Up and down the North Downs.

Why go there and back, when you can go up and down?

I get bored by routine. Hence I tend to look for routes that differ slightly, week in, week out. Sometimes this is nothing more complicated than doing a normally clockwise route anticlockwise. Sometimes, however, one has to stray away from the easy choices in life. PP asked what we'd be doing on the Dad's Ride Out on Tuesday? "Up and down" came my terse reply. Naturally I'd not planned anything; there was no real route in my head. All I knew was that we'd ride up the North Downs, ride down it, then repeat the cycle all day long.

And so we did. And do you know what? It was really tiring, especially with this two-month long cold I've had.

And do you know what else? It wasn't boring. Short at 42km, it more than made up for this in the climbs. We climbed from the A25 valley floor to the top of the hills four times. Not sure as to the actual height gain, so I'll take a wild guess at shy of 1,000m. In the winter mud, in the winter cold.

What it was was cold. Two degrees C cold. All day.

Now I'm beginning to question my sanity these days. Why? Well my pack always weighs more when I return home, than when I set off. For one I can't resist trail side finds, but they are few and far between. Sometimes I'll pick up trail side trash if it is bike related - I've not had to buy an inner tube for years, thanks. My best score was four in one spot at Coed Llandegla, one of which didn't even have a puncture. I've found a few walking sticks here and there. This week I came back with jam. Not the cleverest thing to carry on my back. It must be an age thing. Can't resist a bargain though, especially where home made jam is concerned!

It was a good ride, and one that'd not be overly hard normally. It's perhaps equivalent to one third of the South Downs Way. The lingering cold / flu / general malaise didn't help. February doesn't bother me, being ill does.