Thursday, 31 December 2015

My cycling year in numbers

End of year stats! Mission acomplished, my target of 8000 miles was achieved with the last ride of 2015 on New Years Eve.

  • 8004.2 miles
  • 548.9 hours 
  • 100,374 metres climbed

  • 22 miles per day
  • 1.5 hours cycling per day
S-Works Stumpjumper Race Bike - 1557.2 miles
S-Works Stumpjumper Commuter - 2599.6 miles
Trek Madone Road Bike - 3620.8 miles

Jan 653.8
Feb 609.6
Mar 622.5
Apr 518.6
May 778.6
Jun 718.5
Jul 606.9
Aug 748.7
Sept 655.2
Oct 616
Nov 727.6
Dec 748.2


Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas Holiday

Merry Christmas!

After a couple of days of almost constant eating and drinking it was time to get out on the bike and make the most of the holiday and a rare appearance from the warm firey thing in the sky.

Alex from the South Downs Bikes store in Goring organised a trip to the North Downs. The Surrey Hills trails are prolific and far more technical than those nearer to home on the South Downs. Many are famous in UK mountain biking folk lore, such as 'Barry Knows Best' and 'Yoghurt Pots'.

It was a big social group so progress was slow, but it was great to be back out on the MTB. I've been on the road bike almost exclusively since October and had almost forgotten how much fun nailing a trail with a group of buddies can be! A Christmas treat to myself!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Final challenge of 2015

Freelance bike mechanic Bruce Berkeley is currently in Australia preparing to take on one of cycling’s oldest records. Over the 12 months of 1939 Tommy Godwin cycled an astonishing 75,065 miles. That is a mind boggling 205 miles a day – EVERY day!

In comparison my own annual goal of 8,000 miles seems fairly modest. However, if I want to spend time with my family AND hold down a 9 - 5 job, then averaging an hour and a half in the saddle each day is actually pretty challenging.

A 2 hour plus commute has formed the back bone of my annual mileage. Weekend off-road rides and races during the summer can sometimes be quite short, but training rides around the lanes in the winter ramp up the average.

Over the next year Bruce will be desperate to stay healthy and injury free. If he falls ill or has an accident it’ll be extremely hard to make up the deficit of a few days off the bike. Avoiding the accidents and hospital visits of previous years has helped me consistency rack up the miles in 2015. Only once during the year have I failed to chalk up at least 100miles from Monday to Sunday and even then, during my week away on holiday, I nipped out on a hire bike for a couple of early morning outings before the family woke up.

It was towards the end of September that I realised 8000 miles was a realistic goal. My previous best, last years 7178, was going to be easily eclipsed and I wanted a fresh target to aim for. Reaching my new objective was not going to be easy, 2100miles in 13 weeks was going to be tough. Especially with the introduction of the school run Monday to Wednesday reducing my commuting opportunities. I planned a schedule of 4 rides a week, which is the most I could reasonably hope to fit in. A 20 mile evening ride on Tuesday, two 38 mile commutes, Thursday and Friday, and a 50+ mile weekend ride.

I have stuck to this plan religiously, but heading out regardless of the gales and torrential rain, no matter how I’m feeling has been really tough. With limited opportunities to claw back any missed rides I've done well to limit my losses to around 60 miles. With exactly 2 weeks to go I am currently 402 miles short of the magic number. 

Its a personal goal and just a number, with little meaning in the grand scheme of things. My body is desperately screaming to take a week off and have some rest, but it has got to a point where I've got tunnel vision! I also feel it is now or never. My second child is on the way in February, I can’t see myself getting close to 8000 miles again for some time, possibly ever!

It is going to be a tall order, but while there is still a chance I’ll keep on cycling!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Nostalgic look back at 2015

Its December and time to settle back in front of a warm cosy fire and review the year that’s been and look forward to what 2016 will bring.
New bike in February
Back in February the year got off to an exciting start with a trip to Spain to pick up my new S-Works Stumpjumper. After my struggles trying to adjust to the Yeti ARC geometry last year, I immediately felt right at home on the Stumpy! I think I described it at the time as like pulling on your favourite slippers – it just felt instantly right!

There can be no doubt that the highlight and primary focus of the past 12 months was the National XC Championships. The technical challenge of the Hadleigh Olympic course added to the anticipation (and trepidation!) ahead of my first National Championship event. I really relished conquering my fears during two test days at the venue. Yes, I could have raced better on the day, but I didn’t take any risks and focused instead on making sure I finished. Having targeted the top 20, I was personally delighted to come away from Essex with 14th.
Deans Drop - Hadleigh
2015 was also the year I completed a life-long ambition to cycle the 100 miles of the South Downs Way. It was a great day, with good friends, that will live long in the memory. Plus, it’s a tick on the bucket list!

South Downs Way
Back on the race track there were top 10 finishes overall at the Brass Monkeys Winter series, 6th at the Summer Monkey in June and 10th at Brighton Big Dog. These marathon events suit my riding, and desire for a challenge.

It is always nice to stand on the podium, as it is something I don’t get to do very often. 3rd place at round 5 of the Southern XC Series is a sunny day I look back on extremely fondly. The fact I was racing Darren the entire race and stood on the 3rd step with friends and team mates around me, made it more special.
On the podium at the Southern XC
2015 will go down as my most enjoyable year as a cyclist. Yes, there were the races and personal challenges, but what I have really enjoyed is just getting out there and riding my bike. The dry weather allowed me to regularly commute home off-road  around Stansted House and over Kingley Vale. To demonstrate how often I did this, the road bike didn’t come out of the shed at all from April right through to September. Is there a better way to relax after a stressful day in the office than ripping deserted, dusty trails?

The best commute!
So, time to look ahead to 2016. At the moment I need glance no further than the 15th February, the date my wife is expecting our second child. I can’t wait! I’m no spring chicken and if I am honest 2015 has worn me out! I’m looking forward to taking time off with my family and not worrying about weekly mileage targets, specific events or training rides. 

2015 Stats as of 1st December
Races:          8
Top Ten:       6
Podium:        1
Wins:            0
Mileage:        7,256
Hours:           502