And so 2010 has drawn to a close, and after my first part of a review of the pro guys now my own review. So my first full year cycling and what a year, for me the highlights have been many although a lack of goals set at the beginning of the 2010 make it hard to pinpont my exact achievements. Firstly the obvious change is the waist line – since the end of 2009 I have managed to drop almost 2 stone in weight, however after the last couple of months my cycling has tailed off and the festive season may mean I have undone that work! However for the first time since my early/mid 20′s I can squeeze into a pair of 32” jeans so I have to be thankful for that. Hopefully with some early season conviction I can shift the X-mas pounds. With the recent weather a turbo trainer has been added to my list of must have item this year so I don’t get caught out again, I pledged not to be a fair weather cyclist and I have gone out in inclement weather however I have to be honest that I have used the “it’s cold/wet/dark/possibly icy/threatening a downpour (delete as appropriate)” excuse and need to have a back up plan.
Riding also revealed itself a total new and unexpected benefit to me, psychological well-being. I started the year facing redundancy, during the spring finally sold my house and generally had the usual challenges of life, love and family that many of us face. Cycling is all about you and the bike, but although it never really allows you time to concentrate on a problem during an hour or four somehow your problems seem less or even solutions present themselves.
I completed my first sportive, the Rivington 50 – a great small local event that deserves a higher profile and one that I will be doing again this year, although I will be stepping up to the 100 mile distance. The ride I completed over 10 years ago was again completed, The Manchester to Blackpool, in a time I was more than happy with. I joined an informal club, just some likeminded cyclist’s that don’t want the formality of a club but enjoy the social side of cycling. Finally and it’s a small thing for me was beating my nemesis, my local hill. Back in May it bested me, I stopped 2/3rds up my heart felt like it was going to explode, a rider descending shouted at me to get back on and go, I did but having put my foot down I felt like a failure. Two weeks later I was back and I made the climb exhausted but happy, after that psychologically I had the advantage and the hill has not beaten me since. The psychological side to cycling was made apparent to me then and something I won’t be forgetting.
So now to 2011, one thing that I learnt from last year was that once my challenges had passed my focus tailed off, this year I need to ensure that doesn’t happen. I am currently looking at sportive challenges for the early season, I have signed up for the Cheshire Cat and as mentioned above I will do the Rivington 100 again, with some later challenges yet to be decided. I am also looking to set a slightly more formal training plan for this year as at present I am working on the get as many miles in as possible but I need to focus my efforts in order to improve my overall performances, one thing is for certain the last 2 weeks of diet and alcohol intake will have to change.