Weeks 27 & 28 – A Tale of Two Weeks

In which I Cycle 299k, Run 6k and Swim 0.9k

and one in which I Cycle 314k, Run 20k and Swim 0.3k

In week 27 I was a working guest at Chithurst Forest Monastery near Midhurst in Sussex – a community of Buddhist monks practising in the Thai tradition. Their day begins with a meditation sitting at 5am which, as workers, we were mercifully exempted from. We started with breakfast at 7am at a hut in the forest near to where we were camped – my tent was a little away from the others as I like to sit quietly on my own with a fire sometimes. Work begins at 8.30 and mostly involves the clearing of invasive species. Lunch is at noon and no further food is permitted for the rest of the day (weirdly, non-dairy chocolate does not count). There follows another 2-3 hours of work, drinking of tea and an evening meditation sitting of some 45 minutes before yet more tea and then sleep when darkness comes. A simple but tiring routine that didn’t leave me too much time or vim for my 11,100 project. I would mostly take my bike for short runs in the little intervals of free-time that were left and, on a sunny day, swim illicitly in the monastery lake. I took the chance of having a run-free period to see if it helped my hip to stop nagging.

My home for a week

Week 28 I was mostly back at home trying to keep on top of the demanding cycling schedule (about 2 hours a day at the moment) and to ease myself back into running. Now that the year is well over half-gone, every missed day is starting to escalate the daily target quite significantly – at the start of the year a day of missed cycling added a mere 60 metres to the daily target; now it is over 200. On the plus side, exceeding my requirement has a correspondingly large effect on the future target – a 6k run reduces the daily requirement now by around a whopping 25 metres. Persistent cycling is paying off – my first 1,000 km took 95 days, the second 47 days, the third 32 days and the fourth and latest 1,000k tranche only 22 days. I wonder now what I could have been playing at at the beginning of the year – a little more effort then would certainly have spread the load.


Thursday 2nd June. Remorseless  heat, and I’m feeling it. Tentatively went for a 4k run before the full heat of the day kicked in – my hip protested a little afterwards but I think I got away with it. A busy day doing nothing – errands, researches, housework – in which I had to force myself to cycle up to my current daily target of 36k. Interviewing for a new housemate in the evening, followed by a desperate, late-night 4k by bike to keep on top of my target.

Friday. A 2k morning run, then off to deepest Sussex to stay at a friend’s house near the monastery. A train to Richmond, then the Arun and Wey Canal to Godalming, and the last 20 miles on road – 98k of cycling with a short swim (200m) en route.

Wild swimming in the canal/navigation

Saturday. Arrived at Chithurst Monastery for an introductory day to the working week and made camp in the woods. Cycled some leafy lanes (39k) and took a dip in the lily-choked monastery lake (400m).

Sunday. Work begins – destroying the invasive Himalayan Balsam. Managed a bike run of 22k in my leisure hours and another 300m dip in the lake.

Monday. A half-day which left me time for 43k of exploring the local lanes by bike.

Tuesday. A full day of balsam-bashing in which I could only fit in 23k of cycling.

Wednesday. Another half-day with a guided walk in the afternoon and time for 34k on the bike.

Thursday 9th July. A final day of hard work – pulling up birch in the broiling sun before a 300m swim in the lake and some 23k of country-lane cycling.

Friday. Home by bike – via my friend Tony’s place and the long and hilly road through Haslemere, Godalming and Leatherhead. Made for the Thames at Kingston and followed it to Richmond, catching a train home from there. 93k on the odometer.

On the way – preparing for Cornwall and Devon

Saturday. The Wireless festival in Finsbury Park is over and Parkrun is back. Over a week since I last ran, to give my hip a rest and still a little fagged from all yesterday’s cycling. On top of it all, it’s a wonderful but sweltering morning already at 9 o’clock. I took it fairly easy and was surprised to be only 3 seconds outside my personal best – the cycling must have been good training. Craving indolence, I also forced myself to clock up the current daily requirement of 36k cycling.


Sunday. Finally a break in the fine weather and some rain. Felt really rather exhausted – I forced myself to churn out 37k riding in circles around the Arsenal stadium but would much rather not have had the bother.

Monday. More drab weather, pointless cycling (39k) and a 6k run. No niggles from my dodgy hip – so far, so good.

Tuesday. Twenty miles in the park takes me past the 4,000km mark (40%). :). 49k altogether in the day and a 3k run in the evening.

Wednesday. The showery weather persists. Biked to King’s Cross to book my rail tickets back from Scotland, and then to the park for a 6k run about which my gamey hip had a moan afterwards. An hour’s ride in the evening filled out my current daily quota with 37k for the day..


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