There came a point, 60 odd miles into yesterdays ride, where I ran out of curse words. For people who know me well, that might raise an eyebrow. The head wind at times was demoralising and demeaning.
Those are the times when to not yield is to gain. Gain strength. Gain confidence. Gain endurance. Strengthen resolve and temper perseverance.
It all started with a lassitude, of sorts. I knew I just needed to tap out some miles. the weather was reasonable if I didn’t venture high and I had no desire to make a journey to make a journey, so I rode from the front door, so to speak, and dodged the early season walkers on the West Highland Way until I could climb over towards Aberfoyle and the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. After a couple hours, my legs were feeling strong and a decision had to be made whether to bite off a second loop. Once committed, the die would be cast.
A slight hesitation betrayed my ongoing questioning of my physical resilience but there is only one way if you want achieve something worthwhile: you have to strive. So I took a left turn and kept peddling.
Fighting into the wind, a few flurries of hail nipped at the small patches of my exposed flesh and led me to bury my head, knowing there was nothing tricky about the route I was taking.
After turning at Stronachlachar, the wind moved to my tail making the ride down the north side of Loch Katrine easy. I then ducked into the forest, enjoying the trails around the fast flowing and beautiful Achray Water before emerging on the Duke’s pass. From here, I had decided to head east past Loch Achray to Loch Venacher, under the watchful eye of Ben Ledi and climb out and over to Aberfoyle before taking the cycle path from there back to rejoin the West Highland Way and home.
I haven’t looked at the gpx yet, but I would estimate 75-80 miles which took 7.15 hours. The efforts against the wind on the way home have left me feeling pretty torn up, but I’m getting there. I can’t help but feel I need to do some kettle bell work and get my hams and quads working a bit better. It really is a hole to dig out of: I took it all for granted this last few years.