Or slow and steady wins the race. I remember, while drooling over Richard Gere in ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ (well, a girl has to, doesn’t she?), that poor old Seeger couldn’t climb up a rope and over a wall in an obstacle course. She tried her best at the start, but female muscles are not usually built for that kind of punishment.

As I entered my sixties three years ago I took a leaf out of Seeger’s book, and although climbing up a rope is out of the question, I began to try and get fitter. I started cycling, a couple of miles almost every day. At first my quad muscles complained constantly, and I couldn’t cycle for very long. Hills were a complete no-no, and I laboured along, breathless, like an old dray horse. However, after a few months the quads hardened up a bit, and I could say the odd word to Sam as I cycled along.

After a year or so I wasn’t so breathless. There is an incline about a mile away from us (people on the Isle of Wight would laugh if I said it was a hill) that I’d never fancied cycling up before, always managing to ride the other way around so that I breezed downhill. One day I decided it was time to tackle the hill. Here I am at the bottom of it…

You’ve got to get up that hill, Stevie…

The first time I tried to cycle up it, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I had to keep on stopping as it felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. The quads started complaining again, and I was breathless after only a few minutes. I got off the bike and walked up the last bit. Sam, riding behind, said he could hear me gasping for air, and he seemed quite concerned.

Nevertheless, I persevered. After two years of cycling I managed to cycle up the hill without getting off the bike, although I still had to stop at least once. Sam then told me it would be easier if I stood up and pedalled up the hill in a higher gear. He demonstrated with the ease of a mountain goat (bastard). I laughed at the thought of it.

Nevertheless, I persevered. I tried to stand up and managed only a couple of revolutions of the pedals. Standing up was more than difficult, it was impossible. I tried standing up when going up an incline that was less steep, and to my surprise I could manage more than two revolutions. Slowly I built up to 5, then 10, then 15 and eventually more than 50 revolutions over the course of about 6 months. I still couldn’t get up the original hill though if I stood up, but it had become much easier to cycle up and I didn’t need to stop.

Last Saturday was not only the first of the month, it was the first day I managed to cycle up that bloody hill standing up all the way. Seeger managed to get over the wall eventually too, with Richard Gere shouting encouragement at her. It had only taken me 3 years to be able to do it, and although I was breathless, I didn’t feel as though I was going to end up in the Cardiac ward. Here’s a view from the top of it…

The next challenge is the hill at Puckpool, IOW, that goes up from the Lifeboat station to the park. Now that’s a hill! I have to stop once or twice at the moment, but I can’t stand up on the bike as yet. Perhaps by the time I’m 70 I’ll be able to do it!