The last throes of Autumn, November 2020

We were warned, Lockdown 2.0

All news was pointing to a second lockdown and by the 1st November we were in no doubt. Effective 5th November the whole of the England would lockdown until at least 2nd December, but we know the only real solution would be to continue until the New Year to stop any seasonal revelry which could spread the disease.

Positives to take from it; Well we can still exercise with one other person, so at least we won’t go completely mad with loneliness. However, it looks like it’s going to be some time before I see my family up north, and even those living close by might be out of the question. All those plans of spending time with my grandson on his new bike have now faded away.

Well that’s it, we are in lockdown again. It’s funny how we always try and put a positive spin on things to make us feel better about accepting whatever chaos is going on out of your control.

Sat in what was my spare bedroom (never used), which is now an amazing study, I realised how much more time I have had this year that would not have been available under normal circumstances. I would always choose to spend time and money on travelling rather than on my home.

However, being forced not to travel, and worse still spend more time at home, my time has been spent well and I can sit at home knowing that once the curtain lifts and we can start living again I don’t have jobs at home hanging over my head.

We are allowed to ride with one other rider at a time, and unlike April, I think I will take advantage of this opportunity for some steady rides this time.

A sunny spin out on day 1 of the lockdown and you would be forgiven for thinking nothing had changed and as I came back through town there was even a farmer’s market in the town square. Go figure!

I decided to start walking again, as I did in the first lockdown. It was a shock to the system in two ways, one, it was much colder and wetter than April, but secondly it was very moody with mist in the air, webs covering the vegetation and lovely low sun. It was only 9km, but I felt it in my hips, as I did back in April, so I really do need to continue for a few weeks to let the muscles get used to other movement to cycling.

I managed a couple of rides over the first weekend, following the rules riding as a pair. Saturday was a hard but sunny ride with a coffee stop in the beautiful gardens of the local Buddhist Centre, followed by another pairs ride Sunday, stopping to mark Remembrance Day.

I also managed to meet my bubble in the park for the first outing of the new bike, with pedals. I think it’s going to take a couple of tries, but it’s still a step up from a balance bike.

I thought we had been lucky over the weekend, when the weather shifted after Sunday and the following week was miserable, so started with some steady low aerobic sessions on the turbo, in the warmth. I am pleased now that I had spent time revamping the house, giving myself a nice room for working in and working-out in.

By midweek, the weather had picked up, not nice enough for me to entice any cycling buddies out, but enough for me to escape the confines of the house and turbo. I did manage to secure some company for the Saturday morning ride, which was forecast to be horrible, so we strung together a bunch of loops, giving us the option to bail out if it got bad. We were really lucky and managed to get 55km in before returning for a coffee in the park. It was only when we got our coffee, and we were sat outside that the heavens opened. Typical.

As I entered week three of the month I made the conscious decision to back off a little, limit myself to three outside rides during the week, with a day off in between, otherwise I am likely to keep chasing people on lighter bikes round the countryside until the end of the year, then wonder why I feel tired by February like last year. Just hope I can maintain the self-control.

Monday of the third week I met up with Ady, who I used to ride with on a Saturday. He is currently getting to the end of a riding challenge for the Royal Marines, “Around the World in 80 Days”. He and a team of other Ex-Marines are logging activities, either walking, running, or riding, and jointly aiming to hit 40,075km in the 80 days. I know how these things can start to drag towards the end, especially if you are on your own all the time, so we did a 70km ride to help get him closer to the end.

Wednesday I met up with Martin, and again, I had not ridden with Martin since mid-September, so there was a ton of catch up. Martin as I have mentioned before was my boss for many years, and we often get into banter about some of the things we experienced during our working time and it always leaves us in stitches. Working for a mid-sized company, which was growing fast in international markets always led to some interesting situations, with interesting people, and you do not realise at the time how it shapes you as a person.

Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, I got chance to ride with Simon again after his two weeks of lockdown, having returned from two weeks working in Spain. Sadly, during lockdown he had been so eager to ride, so he has been on the turbo every day, which combined with his lightweight aluminium Emonda left me totally spent by Saturday lunchtime. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger …right?

The final week started with a strong overnight frost, first of the winter and chilly start to my Monday morning ride. As the morning went on and the temperature bumped up to 8 degrees it felt warm enough to extend it to a nice 77km, but the I must admit it would have been nice to have stopped for a brew, but we are still in lockdown and nowhere on-route was open, not even for a take away.

A nice walk in the rain on Wednesday made a change and it was good to see the Grand Union at this time of the year. That was followed up with a short spin in completely different weather on Thursday. If the forecast is to be believed it will be some time before we see another day like this.

The last weekend of the month was a real dirty, foggy, miserable one. Thankfully, I wasn’t riding Saturday but managed a couple of hours on the Sunday. To be honest, two hours was enough in the damp and cold.

It’s the last day of the month and time for a nice steady walk to round it off. The new lockdown regime starts tomorrow, so let’s see what that brings and discover what we can do leading up to Christmas.

All in all, including the indoor rides I hit 1066Km and only 27km of walking, so I need to up the walking in December as I wind down to the year end.

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