My bottom is like a baby’s bottom despite the fact that I did twenty miles worth of Wiltshire back roads on my bike yesterday. This took me two hours to complete. Last week I did sixteen miles in two hours. I know this because I do circuits of a four mile loop through the village of East Tytherton and the hamlet of Avon and it is four miles to the start of the loop and four miles home again. Last week I did two circuits of the loop and this week I did three. So I am obviously getting faster and consequently I have proven to the world that either I am ready for an Exodus cycling holiday through Indo China or that Exodus need to put together a cycling holiday in the East Tytherton area.
The next time I book myself up for an Exodus cycling trip I must make the effort to ensure that it takes place in the summer. For this trip, and my previous one to Cuba, I have found myself having to do the training in cold and windy weather in January and February, which is absolutely no fun at all. To top it all I was almost killed on a muddy road yesterday by a twat in a four wheel drive Land Rover or something who overtook me at speed in a narrow muddy lane and then immediately turned left in front of me, missing my front wheel by little more than a millimetre. The cherry on the cake of death was the fact that he had a ‘slow down for horses’ sticker in his back window.
Today, with my three favourite rambling friends Sarah, Simon and Ray, I walked ten miles in the hills above Bratton, taking in the Westbury White Horse and several million tons of mud, most of which had stuck to my boots making walking just that little bit more of an endurance test. Yesterday’s cycling didn’t cause any pain yesterday but yesterday’s cycling pulled a bit in my thighs today as I dragged myself up those chalky slopes in a howling icy gale. This, I considered at the time, to be well worthwhile as I am now well prepared for howling icy gales should one manifest itself in the jungles of South East Asia in three weeks’ time.
The cherry on today’s cake of death was a cyclist who approached us at speed from behind on a narrow lane and didn’t shout ‘excuse me’ until his front fork was right up our arses. As he rode on past us he muttered obscenities only just under his breath in protest at having had to slow down slightly. If he had shouted ‘excuse me’ a little earlier, as I would have done myself in my cyclist mode, he wouldn’t have had to slow down at all. I hope he gets run over by a twat in a four wheel drive Land Rover or something with a ‘slow down for horses’ sticker in his back window the next time he’s out on his bike, or trampled to death by a herd of migrating ramblers.
Any road, I reckon I’ve just about cracked it as far as the training is concerned. All I need to do now is a couple more trips out on the bike, a few more sessions in the gym, paint some go faster stripes on my bicycle clips and soak my bum in turpentine to toughen it up for the countless hours in the saddle that lie ahead of me.
So come on Indo China . . . I’m ready for you!