Since the demo day, I’ve been ramping up my riding. Sadly my winter hibernation and weight gain has had quite an impact on my riding – I feel slow, fat and waddling. Fortunately, given my prodigious consumption of all that is sugary and fat filled, it’s not as bad as I feared. Yes, I’m slow, and I’m taking longer stops than I used to, and ascents are downright unpleasant, but I’m still able to ride 15+ miles comfortably and I can still ride up hills without stopping. I’ve retained some stamina, so that’s good.

My confidence is also quickly returning – on my first couple of rides, I avoided various things. The Steg on one ride, the boardwalk on another, the exit to section 8 (Zig Zak), the bridge on section 9 (Aunt Flow). In my defence, the weather had been fairly terrible, and there was a surprising amount of mud around, especially on the diversions. A chap was standing in Swinnertons, covered in stinking mud – apparently the mud on the Steg diversion had made the boardwalk slippy. Ew. Didn’t fancy that. A few rides later, I was back to riding everything that I could ride before – a somewhat ridiculous achievement, when you think about it. “Hey, I rode that rock garden I’ve been riding for nearly four years, hear me roar!” Still, I’m always pleasantly surprised.

I’ve been trying to top up my riding with some local riding too, commuting to work when the weather isn’t too bad, and doing the odd loop around Ryton Pools. I’ve not done my usual bridleway loop, as I’m still waiting for it to dry out, but soon…



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