The Internet keeps pushing adverts at me for t-shirts with 'mountain biking is cheaper than therapy – oh wait, no it isn't'.  Maybe the all-seeing eyes of Google have seen my calendar this week and worked out that with five major deadlines this week it must have been pretty stressful.  Indeed come Friday evening I sunk into my arm-chair with the feeling that there was no way I would have the energy to wake up and go cycling the next morning. Nevertheless, the next morning I was awake in time, so crawled out of bed in time to go out with the club. We set off along the dike as usual, with spectacular views of the sun shining through the mist that was still hanging over the floodplain as a heron swooped in front of us so close that I almost ducked. Once into the woods the mist was gone and it was springtime everywhere. All the trees were showing points of green at their buds, or even already burgeoning into leaf, woodpeckers were calling to each other and drilling out their nest holes and chaffinches with their bright breeding plumage were so busy chasing each other that they did not notice they were almost flying into us. And on top of that, we were out on our bikes in the woods! Despite the rain of the last week, it was not too soggy under our wheels and despite the sunshine we hardly saw any other people, at least until we were virtually back home again. Our route took us along plenty of twisty bits through heathland and woodland, where steering required some proper concentration, enough in the way of small hills to get us out of breath and even the nearby sand crater where the sides of loose sand are steep enough so that you really have to do your best to get up them. All in all, you cannot get a much better way of washing away the stress of the working week than that.


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