I would try and write an ode to my year like Eloise but frankly it would take me another year to try and make it all rhyme so I'll stick to my usual ramblings on this occasion. It's been a pretty busy year by all accounts and I can only envisage 2017 getting busier still, but before I get to what lies ahead, I decided to have a little look at what gone on this year and whether I stuck to the plan or went a little bit awol. Well, as it turns out looking back to January 2016 I didn't really set many goals other than to ride less than in 2015 and to try and do a bit more racing along the way. I'm not going to lie, if you've been following me on Strava then you probably already know what I'm about to say next. It's fair to say that the goals I set didn't entirely make it through the whole year.
It started off pretty well back in the winter months when I was riding slightly less and doing the speed work needed to get me ready for racing. When we eventually got to the first race of the season it went pretty well and I won in what I can only describe as a snowstorm. I carried on racing here and there throughout May and June picking up a few other points and a DNF along the way but nothing quite as close to a win as I had hoped.
By the middle of June I had kind of settled down and become content with a single win for the season and so quit whilst I was ahead. To be honest, racing is getting stupidly expensive anyway these days when you're spending £20 to £30 for about an hour of racing so given I was happy, I didn't really want to keep throwing the money at it and not giving 100%.
So, with the racing over I settled into a regime of training like I was racing and keeping my top end speed but simply enjoying every mile without any pressure on myself. I love riding and from June onwards it soon became apparent I probably wasn't going to stick to my goal back in January and ride less than the previous year. Infact if anything, I was going to absolutely smash my mileage from the previous year.
July onwards, the weather was still pretty awesome and on the whole pretty dry so the miles were flowing far too easily. I hit 10,000 miles by August and figured that with a little bit of luck I might be able to go for 15,000 so set my sights and ploughed on full steam ahead. Quite the opposite goal to the one at the start of the year but a much more enjoyable one at that! In November it was clear I could go a little higher and hit 16,000 and so I duly pushed on and hit my target with just a few days to spare after handily finishing the Festive 500 for a third time - a goal I never set but always aim to complete.
Throughout the year I also tried to capture and share of many of my routes as possibly through my second passion, photography. I'd argue that's been pretty successful but I promise for every half decent photo, there are about 100 others that don't make the cut and clog up my Iphone memory.
So, after a pretty hard year with just over 900 hours on the bike I can now look ahead to New Years Day when the counter hits 0.0 and it all starts again. Having achieved a stupid amount of miles in 2016, I'm a little lost about 2017 but figured I would set a couple of goals anyway.
The first two are a pretty general goals that will take the best part of the year to complete. They are to ride 1,000 miles a month on average, so 12,000 miles in the year, but also to climb a pretty painful 1,000,000ft.
Some of the other, slightly more specific goals are:
- To enter and complete the Dragon Ride L'Etape Wales 'Devil route' of 305km in under 12 hours.
- To do a few more races and get a podium in at least one of those again.
- To complete the North Coast 500 as a tour in five days over summer.
The latter of the goals above is an attempt to do some more adventure cycling in 2017 which is the kind of riding I enjoy on a weekend after I've done the hard training on a Tuesday and Thursday. It's getting pretty dull riding the same roads all the time so I figure why not find some places new to visit?
So, having hit some goals, missed some goals and set a few new ones going forward I think I owe a few thanks this year. First and foremost to Sarah for putting up with my ridiculous miles, being team chef and team car and not killing me when I needed rescuing in a lightening storm. Also thanks to the guys at Science in Sport for providing me with all my nutrition again this year and then towards the latter end of the year, Ribble for inviting me to take up riding on their new CGR bike for 2017. A fair mention also needs to go to Chris, for helping keep me on the road and not laughing too hard at my lack of practical skills whilst plying me with coffee from the Commute.
What are your plans for 2017? Do you set goals or go with the flow?