Happy New Year everybody!!!
It’s been a wee while since I wrote anything, mainly because I’ve been VERY busy with work – so my cycling and writing have all but disappeared.
Reflecting on the last year there’s been good and bad – highs and lows- but the biggest visible trend for me is the decline in cycling miles put in on the bike, mainly over the last few months with bad weather but also during the good weather too, due mainly to work.
The positives of 2013
I took part in more Sportives than ever this past year.
The Tour O the Borders, Tour de Forth, Bethany Classic, Pedal for Scotland. ( long route) and Borders Cyclista.
2. Some lovely weather cycling
We had great weather during the summer – so I was able to cycle quite a lot during the summer months …
3. Sky Ride Leadership
I recieved the training and was accepted as an assistant ride leader within the Sky Ride led rides initiative in conjunction with British Cycling and various local councils.
It’s been really good to give back to others some of the enthusiasm and enjoyment I get from cycling and to encourage them or assist with practical advice about their bikes, clubs etc.
4. Commuting to Work
Now that I’ve made the transition from a remote office to the main office in Edinburgh, I have taken the opportunity to commute to work on my bike.
5. My LBS
I’ve found a local bike shop – near to me- with some very enthusiastic and friendly staff that like to chat about bikes – bike gear – sportives – triathlons etc etc
Criterium Cycles, based at Dobies Garden centre in Dalkeith are a good supportive and friendly bunch, that I’d positively recommend to anyone. Happy New Year to Paul, Rose, Don, Simon, Jason, Dave!
6. Rolling not turbo.
As the crappy weather of the winter months kicked in – I turned to my turbo trainer, which wasn’t ideal as I don’t have a garage to train in.
I was making quite a lot of noise and vibration on the trainer in the house whilst spinning. In the end, I made the transition to rollers, getting a lovely set of Tacx Antares rollers at a great price point from Amazon. They are quieter, AND much less fuss to set up and put away again. So simple – pull out, lay on floor put bike on , get going. Getting the hang of balancing on them was hilarious – like riding a large wave on a surfboard, until you get the hang of it.
It still takes a good amount of concentration but has improved my pedalling technique and balance already.
7. Another MAMIL is born.
The Turbo was passed on to my cousin, Mark, who has also taken up mid life crisis road cycling. Another MAMIL hits the roads! He lives up north – a 4hr drive away – but we’ve already booked up to do the Trossachs Ton with his son. I hope this cycling bug is endemic and smitts the entire family.
8. Garmin to Wahoo Heart rate zone training
The transition to rollers meant my Garmin Edge wasn’t doing much for me when static. I changed over to using Wahoo linked sensors and my iPhone 5, so now have heart rate and cadence information, previously not available to me – Wow – what a difference this vital information makes to training!
The not-so-goods of 2013
Well frankly – because I didn’t have a long distance holiday cycle to do in 2013 – (work got in the way) – I’ve not had the same systematic cycling regime I’d had in previous years in putting in the miles preparing for the eagerly anticipated long cycle away from home. So my cycling became less focused and less mile hungry. I’ve done lots more small pootles of around 20 to 30 miles, with the exception of the Sportives, some of which I found quite tough ( from the lack of preparation).
Uncertainty about my job meant I was at the coal face more and missed taking holidays or breaks. This had a major impact on both my ability to cycle (time) and my mood (attitude). Definitely not allowing that to happen again this year – I enjoy cycling too much to allow it to be invaded by work concerns again. Time will tell.
3. The stuff of life takes up time.
Family – the extended family have absorbed a lot of time with the weddings, illhealth and.. sadly…funerals of family members requiring travel, celebrations and commiserations. Such is the stuff of life ….but it does make you step back and think about your own life …it’s frailties and what you want to make out of it. I Have, I think, got more engaged with my extended family this year than any other, and it has been good, but it has eaten up time.
Lack of cycling in the last few months and a routine of drinking lattes in the office in the morning have seen my weight shoot up a whopping 22lbs in 2 months!!!! Gonna have to loose it.
So there you go…
So what for 2014?
1. Training Plan
I’ve been working up a cycling training plan just now – for the first time ever.
2. Caledonia Etape
I managed to get a place on the Etape Caledonia sportive ! I’ve only been trying for about two years! So looking forward to this.
3. More Sportives!!!!!
I’m also booked for the Bethany Edinburgh Sportive,
The Etape Pennines ,
and the Trossachs Ton
( which goes over the Dukes Pass twice this year.
Yeah uh huh. You heard that right – I’ve really got to loose that weight and get some climbing legs on.
I’m also hunting to book up the Tour de Forth Sportive
and the Graeme Obree sportive
I have to do this once a year – ever since I actually met the man – whilst out cycling of course.
He pulled alongside in his car and started chatting away through his open window – I had no idea who he was at first – it took a moment for the penny to drop.
Absolutely great guy – who I have enormous respect for.
I’m still booked in and retained by British Cycling as a ride leader so hopefully this will get me out and about a bit more too.
5. Getting out there!
Looking forward to getting out and about on the bike – time to go!!!