Gym, gym, run, gym – and rides and walks in the Lake District

The ‘lake’ bit of the Lake District is obvious – it could just as easily be called the Hill District

After a great weekend, uninterrupted by any exercise (beyond the quad biking, lifting a glass or fork to my mouth, and some walking) it was the gym on Monday morning to start losing the extra pounds.

Same again on Wednesday for 50 minutes of weights followed by 3km on the treadmill in 15m 57sec. That’s around the pace for a 3h 45min marathon – but even on the treadmill there was no way I’d have been keeping that pace up for any great distance. I’m a long way off being able to do any decent running – happily, there is a long time before I really have to try.

Gym again on Thursday morning for 50 minutes – tough on the back of the previous day’s visit but, on the plus side, the Achilles tendons seem to be in reasonable shape after the treadmill run.

On Saturday we drove the 250 miles up to the Lake District for a weekend with the friends we hosted in France in the summer. It rains a lot up there (could that have some link to the fact that it’s the lake district?) but we were pretty lucky this year.

Our host forgot his cycling shoes so I got a call on Saturday morning to see if I had any with mountain bike cleats to take up for him. I didn’t but was able to collect the forgotten shoes from his house.

Tricked into thinking that he was going to use his mountain bike, I took mine, only to find he was using a road bike for a ride in constant rain on Sunday. It was hard: only 24.48km but with 424m of climbing (15.2 miles and nearly 1400 feet). Particularly hard on me battling (and failing) to keep pace on my 18 year old mountain bike.

On Monday we walked the Fairfield Horseshoe – according to my Garmin, we walked for 20.27km with over 1000m of climbing (12.6 miles and 3340 feet). Quite a tough hike for a non-walker but very nice views and a real feeling of success. It wasn’t deserted but there was just a trickle of people coming from the other direction (we did it anti-clockwise, starting climbing from Ambleside).

On Tuesday the three men rode (all on mountain bikes and largely off-road) to meet our wives at the start of a walk up Holme Fell, and back again after it. Over 28km and 660 metres of climbing by bike (over 17.5 miles and 2200 feet) and a short walk of about 4.3km with 202m of ascent (2.7 miles and 660 feet) sandwiched in between. This off-road mountain biking stuff is seriously tough. The legs weren’t too bad thanks to the gym (I guess) but the cardio vascular bit was rather lacking.

It was a terrific few days with great friends and excellent hospitality, in a magnificent part of the country.

I’ve got to get up on the Ridgeway to make sure it is not anything like the fell walking. If it is, I’m in trouble for the trail ultra marathon up there next year.

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