After saving up my annual leave to get as much riding in as possible over the Christmas period I only got two weeks in before getting man flu. With this and a heap of work waiting for me on my return I ended up being off the bike for just over 3 weeks. With my first free weekend upon me, I packed up the car with the Norco on top and headed over to Peaslake, in the Surrey Hills, to ride on Holmbury Hill, an area I have recently started exploring.
The official trails start at the top of Holmbury Hill (as you would expect), a climb of around 350ft, which certainly gets the blood pumping, but usually perfectly manageable. I was expecting to struggle a little after not riding for a few weeks but after finally reaching the top I was ‘blowing out my arse’. It took me nearly 10 minutes to recover, which for me was a sign that my fitness level was seriously below par.
After getting my breath back and letting my heart rate settle, I set off on the first descent on my planned route, a trail called Yoghurt Pots. It’s a nice flowy trail with only a few points that need some pedal strokes to keep momentum, and one of my favourite trails on Holmbury Hill. I reached the end and was surprised to be feeling dizzy and slightly nauseous. I’ve had longer breaks off the bike and always notice a dip in my fitness, but I’ve never felt this bad.
After missing out a short section from my planned route, and a couple of push-ups due to total leg failure, I was finally at the top and ready for the final decent. I waited until I had fully recovered in order to enjoy the decent back to Peaslake, a trail called Barry Knows Best, probably the best trail on Holmbury and certainly the most well known.
It’s days like this that has me having to remind myself “this is supposed to be fun”, although with a final decent that is always guaranteed to put a big smile on my face, the feeling never lasts long. The upshot of all of this is that I am even more determined to eat better, lose weight and make a better effort to maintain my fitness. So my diet has started, along with my very first “dry January” and I’m feeling really positive about it.