Monday, 30 August 2010


As is the case so regularly in my life, plans have changed last minute. We had to postpone the hike due to unforeseen circumstances so now I have four days off and lots of ideas of how to fill them.

Today I headed into the New Forest for a spot of mountain biking. I feel I have deserted Roxy since I first got her and when the opportunity to go out with Lyndal from the Tri Club arose I grabbed the chance. I asked her how long the ride would be and she said it was around 14km. "Is that all?!" I thought. Always keen to get out and do as much as possible I said to her maybe we could add on some extra if we're both feeling lively. She agreed.

Despite being keen to get out and spend some time in the saddle, I was still filled with nervous anticipation. I'm really not at all confident on the MTB, but Lyndal reassured me we wouldn't be doing anything technical, just a nice friendly loop with a few hills.

We set off and were grinding uphill almost immediately, my thighs were burning within ten minutes. Probably wasn't a great idea to do a spinning class this morning before heading out.. you live and learn.

At the crest of the first hill and gasping for air I forgot for a moment how scared I was about the downhill and I flew down the first bit, absolutely crapping myself when I hit a few bumps. However, after that I started to ease up. The thing with the New Forest is that loads of the paths are very gravelly, so you can't brake when you're going down unless you want to skid out of control. You have to just let gravity do it's thing and try your very hardest to avoid anything that might launch you into a concussion.

After some more heavy undulations and a hellish hill of sand that required hardcore spinning action just to keep from sinking into the depths we had done our loop. Brilliant! It was all going so well! We decided to do a little bit extra.

In that little bit extra I managed to hit the deck twice. The second time hurt. I made a very ridiculous decision to cross from the path I was on to the path that Lyndal was on via many dead bits of tree. Roxy wasn't keen on the idea and she threw me down into a little patch of thorns. A bit winded, I got up and dusted myself off, pulling a thorn or two out of my battered limbs.

We went on, and I suddenly felt like it was really hard going. Whenever this happens to me on a bike I never think "ooh maybe I'm tired". Like a bad workman blames his tools I always think there must be a problem with the bike or I must have a flat. In this instance, I was sure I was looking flatter than normal. Lyndal had a peek and assured me my tyres looked fine - bugger, it was just me then.

The last part of the trail was full of muddy puddles which I thoroughly enjoyed. You always feel like a rugged, hardcore mountain biker when you're caked in mud. Knackered, we got back to the car. At the other end when we got the bike out, guess what? My front tyre was as flat as a pancake. A closer inspection revealed a massive thorn, meaning I had in fact been riding deflated since the dead tree incident. Part of me was a bit annoyed that I hadto sort out a flat, but most of me was actually pretty happy that I wasn't just weak and tired for the last bit of the ride!

I patched her up and with aching calves, headed to Tesco where they are doing a ridiculous offer of half price Ben and Jerrys!! Quite frankly it would have been sheer stupidity not to stock up. Here's a major success story for you though, it's been in the freezer all afternoon and I haven't even unwrapped the plastic.

I'm a health queen!

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