I seem to have entirely forgotten about the end of July, falling as it did straight after a holiday and during a busy week. The start of August feels like the end of the summer rather than the beginning – James back to the US, back to work after holiday, and a turn in the weather to grey skies and a chill in the air.
In July I spent one weekend at my mum’s, so we could cycle around the Isle of Wight, and 9 days travelling round Northern Spain staying in Bilbao, Potes, Posada de Valdeon, Boca de Huérgano, Cangas de Onís and finally San Sebastian!!
The most popular photos on my Instagram were:
2. Our bike set up for 6 days of bike packing around the Picos de Europa
3. The best cycling fuel before a 50km downhill day
4. A gorgeous hike up the Cares Gorge in the Picos
Not much actual training happened but a lot of cycling happened!!
Swimming: a grand total of 3 swims and a total distance of 3440m. The most distance I have swum in one month all year!
Cycling: 714.4km – 443 miles! I think that’s the most I’ve ever cycled in a month. A cycling touring holiday will do that for you 😀
Running: 94km (58.5 miles). Pretty much the same as last month, just ticking along.
Favourite cycle: has to be from my cycle holiday in the north of Spain. One particular day, we began with 20km along the side of a beautiful lake. There was a horrible headwind but I hid behind James and we just went slowly so it wasn’t that big a deal. We had been worried we would face a horrible climb but reached the top much sooner than expected. From there it was 50km downhill on wide, winding roads, along the side of a gorge. We stopped at the first village for lunch – the plate of cheese pictured above. It was just a perfect cycle.
Dark Circle by Linda Grant: set in post-war Britain, it tells the story of East London born, street smart twins who contact tuberculosis and are sent off to a sanatorium, newly opened to NHS patients. It’s about their recovery, treatment, and class in post-war Britain.
All the good things by Clare Fisher: I really enjoyed this book, told by a young girl in prison. Each chapter is centered around one good thing that happened to get in her life, and through that chapters we grow up with her and eventually find out why she ended up in prison (although I had guessed already).
The bricks that built the house by Kate Tempest: Tempest is primarily a poet and spoken-word artist and I felt this really came across in this novel with its lyrical use of language. Set in modern London, but a very different London than my London, with drugs everywhere and the threat of violence just around the corner.
Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski: an American classic, I read this in one day in the sun in San Sebastian. A young man growing up, from a poor family, obsessed with sex and violence, it reminded me of a more explicit version of Catcher in the Rye.
My best moment in July: one day on holiday, we woke up and cycled up to the Lagos de Covadonga, one of the toughest Spanish climbs. Back down, we loaded up our bikes and headed off to our next hotel, a mere 14km away. But it turned out that 5km of those 14 were practically vertically uphill (which I guess I should have realised when picking the hotel given one of the best things about it was the view!). It was ridiculously hot by this time as well. I finally arrived at the hotel – a very nice one that I had booked for one night as a treat – to be offered a glass of ice cold water and a seat. My bags were taken off my bike and it was wheeled away to be stored somewhere safe. I then spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool reading. Perfect!!!
Reading: 4321 by Paul Auster. Every year I read the entire Booker longlist and I am already 5 books into this year’s list.
Watching: I LOVED the Handmaids Tale this summer. I have always loved the book since studying it at A Level and really enjoyed the adaptation. I’m looking forward to the next series, although interested to see how they do it given they will be going beyond the storyline in the book.
Enjoying: not much so far in August to be honest! It really feels as if the summer is over and it’s a bit rubbish.
Looking forward to: a couple of good weekends away – seeing my sister in Falmouth and climbing the 3 peaks for the bank holiday at the end of the month.