Saturday was an interesting one. I set out with my friend for a 60 mile cycle out from Edinburgh to the Falkirk Wheel and back. Now to me 60 miles is a lot, a lot a lot. The furthest I have ever cycled prior to this being the 24 miles to and from the stables last Sunday after which I fell asleep on my living room floor. Still, we had promised to do this route since our attempt in August failed and as Saturday dawned with gorgeous blue skies and sunshine we couldn’t have picked a better day!
The route from Edinburgh to the Falkirk Wheel follows the tow path along the canal and is pretty flat for the whole route, but that doesn’t mean boring. The scenery was beautiful and it was relatively quiet although when we approached one of the towns along the route it did get a little busier. After the punctures fiasco of last time this time we were fine and seemed to making quite good time, we stopped in Linlithgow for five minutes and realised that our calculations on distance had been slightly off! Looking at the distance we had come (26.5 miles) and the distance still to go to the wheel (11.5 miles) something didn’t add up to the 60 miles. We both felt fine though and as we had set out to cycle to the Falkirk Wheel we decided to cycle on wards and when we arrived back in Linlithgow we could hop on a train then.
There is a horrible tunnel for about half a mile on this route, I had randomly had a check on the internet about this route and it had recommended lights and thank god it had! My night vision is close to non-existent and I find tunnels very disorientating so I was pleased to arrive out the other side into the sunshine in one piece and without having taken an unexpected bath! When we arrived at the Falkirk Wheel it was great, a busy place with families and tourists enjoying the autumn sunshine, it was lovely.
After some average food – I wouldn’t write home about it but it gave me energy – we then enjoyed an ice cream slider in the sunshine. That was awesome and a real plus side to cycling rather than running (not often allowed to stop and eat ice cream).
On the cycle back we stopped for a little longer on Scotland’s highest aqueduct to enjoy the view.
Back in Linlithgow I was feeling ok so we decided to cycle the whole return journey but whew at the 60 odd mile mark my right arm started to really seize up, it wasn’t a problem just more of a niggle that meant we had to slow a bit and I kept stretching it while on the bike. Once back in Edinburgh I couldn’t help cheering as we cycled through the city centre we did every so often just shout out ’75 miles’ at startled shoppers but I was soo chuffed. I loved it, definitely going to do more cycling – it was just great fun. Even once I am back running I want to continue to cycle.
So a quick riding update as well. Since clearly cycling 75 miles wasn’t enough for me in one weekend I also had my normal horse riding lesson on Sunday. I felt surprisingly good – Monday I was a wreck but that’s different – and I was given Td. I love Td, I always forget how much I enjoy riding him but he makes me smile, he makes me work but makes me smile. He was in a sluggish mood as I took him out his stable, he just kept giving me a look implying that I was terrible for taking him to the mounting block.
This week there was an interesting addition to the lesson, the lunge whip that my instructor was holding in the middle of the school. This was mainly to get MJ to move but it had a similar effect on all the horses all of whom were a bit slow mainly down to the heat. It has been pretty cold then suddenly back up to the mid-teens. Td’s reaction was very funny, while all the others simply trotted faster Td decided we should canter and set off down the school. I had him under control but it was very funny as he kept half an eye on the instructor at all times and during the canter exercises kept skipping to the side to avoid being even in the same half of the school. Due to my injuries of late a lot of focus was on me getting myself sitting straight and back in the saddle. I have really tight hips at the minute but hoping that this will improve as it is making me bounce more in the canter than I am used to. Once I got the correct seat with Td we were flying in the canter, he is so eager to please and will always try – although when I think about it I think we have unexpectedly cantered every time I ride Td. It was a really fun lesson although we didn’t work on anything in particular I really enjoyed the combination of sunshine and Td!
A couple of pieces of riding news I am upping my riding to twice a week, which should be interesting. I am hoping for a clear improvement and have my first regular private lesson today. The other piece of news is that there is a winter dressage league being started, which is similar to the dressage evenings I blogged about before but will happen once a month throughout the winter meaning we can hopefully track improvement and work on various things. I chose Td to do the first one on, a harder prospect than Am but still a good one.
Well today looks like it might be a wet lesson as the sky is darkening out there! Wish me luck that the rain stays off!