The warm days of late summer are dropping away, replaced by cooler mornings and nights. Trees are showing leaves that vary in colour from citrus lemon to fiery orange as they ready themselves to fall. This annual process that we all know so well has been slowed by the September sunshine that we have basked in of late. Venturing out early or late now requires a little more thought as we feel the changes of our ever shortening days and we begin to prepare ourselves for another winter. As this process takes hold we sit and hope that this winter will be a proper season and not just the never-ending wind and rain of the last few years that caused so much havoc across the UK.
It’s a rare occurrence that I get nervous about going cycling. I’ve ridden so many miles over the last five years that it’s become an integrated part of my life and recovery. I try to maintain a status quo that sees me riding a few times a week when I feel able to do so. Although this hasn’t proven possible for most of 2014 the recent good weather has seen more consistency in my day-to-day energy, allowing me to venture out a little more frequently again. My rides have naturally become longer and my confidence to complete them has improved, especially since the advent of the surprise wasp sting allergy that halted me in my tracks for a short while.
It’s been fine in Devon now for over two weeks. This late summer warmth has been aiding my efforts to get my cycling back on track after a difficult year. I’ve begun to explore again rather than take the obvious routes between the places I tend to travel to. It’s reminded me of how much I love being out on my cycle and helped my health inordinately by giving me a much-needed double-boost of exercise and sunshine.
At those times when my mind plays games with me, as it has for most of this year, I sometimes sit and wonder if it will ever open up again into that free-flowing state that is so creative and rewarding. I knew from early on this year that I needed to rest for a while and replenish my energy. It wasn’t something I chose but a situation I had respond as positively as I felt able. I certainly wasn’t prepared for the a long, month after month, fight with depressive symptoms that has transpired. A gentle and wonderful trip through Brittany with Michele is the sum total of my touring in 2014 to date, although I still have a few desires to fulfill before winter settles on us once more.
It’s been a quiet week for me here in Devon. The monsoon season has returned with a vengeance. Temperatures dropped and rain fell so heavily that at times the gutters and drains around the houses where I live couldn’t cope with it. August feels much the same as January did, cool and wet with strong gusting winds. The weeks of pleasant warm weather we have recently experienced quickly disappeared from my memory as I tried not to think that summer is over until next year.
Waking up to warm sunshine wasn’t something I had experienced at all this year until Michele and I hit the shores of Brittany. All our fears about cold and wet conditions evaporated in the first few days we were there. When you are cycle touring you learn to take each day as it comes and there’s little point trying to predict the weather patterns of such a variable region. It’s better to just wake each day and see what it brings. You can always pull the covers back over your head and go back to sleep after all.
This weeks blog was supposed to be a follow on from the piece I wrote about my trip to France with Michele back in June. Life has had other ideas though and I feel compelled to write about something that was not even on the radar five days ago. Over the last five years I become accustomed to battling my mental health and all the things in my life I’ve had to change in order to begin to manage that.