It’s a new year by the way. I’m sure you’re probably unaware of the fact and missed the transition from 2013 to 2014, it’s generally not something celebrated greatly and easily slips by unnoticed. Oh and by the way, I find the Urban Dictionary has the best definition of the word ‘Sarcasm’, just in case you were wondering!
So, time to review the year gone by.
The big two for this year were my 2013 3000 km challenge and my BHF Peak District Mountain Bike Challenge ride. Both of which I have been very pleased to have undertaken and think have been successful.
My 2013 3000 km Challenge was simply to ride a total of 3000 km or more during 2013. This would include commuting, mountain biking (both trail centres and bridleways) and even a spot of road riding. It works out as approximately 8 km per day, which doesn’t sound like much but when you consider that you can’t ride every day, it’s not a simple task. For me it has been a matter of finding the time to squeeze in the distance rather than any sort of physical limit. Having lots of other demands on my time I had to think a lot about when I could ride and take almost every opportunity.
Of course having a whole year to complete a challenge does give you plenty of leeway and I finished the year having cycled a grand total of 3340.6 km. Only twice did I go behind schedule, once at the beginning of the year on the 2nd of January before getting back on track on the 3rd and the second time at the beginning of June when a combination of a mechanical problem and a family holiday in France severely limited my riding for a few weeks. In contrast, during October I peaked at just over 500 km ahead several times following a lot of time spent riding in the summer months when the evenings were longer.
The British Heart Foundation ride was another success, I managed to raise over £200 for charity and had a great day of mountain biking too. The route and organisation was great and the weather was kind. Sure it was tough but I managed the hardest route without any major issues so I feel like I did the day (and myself) justice. No mechanical issues and only one ‘falling off’ moment too.
The only downside to my BHF ride was the realisation that my quads (those muscles, you know the ones) will only attack so many hills before they fatigue and start complaining. Looks like future rides of this length, terrain and gradient may have to be taken at a slower pace on the hilliest parts.
Apart from the Peak District, other ride highlights included my discovery of the Pentland Hills, just south of Edinburgh. This was a little gem of a place to ride during my visits up to Edinburgh for work, not a huge area and quite quickly explored but well worth the visit. The scenery is fantastic and although generally not particularly technically challenging, the terrain is fun and there are plenty of decent hills to climb.
Then of course there were the bike upgrades too. 2013 wasn’t a particularly busy year for upgrades. I did switch from my old X5 rear mech to a shiny new X7 version, this was mainly due to needing to replace the worn jockey wheels on the X5 and deciding to go the whole hog instead. It also saw me make the switch from a double and bash chainset to a single SRAM X0, as discussed in my last post, but beyond those changes I think almost every thing else has stayed much the same. Oh and I now have some SPD pedals but they remain an option rather than a permanent feature.
Mechanical failures have been limited to a few punctures, a snapped chain (my first ever) and a problem with my Epicon fork (damping cartridge came apart). The punctures have been surprisingly few and I still haven’t been left stranded when riding on my tubeless wheels. Lets just say I’m very glad to have a tubeless setup and I could write a whole new post about the occasions where I’ve cheated thorns!
All in all, it’s been a good year for my mountain biking. New places visited, plenty of kms ridden, I’m very happy with how my bike is running now and I think I have also improved my overall fitness. I’m looking forward to achieving some more goals and aims in the coming year!