Hitting the wall – not a nice experience…

IT’s been a pretty decent winter for getting the bike miles in so I’ve no excuse for heading off to cycle Ireland end to end next month in anything other than tip-top shape.


When you get to my age you realise you’re never going to be in the tip-top shape you remember from former years. It’s all a bit of a compromise and ageing process problems like sore knees, sore athritic feet, sore backs all get in the way of the push for fitness.

I’ve been fairly lucky this winter. Monthly visits to Anne Connolly, our local osteopath, has made a big difference to a thigh and knee problem that has been plaguing me for some time but last week, when cycling on the bike route between Oban and Glen Coe I stopped for a moment for a pee and for no explicable reason my lower back went into a spasm.

It’s been more of a pest than a problem and although I find it difficult to bend first thing in the morning it tends to ease up during the day and hasn’t stopped me walking or cycling. Indeed, it’s getting better each day.

But at the weekend I was reminded that it’s all very well grabbing the bike and putting the miles in, but you have to think about what you’re doing and be sensible, something I’m not always very good at. I always tend to expect my body to do more than perhaps it’s capable – I guess I just forget I’m approaching 65.

It was a nice morning, I was due a long bike ride so I thought I’d get out early. I made a bowl of porridge for my breakfast, grabbed a banana and shoved it in my rear pocket and set off on a 60 mile jaunt.

I took my Ridegback Panorama road touring bike as I’m still breaking in a Brooks saddle – even after 300-350 miles it’s still bloody uncomfortable – so I wasn’t pushing it hard. The idea was to have a long and leisurely ride on a nice spring morning.

At 30 miles I felt hungry so I ate my banana but at 40 miles I hit the wall. I felt suddenly exhausted, I was cold and a little bit dizzy. I wondered if I should phone my wife and get her to pick me up but I persisted, stopping every few miles for a breather.

When I eventually made it home, very slowly, I felt dreadful, and my wife made me some soup and sandwhiches after which I began to feel a bit better, but I have not felt like that for years. I just felt empty…

At the Scottish Bike Show at the weekend I bought a big box of High5 Energy Bars. I’m not going to be caught out like that again.


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