Thursday, January 01, 2015

2014 Cycling Year in Review


Those who know me well, or who follow me on Twitter, will know that 2014 has been a tough year for me in cycling terms.

It started well, completing the March Strava Gran Fondo by cycling overnight from Warwick to Walthamstow with my old schoolmate Jonesy, written up as 'In the Dead of Night' on this blog. As well as being a tough physical and mental challenge for a pair of relatively new road cyclists, it was also a good way to raise around £600 for the charity All Our Children.

Also, just for the sheer fun of it, I finished the May Strava Gran Fondo. This route entailed riding from Walthamstow to Box Hill and completing a reasonably-sized loop, before cycling back into the City. It was my first time riding around Surrey, and Leith Hill and Whitedowns are the toughest hills I have climbed thus far.

Coming to a bit of a fitness peak around about June, just in time for the Wiggle French Revolution, was a highlight. There is no better feeling than zipping up hills on a simple £650 road bike knowing that you weigh a good 90kg and dropping a load of people in the process. A rolling course all based in the Pas de Calais area of northern France with a few tough climbs, mixed with a stiff head wind for the last 25km, put last years' efforts in the New Forest to shame.

A slightly mangled, but very painful wrist.
Infamously, though, I came a cropper on my way from the ferry back to the car park in Dover, when another cyclist decided to stop suddenly at a green traffic light. Cue a fractured wrist and a saga that lasted from the 15th June until finally being given the all clear on 22nd December following a few CT scans.

My 'comeback' sportive on 15th August, after a couple of months of on-off training on the turbo trainer, was the intriguing and unique 'White Roads Classic'. A much smaller affair than a Wiggle sportive, but much more personal.

In reality, the comeback was far from smooth. The train from Paddington to Streatley was delayed meaning that a group of five of us arrived around 45 minutes after the majority of riders had departed. All being of different riding abilities, we cycled off at different rates meaning the majority of the first third of the ride was cycled in a showery solitude.

With the help of a small group of riders, all willing to take a bit of a turn at the front, I managed to save some energy and by the last third of the event I had started to catch some of the main group of starters. Once more, Sasha's reliability meant that I was able to navigate sections of rough chalk road without any mechanical trouble. Thankfully, with my weakened wrist, a friendly follow cyclist helped me to patch up the one slow puncture I did have. Overall, it wasn't the fastest ride, but I managed to complete it.

Starting a new job in September, but still on the other side of London, it meant that I was able to continue to build stamina and burn off the last of the blubber gained during my injury. Although unable to fit in another big really big ride, the year ended with me getting back to a much better state of fitness, albeit with a dull ache in my left wrist.

Let's hope that 2015 means more kilometres and hopefully staying upright on the bike.

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