So yesterday was the day of my Anniversaire – a 49 mile cycling jaunt with any similarly inclined friends who care to join me in celebrating another successful trip around the sun.
This was much improved by the fact that said sun actually put in an appearance, something that has not been a given in recent weeks.
It was also something of a nostalgia trip for me (if you can be nostalgic for the very recent past) as we revisited the back road to Papershop Village, reminding me just what a lovely ride that is.
We also paid due obeisance to the ford (to the slight bafflement of local friends who don’t actually read the blog):
I was a little worried I’d struggle this year because I have been suffering from sore quad muscles, apparently due to an unwise attempt to power up a sharp hill in top gear from a standing start a couple of days ago. But it turns out that if you take it slow enough you can still ride 49 miles with relative ease even when you can’t walk up and down stairs without making old person noises with every step.*
Even so, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself at mostly seeing off the ravages of time, up until I cycled into Bigtown this afternoon with Back on my Bike to meet an octogenarian for coffee and cycling chat. She was very polite about our epic 49-er before casually mentioning her cross-Canada cycle ride at 69 – and this summer’s 24-hour sponsored cycle challenge in which she ‘only’ managed 187 miles (not counting the ones she did on the turbo trainer in the village hall during the hours of darkness), while bemoaning the fact that the health and safety meanies had stopped her from doing her annual abseil down a local lighthouse for charity.
Clearly, I’ve got a way to go before anything I manage on a bike is in any way impressive to the average Bigtownshire senior citizen. Still, it’s good to have a stretch goal to aim for…
* I did better than my friend who, fresh from defying bears as she cycled epic distances over rough gravel in Newfoundland, was defeated by a broken station lift and spent the afternoon in agony in Carlisle station having put her back out carrying her bike up the stairs. Cycling, truly the way to a healthy and active middle age…