It Ain’t Easy Taking It Easy
The past couple of weeks have been rotten! It all started two and a half weeks ago when I work up feeling terrible after drinking three bottles of beer the night before. I thought that I’d reached a new level of alcohol intolerance, and unfairly punished considering I’d hardly drunk anything.
But as it turned out it wasn’t a hangover, it was the beginning of a bout of flu that was needlessly drawn out due to my refusing to really acknowledge it.
I won’t bore you with all the details, but the next week, I finally ‘called in sick’ for one day. Only I didn’t really as I work from home, so all calling in sick meant was I emailed the boss and told her I might be slower than usual replying to emails.
What I should have done, was turn my computer off and stay in bed, but I was still refusing to give in to illness. If you work from home, it’s really hard to justify not doing any work at all – I mean it’s not like you have to brave a commute or anything. The next day, feeling I shouldn’t be such a baby, I just carried on working as normal, and then even tried to go for a ride! What a mistake – I rode about 20 metres then bid a hasty retreat back to the car as I thought I was going to collapse.
Several days later, the megaflu hit and then I was really buggered – delirious, sweating, freezing, pounding heachache, the works. That coincided with some holiday I’d booked, so I finally gave in and just did nothing. The next few days were hellish for me and extremely boring for Dave, but finally the fever subsided, and just in time for a couple of days of sunshine over Easter.
It’s crazy how quickly the body can deteriorate and muscles atrophy – two weeks of working from my bed and not riding at all have resulted in a very flat bottom indeed! I’m really looking forward to getting my muscles all fired up again and feeling strong and healthy.
But I’m still weak and extremely tired, and having refused to acknowledge the fact I was ill and hunker down with a bowl of fruit and some warm blankets at the beginning of getting sick, I’m trying to take a sensible approach to recovery and actually listen to my body, rather than dashing out on my road bike.
As a nice gentle way to get some fresh air and ease myself into cycling again, we’ve been riding some of the area’s best cycle paths, including the Exe River Trail and the Granite Way between Oakhampton and Lympstone. Both are pretty much flat, totally traffic free, and offer gorgeous views.
The Granite way takes you along the edge of Dartmoor over viaducts, with plenty of pubs signposted along the route. There’s a small dirt section, but for the most part, it’s hard-packed gravel and totally flat. At the end (or start) in Oakhampton, there’s a pretty cool looking old station, with what my Dad tells me is a good buffet.
The Exe Rive Trail beings in Dawlish and follows the estuary around to Exmouth with much of it on specially constructed wooden decking put there so the route is rideable year round (I think) as Devon is quite prone to flooding. Some of the sections are not yet finished, but the part that we rode from Topsham to Exmouth is, and was really so nice to see whole families out on their bikes enjoying it. One of the really good things about this route is that you can get an ice-cream and go to the beach at the end!
I’d highly recommend either of these routes, both have helped me rediscover the pleasure of just pottering about on a bike and using cycling as a way of relaxing. So I’ve finally learnt how to take it easy and slow down – just a couple of weeks too late perhaps!