Just over a week ago I hit the goal that I'd given myself a whole year to complete; ride 10,000 miles in a year. However, thanks to some great weather conditions I've managed to finish a lot earlier than expected but I've learnt a few things along the way. 1. Feeding me is a full time job and doing it is harder than starting work as junior doctor. At least this what Sarah keeps telling me each week as she tries to find a shopping trolley big enough to carry all the food we need... I was always hungry no matter what the time, and genuinely couldn't eat enough food each day. The great thing though had to be being able to have a full English breakfast every morning!
2. You really can't race everywhere no matter how hard you try. I'm a big fan of trying to beat people to the top of the hill or be first person home from training but after so many miles you suddenly realise it's actually easier to pretend you really don't want to race, and take it easy, or your legs demand a refund on their existence. Although secretly I still want to race everyone...
3. Yorkshire is a seriously pretty part of the world. I mean, we already knew that Yorkshire is the best place in the world, but when you slow down a little bit it's amazing what you suddenly see beyond the slightly scratched stem that clouds your eye-line everyday. I even managed to find a road along the way that I've passed every day for three years but hadn't noticed until I slowed down!
4. People make the world of difference, even the grumpy ones that think a cafe stop is boring. Without people I think I'd have grown a beard and grabbed some sandals on my way to finding peace and harmony on a bike with one gear or something. Having people with you for the many miles makes time fly and you chatter away the day and leave your legs to do the work in peace.
5. Cake. Cake is seriously important for anyone riding 10,000 miles. My consumption of cake has increased approximately 1000% this year as I discovered the many cafes and cake shops around the county to use as pit stops for all the miles.
6. Coffee. With every cake comes a coffee and all 'pro' cyclists will tell you that you should start your ride with a coffee. As time went on and the mileage increased I found that I really needed the coffee to get me going in the morning otherwise I was far too tempted to go back to bed each day. It turns out coffee is also highly essential on a rainy day, as I found out when a cute little cafe in Thirsk gave me and my friend Nick a free espresso to warm us up when we needed to do another 40 miles to get home in the howling wind and rain.
7. Kit counts for a lot. If you're not comfortable then riding that far can really hurt. I used to use a carbon fibre saddle for racing and training, but quite quickly found out that they are quite painful after a few hundred miles and my future children might not be so future if I kept using it! I think my bum fell in love with me when I finally found a good saddle to ride on, and it sure makes a difference to how long you want to ride for.
8. Riding somewhere different makes sure you don't get bored. My heat map for this year makes it look like i've never been in work judging by all the different lines and places I've cycled in so far! Riding in so many different places meant I never got bored of riding as the terrain and views were constantly changing. The great thing about Yorkshire is it has some pretty hilly routes in one direction but endless flat in the other so you can have an 'easy' day or a 'hard' day depending how you feel.
9. You have to be prepared for everything from the potential discovery of dinosaurs to multiple punctures. Okay, so maybe I won't find many dinosaurs, but multiple punctures were a thing and meant I had to break my own dear rules and buy a saddle bag which I now don't mind. Having a saddle bag meant I had free pockets to stuff with gels, energy bars and cake money which I needed to get around the endless miles I did each day.
10. When you eventually take a week off the bike you'll suddenly realise just how tired you really are and proceed to eat everything in the house and complain that your legs hurt and you'll never ride your bike again... Until next week.
I'm currently in the middle of a two week resting period but it won't be long before I'm back out on the bike again looking for my next adventure!