bikebritain News January 29, 2014

Looking forward to the rest of 2014

Whatever your past, you have a spotless future” Sign in shop window, Dartmouth, 31st December 2013

Since it’s more half way through January, it seems I’ve somewhat missed the boat reviewing 2013 from a cycling perspective. Instead I will briefly recap what happened during last year and focus on what bikebritain will be focussed on for the rest of this year. 

Despite everything, 2013 was a good year for cycling, at least from a distance and achievement point of view. This was mainly because my commute to work significantly increased from April onwards. Since 2011 I have religiously been using @cyclemeter to record my physical activities so I retain a measure of my performance over time. I rode 5200 km in 118 instances, climbed over 55000 meters and burned around 18300 calories in the process. (Just as well). This was almost 1000 km more than in 2012. I also rode a number of Sportives in 2013. The scoring science project is below. 

Category

Wiggle’s Mega Meon

SRS Events Brighton to Brighton

Wiggle’s New Forest Sportive

Wiggle’s South Downs Sportive

Website info

10

8

10

10

Event venue (Cap Parking, Toilets)

8

7

9

7

Sign in process

9

8

10

8

Event road signage (Directions and Warnings)

10

8

10

10

Route quality (Difficulty, Interest, Choices)

10

8

9

8

Food quality at rest

7

9

7

7

Ride Support (Mechanic Availability, Sag Waggon, Outriders)

8

8

8

8

Event product Testing

7

5

9

7

Freebies

8

9

8

8

Timing Post Event (accuracy)

8

10

8

8

Participant Friendliness

8

9

9

8

Ride-It-Again-Ability

9

8

10

7

Overall Value for Money

9

8

10

8

Total

85.3%

80.7%

90%

80%

The criteria is subjective, but having calibrated the scores, I believe the result is a fair reflection of my experiences. The Sportive highlight of 2013 was the New Forest ride, without any hesitation.  Blessed with unbelievably good weather, a beautiful route and my fastest time for completing 160 km (5 hours 48 minutes), it was a great days cycling. It was so good in fact, I’ve already signed up for riding both days during the Spring event being held in the New Forest in April. Certainly I think the South Downs event suffered from being organised in close geographical proximity to ‘The Long One’ (Fontwell) and the Mega Meon (Waterlooville). There was, however, a fair amount of road ‘crossover’ and as a consequence the South Downs ride, for me, lost some of its identity. The weather was not great either. 

I managed to shoe-horn two cycling tours to Mallorca as well, one in May and the other at the end of November.  I cycled on my own in May and although I was in a ‘foreign place’ I felt very much at home. I achieved my objective; to ride up the Coll de Soller, Puig Major and Sa Calobra in one day. It was a very challenging day in the saddle but probably ranks as my best accomplishment on a bike. It was a gutsy, energy sapping day. I remember the final climb up to Orient where I was staying seemed to go on forever. Legs where finished by then. I slept well that night. The November tour was more social and fun in a different way. Frank joined Lukey and I as we returned to the Galeon Suites at Port de Pollenca for 3 ½ days cycling. The weather was unseasonably cold with snow covering the mountain peaks in the Tramuntana. It is also fair to say we didn’t plan our kit appropriately. Frank was already planned a return visit and as for me……well we’ll come to that. We managed to find a few new places to cycle to and from and some crazy climbs to conquer. We are not finished there yet. I say that every time. 

So what’s planned for 2014? 

I’ve made a list. Here goes:-

1. Ride more Sportives. I managed 6 in 2013 and I plan to ride 10 this year. At least 2 need to be MTB events. There’s a wiggle MTB ride being held in Arundal in March that looks fun – and quite muddy. Frank is already talking about riding the MTB London to Brighton that he did last year again. That sounds fun too. 

2. Ride 160 km more often. This objective is formed or 2 parts.

a. In 2012 after a few years ‘absence’ I rode 160 km. Last year I managed 160 km 3 times and took about 8 minutes off my fastest time during the New Forest Sportive. For 2014, I want to ride that distance at least 5 times.

b. I also want to break my distance record which is currently 200 km. I don’t have a specific distance I want to achieve, maybe 240 km since that would equate to 150 miles. That feels like a challenging but achievable increment.

3. Achieve the level of competency required to race in a Velodrome. I was given a day session, complete with one to one tuition at Calshott Velodrome in Hampshire by my partner Emma last year and I have yet to attend the course. Assuming I do ok, the net result will be a licence that allows me to compete in a race. Precisely what my competitive nature doesn’t need!

4. In all likelihood I will be made redundant at the end of March. I don’t yet have another job lined up. I hope I’ll be able to find something appropriate. I feel optimistic now – if I’m still jobless in September, my tune will be different for sure. The point is I will almost certainly have some spare time on my hands. Anyone who knows me knows there’s no such thing as spare time and I shall be using it to get as fit as possible as well as seeing as much of my son as possible. As a consequence, I am planning to stay in Mallorca (where else?) for a semi-extended period of time – maybe 4 weeks. A major element of this will be about the bike. Having unpressured time to cycle wherever I like around the island will be a privilege I will make the absolute most of. This will also allow me to spend some time on bikebritain and plan what I’m going to do with the project going forward.

5. Not humiliate myself in a time trial. I have been entered in a Dare2Be event being organised during the Yorkshire Festival of Cycling is on. No pressure then………

6. I joined Cycle Oregon in 2008 and 2011. If symmetry is to be adhered to, I’m due to participate again this year. There’s every chance I can convince Swazy, Malc and Lukey to join me, but logistics may yet get in the way. Regardless, I would anticipate a US cycling tour of some description will be on the cards, whether it be CO, Ride the Rockies or Cycle Virginia…..

7. Complete the BHF London to Brighton in June. It been at least 5 years, maybe more, since I rode in the London to Brighton bike ride. I have been given an opportunity to ride in this year’s event, courtesy of a free place in a team of ten. I might cycle up there and save myself the bother of bus/truck scenario at 03.00 in the morning…….

8. 2013 was the first year I didn’t do anything specific for charity. 2014 will be different. I committed to ride for @JJack100 (and @alljoinjack) at the end of August. Last year the charity raised over £100K. This year it hopes to raise £250K by getting 1000 riders to ride either 100 km or 100 miles. I’m in. 

9.  My penultimate objective needs a significant amount of organisation but is potentially one of the most exciting bikebritain activities. Given that staging a cycle tour remains the ultimate aim of bikebritain, a one day charity ride near Bristol (on behalf of the regional air ambulance) is the target for 2014. More details to follow. 

10. And last but absolutely not least, work with my son so he properly masters a bike with pedals. He does a good job on his balance bike zooming to the shops, but he has a little way to go before he can ride his big boy bike comfortably.

It won’t be all about the road bike. I have yet to post a full review, but at the end of last year I purchased a mountain bike from www.wiggle.co.uk. It was a bargain, a Charge Hi-Cooker, 29er. It’s a big beast, front sus, SRAM gearset. I managed to snap the chain link on its first outing over Christmas on the South Downs way. In 2014 I will be varying my cycling regime and concentrate on quality rather than mileage for numbers sake. Indeed my overall fitness regime will become more varied – I’ve already run more in 2014 than I did in the whole of 2013. However, Mo Farah need not worry.

So there you have it – it will be a busy, active and positive year. With only 11/12ths of the year left I had better get on with it. Finally, bikebritain is 5 years old this year. I might have party to celebrate.

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