Tuesday, 7 January 2014

2014, New Year means new year's resolutions

Week 1

My first ever resolution
Yet again after a massive hiatus from blogging and with revitalised enthusiasm i have reluctantly made a new year's resolution. I have never been a fan of them in the past, having always felt that if you want to make a change then you should just make the change, for those that say they'll give up smoking at the end of "this packet" it should be a case of just throw them in the bin now, having said all that with such a disjointed and haphazard back end of 2013 with not much cycling, a bit of bike building and lots of selling of old dis-guarded bike bits, the new year felt like the right time to start a fresh, so my new years resolution is just to start blogging again.

A Precis of 2013
Last year was a pretty big a varied year for my relationship with all things cycling,it started with the excitement of building my very own road/audax bike from scratch the promise of completing London-Edinburgh-London 1400k audax and the hope of riding the length of the Isle of Man offroad in the Manx End2End with lots of adventures before, during and after.

The reality was somewhat different. I did indeed build my bike with disappointing results in some aspects such and scrap forks, i bailed out of doing LEL as the training was taking over my life my custom frame then broke, i did cycle the length of the Isle of Man, I wont be doing it again and i returned home with a bent mountain bike frame. These were the bigger moments i remember. 

Other more positive moments were lots of trips to swinley forest trail centre on my newly built up single speed mountain bike, some great audaxes, mostly with my buddy Tim including a really fast 300 which i absolutely loved, 2 long distance night rides and i managed to pre-register for L'Eroica Brittania 2014 (more of that another time). Started to commute more regularly by bike. 
Snagged a bargain cyclocross to keep me on the road. With the single speed off-roader sold i built another mountain bike using a reynolds 853 tubing frame and rebuilt my custom bike around a cyclocross frame while the DIY frame is off for repair. All in all, not a bad year.

The future is Bright the future is Orange
Looking forward to 2014, i don't have any real overall goals, i think that what i have learnt about myself from the last year is not to set big goals too far in advance as for me disappointment is worse than the jubilance of success and i change direction on what i want and want to do too frequently, so this year i will try and be more free to go with the ebb and flow of where my cycling fancies take me.
With that said i do already plan to do a couple of 200k audaxes which involve getting on ferries part way through the rides, to go to the peak district for L'Eroica Britannia having built an age appropriate road bike, watch the Tour De France "Grand Depart" and maybe do coast to coast offroad....oh and a 600k....We'll see.

Back to the here and now
This year has already kicked off with a great start though, having bailed on a more than one occasion to cycle with my buddy Tim, despite my chest infection man flu cold thing and having hardly ridden my bike in the last couple of months on Saturday the 5th of Jan i completed Mr Pickwick's January Sale 200K audax. The route can be seen below......

This was a black sheep audax  which as per usual started from The Royal Hop Pole pub in Tewkesbury but until my buddy Tim had found us a cheaky free car park space. We had opted to start at 8:00am instead of the normal 7:00am as the weather looked particularly bad at that time and indeed it paid dividends and we set off in the dry where as those who set off at 7 would have got an absolutely soaking. It had been quite a while since myself and timbo had got met up for a bike ride and a natter and as usual much nonsense was spoken, we were being closely followed by a couple of other entrants, I can't imagine what they must have thought of us and our choice of conversation topics. It turned out that Tim had met on eof them many times before, the most significant detail I remember was that he had to bail out of LEL 2013 because he hit a badger and smashed his bike and had to take a trip to the hospital, I know its wrong but this did make me giggle whenever I thought of it and I re-enacted the crash in my head many times CSI stylee wondering how it might have played out.
The conditions on the road it had to be said were wet wet wet, Tewkesbury, I know it is known for its floods and the roads on this ride lived up to its reputation, at times we were riding through long flooded sections with the water up to 8 or 10 inches deep, no big deal for us but more than a little perturbing for some of the motorists we saw. although the water on the roads didn't really hamper our progress it did dampen it, despite our waterproof clobber the lack of decent mudguards meant our feet were getting an absolute deluge every time we went through a puddle. Combined with the drop in temperature, the comfort of our feet was the main topic of conversation for most of the day, as much as I wanted to be as smug as I had on other wet rides, my feet were on this occasion definitely not dry or warm.
The miles and the controls came and went reasonably uneventfully until we were looking towards the 150k ish control, having not ridden much for the last couple of months, I was certainly suffering and the hills were kicking in big time. we'd got the worst hill out the way at around the 120k mark which I did actually strangely enjoy but it did some damage to my out of practice knees for sure. after this it felt like hill after hill and as we did get to the 150k control I was feeling like this should be the finish.
I had been keen to break the ride into 25k chunks which was made a bit easier with the controls all 50k apart, unfortunately we got to the 150k control as the café of choice closed so a bus stop and home made treats and sarnies. for the next 25K the hills were steep rolling which I know doesn't make much sense....what I mean is they kept going up and down the same amount over and over again and but not in a nice rolling way but in a reciprocating knee munching way.
A little break at the 175k ish mark and it felt like a nice last leg for a strong finish in good spirits, not much up hill and wicked fast decent or 2. We rolled up to the pub having done my first biggy for a while and the first ride of 2014,  nicely finished off with a pint of coke and chicken n noodles mmmmm.
For an alternative perspective of this ride go here

sorry not many pictures, gloves combined with rubbish weather equals no picture taking.

Distance achieved so far is 200K (my gps recorded 199.5k but my buddies said 204k)

Happy New Year

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