Now that I’ve had the all clear from my doctor that there’s nothing dreadfully amiss with my back (even though it still hurts) and have been told I can go back to cycling and swimming, I’m trying to make the most of it, before winter arrives.
For my first ride back, last Wednesday, I went with group 2; I’d forgotten just how slow they are, with frequent route finding stops, eating and drinking stops, loo stops and stops for U-turns when we’d got it wrong. In winter the weekend rides move to Saturday afternoons, which I can’t often make, but could today. I had a look at the two routes proposed for today; group 2 was only 50km and completely flat, whereas group 1’s route, though not much further, at 60km, was very hilly. I hoped there’d be someone wanting to do group 1 bis; often they either follow the group 1 route, but more slowly, or they cut it a bit short.
On arrival at the start, there weren’t many prepared to brave the wind that had been battering the region since last night, so only 4 riders in group 1 and, apart from me, all very strong cyclists. Nevertheless, I’d go with them, I couldn’t face staying with the other group. We set off at a cracking pace; I held my own for the first few, flat, kilometers, but as soon as the hills started, I was off the back, realising just how much fitness I’ve lost over the past few, inactive weeks. When they stopped to wait for me to catch up, I said I thought I’d go home, I was really struggling, but they wouldn’t hear of it; they’d drop the pace a bit. I was still off the back most of the time and my lowest gears were playing up, which wasn’t useful on such a hilly ride, but I struggled on. There was so much debris on the roads that in places it was impossible to tell if the road was tarmacked; leaves, twigs, branches, and even a few trees and telegraph poles brought down by the wind.
Finally we were back in Dax – I’d made it; at least I know I’ve done something as I drink my cup of tea and contemplate the partially painted spare room furniture on the balcony. I was going to finish the undercoat when I got home, but I think it’ll wait till tomorrow.