Where did the year go? It’s December already, and in between the pigs in blankets and present shopping, it’s that time of year when people take a look back at the last 12 months and determine whether they had a successful year or not.
Success is defined, according to Google anyway, as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose”. Some people would measure that success in the number of podiums or personal bests during the season, others might measure success as the completion of a sportive or special event during the season. My aim for this year was to enjoy the riding I was doing and explore new places. If it isn’t fun, it’s probably not worth doing anymore.
Was I successful? Well, I’m quite comfortable that I enjoyed the riding I was doing this year. A combination of shorter and harder rides with my mates that do race and then longer, steadier adventure type rides to new and different places. So the short answer is, yes. Yes I was successful.
As ever, when determining success, there are stand out points during the year that help shape your decisions. For me, there are four things that stand out in making the year a success.
The first of the those was completing the Tour De Yorkshire Sportive in April. I had planned to take a chilled approach to the ride but through pure coincidence and mutual friends, found myself riding out with the Brownlee brothers in what was probably one of the hardest rides of he year. After a little bit of friendly chatter as we rolled out of Leeds, they dropped the hammer and turned it into a serious ride on one of he hottest days of the year. I got round faster than planned.
The second of the successes had to be my trip to the Alps. It was my first time cycling abroad, my first time camping and my first adventure. I expected so much to go wrong but thankfully so much of it went right. Particular highlights were being roped into a music video with my friend Joel after an overnight ride to Paris, and accidentally mistaking two mountains for small hills, making one of my days into a brutal 16,000ft / 100 mile ordeal. It was great to end the two week trip catching up with other friends Nick and Chris, rolling around the Etape Du Tour, getting shouted at for having too much fun.
The third thing for me has to be the one of enjoyment. This year more than ever I’ve been lucky enough to get involved in a range of different cycling related activities including photo shoots for new bikes, kit and nutrition. These have been a chance to do something a bit different to just riding and allowed me to meet a variety of new people across the country. I do however apologise if my mug landed in your emails this year.
The fourth contributor to success, rather randomly, would have to be a sneaky combination of the 10,000KM CC and the pesky Cold Dark North. Both of these collectives continue to invite me along to get involved with things that are a bit different. Through their network of riders I’ve ended up riding London to Brighton and back, touring around the Lake District in the pouring rain and being accompanied to Paris by people from these groups. Without making these friends I doubt the adventure would be half as fun.
Success isn’t all about results; of course results matter, but so do the little things that aren’t always defined by a placing. Success is whatever you determine it to be.
I guess it’s time to set out the aims for next year somewhere. I suspect a lot of next year will involve more adventures and catching up with more of those friends. The events are already filling the diary.