January 1st rolls around and the Strava statistics tick back down to zero. It's an odd time of year where you look back on the last twelve months with a mixture of happiness and sadness. Happiness that hopefully you've achieved what you set out to achieve at the start of the year, and sadness that the year is over and you have to start all over again. If I'm honest, it's quite depressing to see that 1,000,000ft counter wiped and to start again.
At the same time as looking back, most people are looking forward to the year ahead, plotting and planning the goals for the next twelve months; for some people it's a continuation of those they missed last year and for others it's something fresh and altogether different.
Having spent the last two years chasing some pretty big numbers in mileage and elevation I decided it was time to do something different this year. I'll still do some pretty big miles and a lot of elevation but that doesn't matter to me as much as some of the other things I've got planned for the year. This year I want to focus on experiences and events.
Whereas in the past ridden most days of the year without thinking about the workload or intensity, this year I want to make sure I'm on form at the right times. For that reason I've finally taken the dive into the world of power and ordered a 4iii crank based power meter. It arrives next week and whilst I'll need to spend the first six weeks gathering some meaningful data, after that I'll be able to train and recover with a bit more of an eye towards some meaningful and consistent data. It's going to be a learning curve.
I'm adding a little bit of structure to help with my 'A Goal' for the year. This is a two week trip around the Alps from Geneva to Bern. I've thrown in a massive 14 major climbs or passes, most of which have featured in the Tour de France at some point. It's going to not only be a test of my legs and ability to ride back to back hard days but also a test of how well I cope with some camping. Truth be told I'm a bit of a diva so signing myself up to spend two weeks riding and camping could be a laugh.
Then, although they both happen before my main trip, I'm signed up to the Struggle Dales and entered into the ballot for the Fred Whitton. These are two of the hardest sportives in the UK and take in some of the hardest climbs the country has to offer. Personally, I see these as an opportunity to push myself hard and I'd like to go below six hours in both; a hard task when they both feature over 10,000ft of climbing in 100 or more miles. Plenty of pain!
Towards the Autumn I'd love to tick off the North Coast 500. Provided I enjoy the two weeks bike-packing earlier in the year, it would be a nice trip to tick off the bucket list and offers some altogether different views to the Alps. I just have to pray for a dry week in Scotland, which is basically praying for a miracle.
I have a few other things up my sleeve but these are the main events for the year and will probably see me aiming for 12,000 miles / 800,000ft. A marked drop on previous years goals but given they aren't the focus it's probably the realistic expectation. That and the fact I've planned to use my two feet for something other than pedalling this year.
So far the year has got off to a mixed start; I've ticked off 600 miles in two weeks but picked up a cold along the way so need to shake that off pretty soon.
As things stand I'll be supported by Ribble Cycles, Science in Sport and Wahoo Fitness again 2018 so an advanced thank you to them for their continued support.
What's everyone else got planned for the year?