In August 2014, at the start of my endeavour into fitness, I went on a bike ride with The Trainer. He took me on a local route to him, and it was TOUGH. There was a hill in the middle of it, and I struggled. So much that I got off and pushed my bike for a little way. Got to the top eventually, which was no mean feat, and The Trainer took a photo of me at the top of the hill. Given that I’d approached The Trainer some weeks earlier with the goals of riding 20k and 40k, this 29k ride with a big hill in the middle was a massive achievement. I was slow, it was hard, but I did it.
Then a year passed, and Blenheim and PMDD and a 4k river swim and more PMDD and loads of other stuff.
And on Sunday I decided that I needed to do a training ride, and I wanted to see if that year had affected my ability to get up Aston Hill. My aim was to get up there without stopping, and certainly without getting off to walk.
To record the moment, I took this photo.
It would appear that I look a bit different 14 months on. Not that long really, but changes disproportional to the time passed.
Comparing the data from the two rides reveals further changes.
Average speed went from 13.4kph to 21.5kph. Moving time went from 2 hours 11 minutes to 1 hour 43 minutes (ish, because I turned my timer off whilst I psyched myself up at the bottom of the hill and forgot to turn it back on til the top!).
It’s really good to have these little milestones to check in against. They confirm that all the hard work, early mornings, late evenings has paid off and I’ve got better.
I’m still a long way from where I need to be to ride the Champs Elysses, but I’m much further forward than I was just 14 months ago.
In other news, when I was that Old Me, I used to sit on my sofa and dream about being an active family. The sort who could go for walks or play in the park or for whom getting on their bikes would come naturally. It seemed like nothing more than a day dream, not least of all because I was at least 50kg heavier than I should have been, and I was full of excuses as to why it could never be. Couldn’t stick to a diet, gyms are not welcoming places, must be genetic, I had bad past experiences of exercise. I had all the excuses going!
Anyway, on Sunday when I got back from Beating Aston Hill, my son asked me if we could go out for a bike ride. I was already in lycra, so I had no excuses! We headed out, stayed on mostly quiet roads but it was great to get his confidence up, went round a couple of lakes at our local country park, then rode to his grandma’s house and back home. We were out for 25km! I’m partially embarrassed that the reason I hired The Trainer in the first place I didn’t think I could ride 20km, and my son, aged 6, beat that distance on his first real bike ride. Our average speed was about 10kph, which was pretty much my top speed when I started. Putting my embarrassment aside, though, I’m just amazingly super proud of him. I’m absolutely thrilled that it comes naturally to him to want to get out and be active. I’m delighted that he said “Mum, I love that we can do fitness things together”. I’m happy that I could say yes to his request to go out.
We had a lot of fun together, even when he tried to ride hands free, fell into my bike, made me fall off over him (in seeming slow motion), and we both ended up tangled on the ground.
As a working mum, and a Masters student, and a full time employee, family time can be limited, and I don’t often get quality mother and son time with the lad. The three hours we were out were so pleasant. We both just chatted the whole way round, laughed at the quantity of various types of poo on the road, giggled when we fell over, and worried together about being just a bit lost.
Getting to Paris, and losing weight and all that is all good, but sometimes small, slow bike roads with six year olds mean even more.