Three-and-a-half months until the Highland Cross. Time to start training. But I’m a runner. Yes, I cycle, but I’m a commuter cyclist, a recreational cyclist, a cyclist that likes to have his head up, not craned over the handlebars. I’ll happily grind up a hill all day, but the thought of a 10-mile time trial on the flat fills me with dread. But, as I said, the Highland Cross beckons.
I managed a paltry 16 miles – a little over half of the distance of the Highland Cross cycle – before work this morning, first climbing out of Inverness and up to Culloden Moor. It is a 100-metre ascent, nothing major, but I felt awful. Many cyclists will be able to identify with my shivering feet and hands yet overheated core, and hollow legs.
I laboured past Culloden Battlefield, crossed the River Nairn and followed the road that passes beneath the viaduct on the Inverness-Aviemore line. My stuttering progress was halted shortly after on a short but sharp incline, with a coating of ice on the road a good excuse to get off and push.
After joyously freewheeling downhill through Balloch, I was hit by a further wave of lethargy, leaving me wondering how I will cope with a 30-mile sprint after a 20-mile run when I can barely manage a one-hour ‘easy’ spin around Inverness.