a place to think, recharge my batteries and to enjoy the boring life of my dreams.

You’ve been there for both hard sends and hard falls (both the kind of scary and amazing) and ultimately, I am a healthier, happier, and more driven human because of you.

When walking we sort of become part of nature. It becomes a great equalizer, Not like Denzel Washington on the film ‘The Equalizer’ obviously. I love how through walking, we’re able to channel emotions through something physical. I love the way the mind and body connect as well as the connections we build with other humans and nature and the world around us.

Finding ways to unplug our lives and instead of looking for the release, letting it find you, embracing it fully and then resurfacing. Seeing what kind of person, we can become when we resurface.

I have climbed to the top of Helvellin in The Lake District National Park. I’ve been scared of narrow paths walking up distant peaks, I’ve returned to earth by headlamp after misjudging the time. I’ve eaten cold squashed tuna sandwiches after seating on my bag because the ground was wet. I’ve slept under stars that set the sky on fire on the clearest of nights. I remember with nostalgia the long walks as a child from home to the beach carrying a wheelbarrow fully loaded with fruit and cold drinks. And then I’ve also fallen asleep to the sound of pure silence entombed in my sleeping bag. Because of these experiences, I have become the person that I am today.

They say that experience builds character. I say it builds whole chapters of your life.

So far, we have had a few great chapters together these last few years and I look forward to the adventures to come. Yes, there will be times when things don’t go as planned and life is strange and feels scary, sad and disconcerting. We all have those moments. We all break down but there is always strength to be drawn from your mountains. Thank you for sharing your strength with me—every day, I am becoming a better person because of it.

All my love,

Being Me

This is the post excerpt.

I’ve been cycling and walking since i remember and this blog its about my love of walking, biking, the natural environment and food glorious food , overall its a blog about life in general, and a few rants haha

In our present fast paced, always-on world, it’s not difficult to access information. It comes at you at breakneck speed. Articles, blog posts, status updates, tweets—there’s never a shortage of ideas to consider.

Gaining knowledge isn’t a problem. Applying it, on the other hand, is a lot more challenging, especially when you consider how little time we have throughout our busy days to stop, breathe, and just be.

Most of what I write its mainly about me as a solo rider  and walker and relates to fear, change, passion, challenges,  anxiety and lifestyle. I genuinely believe in the importance of following a passion so you might find that this blog is not really just a solo walking and biking blog but rather, it is a blog about lifestyle design and everything it takes to make it happen.SONY DSC