This time last year I'd entered three things: the Dragon Ride 300km route in its first year of running, the Tour of Wessex and the Bontrager 24/12 MTB race as a 12 hour solo. Some things went to plan and some not so much.
In order of awesomeness...
The Dragon Ride
This was always going to be the main focus for the year, although as it was in mid-June it meant that I'd be done by the Summer. My biggest ride in previous years had been 230-240km so this was definitely a stretch. Training was based around keeping the power at a reasonable level whilst building up the length of the rides. I think I topped 200km a couple of times which was certainly a first for a solo trip as all my past rides over 200km had been with others.
The day went as well as I could have hoped. The weather was almost perfect (bar one light rain shower) with temperatures of 15-20C and only mild winds. I did the first third with Darren who then diverted onto the 230km route, kept my pacing even, ate to plan and ticked off the climbs. Oh, the climbs - in the week before the event the organisers discovered they'd vastly miscalculated the amount of climbing, or rather vastly under-calculated. I think the original figure was 3500m or so, and the revised number about 4900m! My Garmin logged 4800m on the day.
Total ride time was 11 hours 53 mins, with moving time about 11 hours 30.
The Tour of Wessex
This is a three day event, with multiple distances up to 100-110 miles each day. Day one was brutal - it pissed down all day and plenty of people on the 100 mile route took the shorter 70 mile option. Not Jon and I, for some reason we took in the whole thing. Thankfully we weren't camping so we were able to defrost and clean up in the luxury surroundings of a Travelodge.
Day two was much better conditions with sunshine and the seaside. I couldn't stay with Jon so ended up riding with various random groups. We met at the finish and rode back to the hotel, which was handy for Jon as he picked up the only puncture of the weekend and could borrow my pump. Found a great pub too, just a short walk from the 'lodge.
Day three we decided to just do the 65 mile route, which mean we got back early afternoon and could get on the road for a tortuous Bank Holiday drive home. I ended up going cross-country, making use of some of my training ride roads to avoid the worst jams.
Didn't get any MTB training in. No-one else entered. Sold my place. Didn't mind.
- Work charity 100 mile ride from Newbury to London. Not quite first this time, 5 minutes back on the leading pair. I was suffering from a virus and a month off though.
- Old school no pressure local MTB ride with Jon, Darren and Rob. We stopped, we chatted, we got muddy. Must do more of this.
- A winter 90 miler with Jon and Phill, were we all suffered in various ways.
- The Cotswold Spring Classic ride the route on the same day as the event ride. I normally pace myself of these things, this time I thought I'd try staying with Jon and rode as hard as I could from the start. The result? Cramp, lots of cramp. Good time though.
- Via Roma Sportive with Jon and Phill. Took our time, lazed at the food stops, all very social.
- A week riding in the Dolomites with some old friends and some new. Brilliant week of food, wine, beer, gelato, chat and climbs. GrossGlockner in the snow was probably in my top 3 most memorable rides. The weather could have been better but it all adds to the experience.
A good progression here, can I keep it up in 2015?
So, 2015? I've entered Tour of Wessex, got trips to Ventoux and Corsica booked and one local sportive. There will be more, but I think I'll just take things as they come. Planning is over-rated.