After participating in two and a half months of what I can only describe as felony-grade nacho abuse, I have recently been immensely pleased to discover that I am, in fact, much more fit now than I was six months ago. Apparently the progress made over three months of carrying a backpack, walking, hiking, climbing, swimming, playing, jumping, diving, cartwheeling and being indoors only while sleeping cannot be entirely undone by two months of binge eating, bonding with Morpheus*, binge drinking, road-tripping or the consumption of SIX seasons of How I Met Your Mother.
I fixed up Rae this weekend (changing a flat and giving her a much needed scrub down to remove the cobwebs, dirt and slugs that built up in my absence) and I have been amazed at how much easier riding is now compared to February. When I arrived in Utah, freshly back from a month of all-day-every-day hiking, I noticed a significant difference in my fitness. Suddenly I found myself on my bike at the tops of hills I never would have even thought about going up before. And not only at the top of them but at the top of them without being out of breath or wanting to die. In fact, I felt more energized and excited to keep going.
What I did not expect, however, was that after a not-so-brief stint of laziness and excess in the States I would find the same thing happening in London. I am currently staying at the top of a big hill but it's been noticeably easier to get back here after a long night out than it ever was before. For the last two years I have had several markers along Shoot Up Hill to see if my abilities were improving - willing myself to just get to the first tree, the bus stop, the street sign. Now I get to the top without having to coach myself at all. I'm riding faster and stronger than I ever did before, all as a result of no purposeful training whatsoever. The only change in my life was going from a desk job and studying to walking around all day every day - often while carrying a backpack....or a pina colada. I guess it just goes to show that being even a little more active every single day does really add up after all.
*for the uninitiated, Morpheus is the obscenely seductive sofa who lives at my parents' house. He will suck you down the rabbit hole faster than you can say, "why oh why didn't I take the blue pill."