Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My Cycling Hopes for 2014

 Once again the bedrock of my cycling year will be to meet my Cycling Annuity Target  ( see http://thediaryofmybike.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/review-of-year.html for fuller explanation of this ) and cover 2100 km though , as last year, I would hope to exceed this and make 5000 km..

( As an aside it does occur to me, am I in danger of not making 80 years if my allotted total cycling distance is fixed and I am exceeding my annual target :-() )

Last year was dominated by preparing, competing in, and completing the inaugural London 100 and I have to confess that I really enjoyed following a structured daily training plan and pushing myself to new limits.
So this year I have decided on another challenge but it will be far less intensive than last year's effort.
Since reading about the adventures that people have had when touring I have decided to have a go myself. This year's challenge will be to ride Coast to Coast across Britain by the Reivers Route, a distance of about  280km. This time though I am doing it for me and not for any charity.

For the last few years I have also managed to find a cycling contact in a different part of the country and then persuade them to take me on a leisurely ride of about 100 km to explore their homeland. With luck I hope to do this again this coming year.

And so today I have been cleaning and maintaining my Mercian stable in readiness for my cycling adventures in 2014

Monday, December 9, 2013

Review of the Year - 2013

My 2012 Mercian Vincitore Special

First of all, a few basic statistics  because as anyone who reads my posts will know,  I love numbers

Total distance cycled = 6541 km
Total ascent climbed = 48006 m
Total energy burnt    = 144125 Calories
Total time in the saddle = 331 hours

which is pretty much the same as last year, though much of this year's cycling was done at a greatly increased intensity and pace; with the result that I have visited far, far less coffee shops.

But the statistics tell only part of the story, and perhaps a boring part at that.

The cycling year was centred around my challenge to ride with my son, as Team Roberts, in the inaugural Ride London 100 Mile Challenge. Given that I had never completed such a distance before and that it had to be completed in a set time to avoid being pulled from the event, this was all a very daunting challenge for me.

Despite some awful weather for the first 4 months of the year I kept to my training schedule and gradually got stronger and faster so that in the event I managed to complete the course in around 7 hours. This could not have been achieved without the great support I received from my friends, both new and old, in the cycling community. We used the event to promote and support the mental health charity Mind and raised almost £3000 for their cause. Much of this came from offering a Cycling Food on the Go Recipe booklet which contain favourite recipes complete with stories as to why they were special. These were freely given by a peloton of lady cyclists from across the world.  A big thanks to you all.

Each year I attempt to visit a new part of the country and explore it by bike. This year a new friend invited me to Rutland to explore its beauty. It was a boiling hot day and I ran out of both food and liquid after about 30 km of a 100 km ride. I will be eternally grateful to Kevin for looking after me, towing me along and even volunteering to park me whist he got a broom wagon to take me to the finish. I refused that offer and suffered but I learnt never to go out without sufficient supplies again.

My other aim this year was to take a series of  mono photographs to try and capture the essence of my cycling year and to act as a reminder in years to come. I have taken many images, but the aim was to distil it down to a panel of six, and here they are :-

The whole cycling year has been aimed at completing the challenge of riding the inaugraul London 100 with my son

The year got off to a very cold and snowy start. This is a picture of Cycle Route N68,  a track close to my home and at the beginning of my winter rides

With the weather continuing to remain foul and my fitness still at a low ebb for such an arduous challenge, I soon started to feel the pressure.

When the weather did at last begin to relent it was time to bring out the Mercian Vincitore and treat it to a set of Go-Faster wheels, marginal gains and all that.

During the months of Spring and early Summer, my distances and continuous time in the saddle increased, but occasionally I succumbed to that temptation of all OAP Cyclists, the Tea Shop.

And this shows that I did eventually make it.  In the event it was 164 km and I managed to get round in 7 hours.

And that is it for 2013.

The next post will lay out my hopes and ambitions for 2014