Friday, 17 April 2015

I'm not dead - I've been cycling!

I know, I know - I've been very quiet on here recently. Rather than give you the usual excuses of "I've been very busy", "life's been hectic" and "I've been in a beer-induced coma for 7 months, I'll just say that rather than concentrate on the blog I've actually been out cycling and I consider that an equally respectable excuse!

Whilst I'm 99% sure nobody care's, before I resume better service, here's a quick update on what's been going down....

So, I think I left you all with the knee-tremblingly exciting news that I bought a Kuota KOM Air with the promise of a long term review (coming soon), some lighting reviews and a tip for auto-uploading your Garmin rides to Strava. Since then the world has moved on and and so have I.

I've been cycling as much as possible through the winter months and trying keep the weather from reducing my bike to rust and dust. For the most part that's worked out OK and, like most, I'm itching to get back out with the lads from the shop and work back to the fun and form we had at the height of last summer. Whilst I didn't talk much about it on here, I finally caved to Matt's incessant hinting of our joining the local road club (Kenilworth Wheelers) for their Monday night runs. After my initial reluctance we went along, didn't get dropped and grew to love the 26 mile "through and off" riding and the sprint finish back into Cubbington. My biggest regret is not doing this sooner as my fitness and experience spiked almost immediately after we started and even better was the discovery that we're not that slow!

I'd recommend trying your local club runs if you haven't made this step yet - it really a worthwhile experience and having a club does give you access to more like-minded cycling weirdos - if nothing else!

Matt (my cycling neighbour) knows quite a few people and his next trick was to have us join the some lads riding out a few times a week from Mike Vaughan's -  another local bike shop. With a bit of new-found confidence we went along and this is where things got really good. The group was less formal than the club runs and this made for a great atmosphere and a style of riding that encouraged healthy competition and more inclusion. These rides were the highlight of last years cycling.

Despite my best attempts I just never managed to get any cycling holidays organised, UK or otherwise, and so this remains a task for 2015.

What I did  do was complete the New Forest 100 sportive the day after my Birthday in October (Strava details here for those who dig it) and more recently the Rawlinson Bracket 2015 - possibly the UK's friendliest sportive and I couldn't recommend it enough. Last year I got around  the RB fairly quickly but this year was rife with illness and other rubbish excuses. I didn't do too badly on the timed hill climb though:

I want to keep up the Sportive events and attempt to get around them as quick as I can whilst enjoying them and the next challenge is the mighty Tour of the Peaks in May. I think the combination of distance and climbing will make this a challenge.

With the lighter nights and better weather the Tuesday/Thursday shop rides have just started to pick up again and last summer's form doesn't feel quite as far off as I first thought. The task now, I think, is to try my first proper race at Mallory Park.

So, lots of things to come to the blog and maybe, just maybe, there might also be some exciting news involving a small cycling nation calling itself 'France'...