7179 : Miles ridden
478 : Hours in the saddle
10 : Races
6: Top 10's
2 : Podiums
0 : Wins
First Gorrick Podium
Crash at Dunsfold 4th Cat Road Race
Sunny Good Friday blast through Porridgepot and other Gorrick classics with Matt Craner and the crew.
2014 has been an enjoyable, rewarding and successful year of racing, with podiums and consistent top 10 finishes. Things started positively in January when 9th at the final round of the Brass Monkeys secured 5th place overall in the four race series. Even better, Spring heralded my first podium finish since 2012 and first ever at a Gorrick event after 11 years and nearly 50 attempts. There was another strong top 10 result at the Kawasaki Enduro in May before my season hit a bit of a speed bump.
My first (and quite probably last) foray into the world of road racing ended in a South London hospital ward. It had started well, as I enjoyed the experience of racing in a large peloton on a warm, sunny, evening. With the line insight we opened up for the final sprint and at 30mph the rider in front of me unclipped and nose dived to the floor. His cart wheeling bike bringing me and several others hurtling to the ground. Six months after my slide along the asphalt, cheek bones have healed and luckily I still have both my ears, but the scars are still visible.
Missing the bulk of the summer races, including the nationals, was frustrating but provided me with an opportunity to just get out and ride. Evenings after work were spent under blue skies on the green South Downs, enjoying the glorious dry trails. When finally it was time to start training again, the dry weather meant I could pile on the miles commuting to work. This was lucky because my fitness was shocking; numerous times I was left trailing off the back of a social group ride. However, as I racked up the miles the weight dropped off and strength returned to my legs.
My return to racing in the Autumn started just as the Spring had finished, with another podium at a Gorrick cross country event. Despite another week in hospital during October I was back in time to finish 7th in the Masters Plus category at the final XC race of the year.
Unlike last year I had very few long rides under my belt going into the winter endurance races so a series best of 8th in atrocious conditions at the first round of the Brass Monkeys series was a personal triumph.
I’ve really enjoyed my cycling in 2014, the uncompetitive summer was frustrating but it was nice to forget about racing for a bit and revel in the simple enjoyment of leaving the house and exploring the local trails. Competitively it was rewarding to get back on the podium and I was generally pleased with my performances, since I’m not getting any younger! (Only two years away from the Vets category now!)
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my readers!