By: Blonde Two
Last Sunday was a busy day for this Blonde with far too much work in it and nowhere near enough time drinking coffee, reading the paper or going for a walk. Mr Blonde Two and I did escape to Dartmoor for a very brief moment of contour training before Dartmoor closed. Well to be truthful, Dartmoor wasn’t about to close but it was getting dark and the coffee shop had a time schedule.
We went to Haytor, which is a very unusual occurrence for either Blonde. Haytor is usually only on our visit list when we get snowed off the rest of the moor. What was even more unusual was that we walked right up to it. I have mentioned before that I am a bit of a snob about going to the “tourist” bits of Dartmoor. This snobbism, I have decided recently, is a really silly habit and I need to change it. The very reason that the tourists like the “tourist” bits is that they are really beautiful. Haytor certainly holds true to this. Although a bit near to the road for my liking (also a bit too straight up a hill), it is a majestic piece of granite and you can get there without crossing any bogs, climbing any stiles or balancing on any tussocks. I believe the National Park come out and mow the grass around Haytor with one of those hand-push mowers.
Anyway, Mr Blonde Two does a lot of cycling and is approximately one million times fitter than me. This makes him a good person for me to walk up a hill with because, unlike when I am with Blonde One, I feel that I have something to prove to him. I was determined to reach the top without stopping (last count was three stops which was truly rubbish). I was getting slower and slower when Mr Blonde Two asked me which gear I was in – cyclists can be bit one-track minded (unlike Dartmoor Blondes)! I discovered that thinking about the hill like this was a good strategy. I was going quite slowly but still reckoned that I had two more lower gears to go. I gave him the numbers as our climb continued (pitiful level of fitness on display here). “Three”, “Two”, “Three”, “Two”, “One”, I panted out as we neared the top.
The good news is that I didn’t stop until we touched the rock. I did have to engage “Bottom Gear” though which was interesting because, at the same time, I did actually engage my bottom. I don’t know if anyone else has ever noticed that you can swap between sets of muscles when walking up a hill. For me, when a hill gets too steep, I disengage the vastus lateralis and engage the gluteal muscles (I am really not sure I have got that right – I may have just fallen over). I can tell afterwards if a day has had a steep hill in it because my gluteal muscles ache as I sit on the sofa eating crisps (sad addiction)!