Saturday, 30 April 2011

Sensible Stopping

When you have set yourself a challenge, or been set a challenge or even just told a few people what you're planning to do, the pressure is on for you to complete it. Once I have my head set on doing something, I want to see it through to the bitter end and the idea of having to give up - whatever the reason - fills me with dread!

As I have discovered in the last week though, stopping can be the most sensible option. I was feeling massive excitement and slightly nervous anticipation about doing the South Downs Way on mountain bike. A goal of mine for ages, this would be one to tick off the list. I was feeling particularly smug as I managed to cram everything I needed (including a sleeping bag, spare clothes AND vast amounts of food) in an 18 litre sack; small and light enough to make for a very comfortable ride.

We set off from Winchester and once we hit the trail, it was glorious. Wide, open bridleways and stints along quiet country roads, rolling hills, great company and plenty of food stops: it was perfect. The trail was well-way-marked so there was very little navigation faff and because of a little something called the Royal Wedding, there was hardly any trail traffic at all.

So many sandwiches were in there they
started to escape..
Doing the South Downs Way in two days is something I couldn't have even contemplated this time last year, but I was loving being able to enjoy getting out for a long day in the saddle without having to worry about being fit enough to get through it. However, about 18 miles in and the knee started to play up, the same pesky knee that had given me issues coming back from Banbury on Monday.

As soon as I felt the twinging I knew I should stop, rest and not try to push on through. I was absolutely gutted to have to give up, but had I kept going I would have been in a world of pain later in the day. I tried to spin over the next few miles of trail and fortunately the nearest train station was not too far once we hit the road again. 

So the SDW is STILL on the to-do list and at least next time I will have a good idea of what to expect. For now though; stretching, ice and a well-needed rest!

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