WOULD it be an exaggeration to say the strength and conditioning training I’ve been doing at Paragon saved my life last week?

It might sound melodramatic, but when I was caught out by the bonkers April weather on a cycle trip, I was certainly glad to have some extra stamina to see me through to the other side.

Six friends and I were on the first day of a three day cycling tour around the Scottish Borders and Northumberland when the weather closed in.

The rolling hills made the route challenging enough, but an hour in, torrential rain hit and the wind got up.

The rain gradually turned to sleet, and despite our layers of clothing and waterproofs, we were soon soaked through and very cold.

Then the snow began to fall.

We had covered getting on for 40 miles but we were still about three miles from the nearest town, and eight from our accommodation for the night when it really started coming down.

I’m no great cyclist – far from it – but I’m okay on the hills and can usually just get my head down and keep pedalling.

But this was something else. A combination of the terrain, wind and snow made it a torturous last few miles, but I think knowing I had core strength to fall back on from the last nine weeks of training with Stephen McLean at Darlington’s Paragon gym gave me that bit of confidence that I would be able to keep going.

In the end we made it into Alnwick in almost white-out conditions, and took refuge in a supermarket while we worked out how to get us and our bikes the last five miles to Alnmouth where we were staying.

By this point, most of us were shivering uncontrollably and largely incapable of making rational decisions. Google tells me these are the symptoms of mild hypothermia.

In the end, we asked a removals man doing his shopping for help, and he drove us and our bikes to our accommodation, where hot drinks, hot showers and dry clothes helped us to recover.

I suppose the moral of the story is always have a back-up vehicle (this was the first time we didn’t, and it will be the last).

The training I’ve been doing has largely been geared towards performance on the hockey pitch, but it certainly felt like it added plenty of extra stamina which meant this particular event didn’t turn out quite as disastrously as it could have done.