Looking back and then forward – where next on my bike?

15 12 2010

Those of you that follow either myself or Rachel on Twitter and or face-book, or if you happen to know us real life will know that that last couple of months have been a little bit…well distracting. We had a death in the family, news of a new  baby, concussion, dodgy knees, very persistent colds, birthdays, house packing, the mother in laws fart leaving, job applications, edits, sick bikes, and snow. OK so most peolpe have also had to deal with a lot of those things too but it’s left little time for much else, cycling included. So in order to fight the guilt monkeys sitting on my shoulder I’ve found myself thinking back over the year to reflect on what I’ve achieved in order to focus my mind on the year to come and get all excited by it.

What sticks in my cycling mind from last year?

  • Riding every Tuesday night from November 2009 to late April with Rich, no matter what the weather
  • An early March 200km Audax round the Forest of Dean with Rich
  • A sub 12 hour 300km in late March
  • Riding the Elenth with Rich during Early April. 300km in to Wales and back where I decided riding fixed is not always a good idea!
  • Absolutely punishing myself on the HONC, losing my water bottle and blowing up with horrendous cramp
  • Not riding the South Downs Double but riding 400km to Kent on the fixie to see my mum instead
  • Not starting the Brian Chapman memorial as I could not be arsed with riding 600km that weekend
  • Being on the bike in Kent after midnight in the worst rain I have ever cycled in. What a fantastic night on the bike!
  • Following the 2010 Tour Divide and making a promise with Rach to ride it within 2 years!
  • Achieved my goal of not riding during the night on the Mille Cymru 1000km and realising that Wales is flat, when your not going up a hill
  • A 24 minute, 10 mile time trail on my touring/cross bike
  • 3 days of Trans Pennine bikehiking with Simon
  • Punctures on the South Downs Double attempt, I really do still kick myself about that!
  • A short and very poorly planned tour with Rach, and my first visit to Dorset
  • My first time to the Brecon Beacons on the mtb

All in all a year of good cycling memories, but one that was again seriously lacking in off-road miles.

Given those memories I’ve been musing on next year. I did have an initial idea, an un-supported off-road Lands-end to John O’groats attempt to follow in the footsteps of Rob Lee. But Rach and I are about to move house and I just don’t have the kit or the funds required to do that ride, so it will have to wait for now. However, I really want to spend more time off-road and I have some unfinished business that should keep me busy next year.

First up is the South Downs Double.  Seems that another rider has become the 12th person to ride the double in under 24hours but I hope to avoid all the bad luck of my last attempt and add myself to the hall of fame during mid April. I also feel the need to race and finish a 24 solo event. Now I have gone on record for saying that I find going round and round in circles for a day just a little bit boring, but hey I need to give it another go.  I’ve have tentatively penciled in the 24 hours of exposure on the 7th May. I’d better get my entry in for that one soon. Next up is a ride I’ve wanted to do for a while, the Trans Cambrian Way, 100 miles across the middle of Wales. So in true spirit I intend to ride that as a double. I’m thinking of late July for that one as I need to go and ride it during June before I try and put down a good time in July.  And then there is the Keilder 100 in September which I’ve been delaying riding whilst waiting for the right bike. No point waiting any longer, the right bike is not going to happen this year so I might as well just get on and ride it! I need to think about what to do after September but I’m open to ideas.

So a good list of off-road challenges but it seems that I’ve also been sorted out with a Lands-end to John O’groats ride next year. Not off-road as planned but on the road as an embedded rider on the Action Medical Research ride at the end of May. This will be a very different ride to what I’m used too but I’m sure it will be fun, just hope that April and May don’t end up being too much for my poor legs. Rach also want’s to ride the Dunwich Dynamo which is a 200km night ride from London to the Coast at Dunwich which should be a lot of fun. And of course in and among those other rides there will be a steady flow of Audax. The plan is to ride at least 200km every calendar month for 12 months to collect a Round the Year Award, which I think might prove harder to do than it sounds. I hope this challenge will give me something to focus on next Autumn and early winter I would nearly of finished.

One ride I shall not be doing this year is the Paris-Brest-Paris. This is the classic French 1400km road race. I want to get off the road and in to the countryside and signing up for this event would prove a distraction from that goal. And anyway, the PBP is not going anywhere, so I might do it in 2015 for my 40th Birthday.

I think I’ve a nice year lined up where I get to try some new challenges and with any luck I will get to meet some other cyclists here and there. And it’s all going to start’s with the Rapha Festive 500 challenge (riding 500km between 23rd and 30th December) which should give me a nice distraction among the moving house craziness that will be Christmas 2010. Watch this space for my Festive 500 short.





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