Yesterday I was reminded why I've always worked so hard to keep as fit as I possibly can. I've loved all the races and challenge events I've done over the years, but they've always been the sweet dessert to the main course, which has been the simple freedom to be able to get out and enjoy the landscape to the full. I used to go off running on a nice day, without a plan, and come back 50 odd miles later. Now, in the summer at least, I do the same on the bike. It's just the most wonderful feeling to be presented with a beautiful day, get on the bike, and be fit enough to cycle up and down endless hills and return home 100 odd miles later. The best bit of all is the pleasure of laying waste to the contents of the fridge afterwards - in the knowledge that it's a necessity rather than an indulgence!
I mention this because of a comment from Kendall yesterday. I know not everyone is lucky enough to have experienced this kind of physical fitness, and I try not to take it for granted. I've been reminded many times how important it is to me when I've picked up injuries - and I've had a lot of those in my time. You tend not to truly appreciate what you've got until it's gone. So, at the moment, knowing that it will not last forever, I'm trying to make the most of this privilege of being in really good physical shape. But the same applies to other aspects of life too. I've never been able to play music or draw or paint. I can only imagine how amazing it must feel to be able to sit down and create a tune or a piece of art. Whatever talent it is you have, there is almost a kind of responsibility to the rest of us, to make use of it.
So I guess that's why, despite rather heavy legs, I cycled to and from work again today. Today's ride was for K, and a lot of other people here who for various reasons can't get out into the landscape quite as I can. Now you should go play some music, draw something, or write a poem for me!
You might recognise this crag, which appeared on the horizon of Chevin View last Friday. This shot was taken towards the top of the climb that goes straight up from my house to the Cow and Calf. It was a grey and misty start to the morning over Ilkley, but there was a sense that the sun was out to the east, illuminating the crags seen below this layer of low grey cloud. It was quite beautifully lit. At about 10 miles away it's pushing my camera to the limit, but it gives some sense of the drama.