Everybody has their own favourite places, or at least they should. Some are places you may only have visited a few times, but for whatever reason they have left you feeling you have gained something by going there. Perhaps you met somebody or saw something that made your heart sing? Perhaps you listened to the chattering dawn chorus or watched rabbits bounding in the evening warmth? Whatever the reason, you now have an indelible mark on your soul, one that, if you are anything like me, will draw you back time and time again.
Yesterday was one of those days. You know the kind I mean, a day when you have to go out but can’t find any motivation to get going. Sometimes on those flat-as-a-pancake days I just give in and drive to my destination, but yesterday I didn’t. Against the odds, I somehow made myself ride Kermit to Okehampton where I had appointments at the doctors and a less formal one with the supermarket.
I was sat on a bench in the wonderfully named Woolfardisworthy, Woolsery to the locals. It was bright and sunny. I’d been riding for quite a few hours to get here. Despite this fact, I was only about five kilometres from my start point. The main reasons for this were non-existent roads and road closures that forced me to deviate back in the direction from which I had come. My excursion had stopped here because there was a shop, much needed water and a chance to take stock in the warm summer sunshine.
Ever since I was a boy I’ve been inquisitive about what lies around the corner or over the next hill. Almost as soon as I could ride a bike I would set off to explore the boundaries set by my parents. I would frequently travel far beyond them, feeling self sufficient even at an early age. Accompanied by friends, or my big sister, I began to learn the topography around the area in which we lived, navigating the myriad of country lanes that linked the villages. Sometimes we would head for Everdon Stubbs, a woods where we would find chestnuts or conkers. At other times we would head to another village to see what it had to offer or just meander around without any great purpose.
I don’t know where my time goes. One minute I’m writing here and the next minute two weeks has flown past without a thought to stop or slow down a little. I’ve been managing the injuries I wrote about last time as best I can and am pleased to report that I have made good progress. I’ve ridden Kermit a few times by limiting my mileage and keeping half an eye out to gently increasing it. In addition to that there’s been some pilates and a little yoga, as this always helps rebalance muscle groups that can easily get out of sync with one another when you do repetitive exercise like cycling.
Up until last week, the sun kept on shining, showering our lily-white bodies with its warming rays. Typically, our first response is to throw off as many clothes as possible, leaving only those that leave us decent. Once done, we sprawl ourselves out like carpets to maximise the absorption of these precious rays. All of the experts crawl out of the woodwork, telling us how we are all going to die of skin cancer, but by now, the middle of June, we are so deprived of vitamin D that we abandon ourselves to our fate like lemmings off a cliff.
Hiatus: A gap, a pause, a lull, an interruption. Call it what you wish, there are all manner of reasons for having one. At the moment I’m having a hiatus from cycling, for one simple reason; I’m injured. As summer approaches and the days grow in warmth and length, stretching our imaginations far and wide, I can’t go out and pedal any distance. All of my thoughts, cycling dreams and plans are on hold.