There is a fun supplement in today’s Sunday Times all about cycling. With features by Alistair Campbell (pictured here), Olympic gold medalist Victoria Pembleton and Robert Elms amongst others. Cycling does seem to be increasingly the reserve of the middle-aged man, which is no bad thing for me as I suppose I am now officially in that category. It is unashamedly pro-cyclist – why shouldn’t it be? The most relevant piece to my planned adventures is entitled It’s a long way down by a chap called Paul Sanders and about how he decided to cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End. Some quotes: “John O’Groats to Lands End…. I can do that!…. Six months later and with a mighty gale buffeting me as I stood at John O’Groats, I wasn’t so sure…. I quickly found that the key to cycling a long distance like this was not to overestimate your ability. Having cruised – wind assisted in places – through day one I woke on the morning of day two and could not move. I had never cycled 100 miles before, let alone a thousand. As I rolled off the bed on to my kit and tried to pull on my shorts without bending, I realised my training had been a little light….[but] I found the therapeutic effect of endurance cycling amazing. When the pain in my body was at its peak, the rhythmic action of cycling allowed me to release the stresses in my life. It was a kind of catharsis. Spinning the pedals, focusing completely on the fluid motion of my legs, forced me to relax. In is masochistic simplicity cycling gave me the freedom to dig deep inside my mind and body and discover a strength I never knew I had.”
I am feeling very stressed with work at the moment. I have to admit that even my 13 miles a day to and from Henley goes some way to reverse the level of stress. But not completely. Hopefully Reading to Yorkshire will do the job.