11th Rule of Saturday Cycling – If you’re going through hell, keep going!

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My 11th Rule of Saturday Cycling is a quote from Winston Churchill – “if you’re going through hell, keep going!”.  This ran through my mind as I went out for this afternoon’s bike ride.

The weather has been a good talking point in our family recently and today was no exception.  Nobody bothers to query the bad weather anymore if I’m getting ready for a bike ride as they realise I’ll go regardless. Today I almost wish they had tried to discourage me.  Not long after I had set off, I had my head down and battled into a stiff 25-30mph wind carrying horizontal rain.  I could feel it stinging my face!

I kept trying to encourage myself with reminders that tough conditions are “character building” and how God sometimes does this to test people.  At that point I decided it wash’t that bad and thought “probably no need to test me today’ if thats alright with you Lord.”   I turned a corner and I was sheltered from the wind a little and then it was calm.  I carried on for a few yards when suddenly I was being tested!  No hurricanes, no blizzards but the dreaded cramp!  It was in my left foot around my toes which were pulling in awkward directions.  Next it was my right foot and then my calf muscles.  I was determined not to be beaten by this and carried on and after a while it faded and then back to normal.  That was some test, it hurt.  Hurt but carried on.  Not quite the same as carrying on “through hell” as Churchill put it but still pretty sore.

I got to Dunstable Downs at sunset, not that you could see the sun.  Instead dark heavy clouds rolling overhead with people disappearing quickly in their cars.  Time for a few photographs that might capture the darkness and gloominess.  Then I remember it is 21st December – the shortest day for us in the northern hemisphere.  Tomorrow we’ll have fractionally more daylight, perhaps just a few seconds and those will increase bit by bit over the next six months.  Now that’s really encouraging!

Cycling everyday over Christmas?

Last year and the year before that, I ran every day while I was on holiday over Christmas.  I remember really enjoying that and getting so much from it.  For one thing it meant that I could maintain and improve my fitness, as well as burning those extra calories over Christmas.  So this year I thought I’d try and do this with cycling instead.

Mind you, cycling seems more dependant on the weather.  I can run when there’s snow around but I’m not too keen on cycling when the temperatures are freezing.  So if that’s the case I can either ride around our neighbourhood for 10 minutes (boring) or perhaps get my turbo trainer out (even more boring).

Last year there was something so nice about finishing the old year by running everyday, as well as starting the new year with an early morning run.  All very symbolic.  Besides it is a nice way of having some space to reflect on the year and thinking about the year ahead.  So while I continue to run, this is a case of “ticking over” as I try to increase my cycling mileage as training for the Coast to Coast event in June 2014.  Now that’s something to look forward to.

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