Tom & SKT
You may get a bit of joshing for the slow speed and low milage you do but I am wondering if you have noticed something in your riding? First of all the distance is getting longer, secondly you are beginning to look for hills and thirdly- you are still enjoying it. Must be something in the air you have over there.
I am an EX-Mountain biker ( Well nearly EX but I want to road ride at present) and on those things the only thing to do is head for the hills.You try a 15% hill on a bike with too high a gearing and tyres that are not suitable. That was my first ride and it took me a long time before I conquered that hill. Believe it or not- that is the easy access to the top of the hill. The other climbs are steeper- trickier and longer. I learnt to climb hills. Then in 99 to 2001 I had a couple of medical problems that set me back but it did not stop me. Slowed me down a bit and I have to really train to get the fitness up to do the long rides that I used to do and still want to do.
Both you and SKT are reminding me of when I started- except you are a bit older. It might take you a bit longer to get the fitness that you need to do the longer rides or the higher milage- but I can tell you now, the pair of you are 3/4's there. Take out your hills and you will lose it- but keep plugging away- keep getting out on the bike and keep hitting those hills and it will come. Never know- I might need you in a couple of years to pull me up our 15% hills that I am trying to relearn.