This is where the hard work is done, the Winter months when it is easy to take time off, stay indoors and wrapped up. It is very attractive but the past few years have been different for me as I feel bad not going out on the bike. I feel like I have let myself down if I do not ride regularly.

The weight has started climbing too, something which has been noticed by others and not just myself. I must not beat myself up though as a year ago I was the best part of a stone and a half heavier than I am now. If I can keep that up for another two years then 3 stone lighter than now will be most welcome. I guess it is all about little steps, small incremental changes.

Today I can be thankful for a seismic change to the Sunday routine as the roast dinner will be in the early evening and not at lunch, so I can head out on to the roads with an empty stomach and attack the roads hard.

It started out that way too as I took the more difficult option each time I could. Why take the level, shorter route when you can turn off, drop down a hill and then climb back up another hill to get to the same point, idiot!

It all seems rather sadistic but taking the easy option is only cheating myself in the long run. The plan for today was 25 miles minimum and no more than two hours in the saddle. Often I start out on the flat and work up to the lumpier stuff at the end. No vice versa this time and I think it worked.

A stop off at Rugby School, (pictured above), was just over halfway with only one more climb of note to tackle. Then the last 11-12 miles would start with a long downhill run and then on to the flat lands all the way home. You can really knock out a good average and claim back some pace that was robbed from you early on.

So did it do me any good today? I’m not sure. It might have helped a surge in the body growing again ahead of what is going to be a bad week with various Christmas parties. I suppose today was all about preparation for this week and next year.


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