With Christmas out of the way (other than paying off the credit card bill), and New Year celebrations over with, thoughts turn to what 2019 may hold.
Whilst conversations with normal people (my wife) revolve around what we need to do with the garden (answer: burn things), how I still need to complete various painting jobs, and getting two of the childrens’ passports renewed, my internal monologue is entirely centred around cycling:
- How do I maintain the modest amount of momentum built up from 7 rides since Christmas Eve (not quite the Festive500; perhaps the Turkey242.8)?
- How to spend the Wiggle voucher kindly gifted to me by my sister-in-law?
- Can I justify a new bike in 2019…?
With that in mind, I thought I’d share my cycling-related objectives for 2019 with you, dear readers.
And not my wife.
(Yes, I know they are not ‘SMART’ objectives but I am not one for New Year Resolutions. Just getting them out of my head, even in generalised form is progress. Baby steps…).
Ride 4,000 km in 2019
Hmm, I can’t seem to find on Strava the exact distance I cycled in 2018 (that was logged on Strava). Since we’re in 2019 already, it’s telling me what I’ve ridden year to date (which appears to be 37.3km).
I know I was tantalisingly close to the (not so) magic figure of 3,500km. It was something like 3,465km. To be honest, with various kids rides, a summer evening outing with my son’s cubs pack and a family ride along the Monsal trail, I was probably there or thereabouts.
Scrub that, I’ve found my Veloviewer 2018 ‘infographic’ and it seems I did 3,467km, spread across 111 days (almost a third of the year) and spent 140 hours on the bike.
(Also, if you want to know what an ‘Eddington Ride’ number is … prepare to be confused)
Anyway, I want to ride further in 2019.
I’ve just spent the last 30 minutes writing different numbers in the sub-heading above (i.e. my target annual distance). It’ll change again before I post it.
It’s difficult to know what is feasible. I feel like I rode quite a lot in 2018 from the perspective of imposing on my wife (when I’m on the bike, generally she is stuck at home with the kids).
But 3,500 km really isn’t that much compared to some…
Damn it, let’s go with 4,000km on the basis that I need to find time to do all the other things on the list (that also result in me neglecting my child caring responsibilities…).
Ride In The South of France
After two years of summer vancances at home and away in the UK, it’s time for another Mediterranean training camp, er, family holiday.
This time we’ve managed to score the use of a villa in the south of France that belongs to friends of my parents. It’s in somewhere called Mougins, which (a squiz at Google Maps tells me) is just behind (north of) Cannes.
Now I haven’t worked out exactly where they go riding, but loads of pro cyclists seem to live around Nice and Monaco.
Armstrong famously tested on the Col de la Madone:
Actually, looking at the detail of that Strava segment, pros Michal Kwiatkowski and Ian Boswell have already ridden it in the first 3 days of the year.
As I’ve done on trips to Majorca in the past, my plan is to hire a road bike and try to pretend that I, too, am a professional cyclist, training near the Cote d’Azur. The slight issue seems to be that where Puerto Pollense has the excellent Pro Cycle Hire for the provision of a suitable steed, bike rental places near Mougins (indeed anywhere in the region) feel few and far between.
If you’re reading this and know of a good bike rental place near Cannes/Mougins, I’d be delighted to receive a recommendation. Or you may find me writing later in the year about the tribulations of taking my bike with me…
I’ve been listening to the ‘Explore’ series offshoot from the Cycling Podcast (in particular I recommend Episode 4 – where Lionel and Ned Boulting ride to the seaside and record themselves talking bike). I’ve also watched a few Youtube videos (vlogs!) recounting multi-day, point to point rides where the object clearly was to roam and enjoy the journey (as well as to challenge), rather than simply to ride for fitness and speed.
I have been somewhat enthused and wish to try riding more than 1- to 4-hour loops near my house (even if those sort of rides can take me into beautiful Peak District scenery).
I have little desire (yet) to carry a tent and wild camp (camp wildly?) in a layby somewhere in Snowdonia. No, I’m thinking more ‘flattish ride spread over a weekend, staying the night (and refuelling) at a nice gastropub’.
That sounds glorious in anyone’s book. I just need to find a ride partner of two.
Do a Challenging Sportive in the Peak District
Last year saw me complete RideLondon for the second time. Whilst I did some riding in the pointy parts of the Peak District as training for that, it’s been ages since I did a proper ‘Sportive-length’ ride up there (otherwise known as a Sportive…).
Indeed, when I did some Peaky Sportive-ys a few years ago, I either chose the shortest route on offer, or aborted and cut short the distance on the day.
That sort of thing has to stop.
2018 proved that I can do a reasonable amount of training when I put my mind to it. RideLondon in 2019 doesn’t hold much appeal (I’m sure I’ll learn to love it again). I should really try to do one of the more challenging Peak District sportives, in either the middle distance (which generally would have plenty of climbing) or, whisper it, the long distance (which would likely have a metric fugload).
As I’ve written this post, I’ve discovered that the Peak Epic (where I’ve ridden the short route before) has been cancelled for 2019. So that leaves maybe the Tour of the Peak in May or the Peaks Tour in September (where even the ‘short’ ride looks quite challenging).
Write More Frequently on the Sportive Cyclist Blog
Some of you might be aware that I make a little (very little) money from this blog. It’s enough to cover website hosting and the email list, plus some bike kit to use and review. The income comes from a mix of display advertising and affiliate commissions on products I link to in my posts.
I’d love to make working on the website my full time ‘gig’. In an ideal world, I would write blog posts in the morning and ride my bike in the afternoon (you know… testing, reviewing). I’d go meet interesting bike people and companies and write about them on the blog. Perhaps even attend some pro races in Europe (as a spectator…).
Given the gap between blog earnings and the salary from my day job, this remains for now a pipe dream. I don’t know if it’s even possible (though there do seem to be other full time ‘content’ producers on the interweb…).
If it is ever going to be possible for me to make a living income from writing about cycling on the internet, I do need to …. actively be writing about bikes on the internet.
So this is going to be the core habit that I’ll attempt to build in early 2019: writing daily for the blog.
In a similar vein to my 30-(or 35-)day riding challenges in the past, I’ll set the daily barrier for success low. Rather than a minimum of 15 minutes on the turbo, I’m targetting 250 words (500 on weekend days). Hopefully I’ll write more on average, but 250 words is enough to get the cross on the calendar (don’t break the chain!).
This should mean that’ll be posting more regularly on the blog (unless I find myself writing ‘I am a fish’ 62 and a half times each evening).
Ride In A Group More Regularly
During the course of the final few weeks of last year, I started riding with a small group of chaps from my village. It’s not quite a cycling club (yet…) but Sunday morning seems to have become the time when a group of us meet up for a ride.
And (shock horror!) I’ve discovered I really enjoy riding with other people! Experience and fitness levels vary. Some have been riding longer than others. Everyone seems enthusiastic. And you know it’s starting to take hold when the whole idea starts to become a running joke* amongst the cyclo-wives.
(* You know, one of those good-humoured, supportive jokes. Not a ‘taking the pish out of your husband for thinking he’s the next Geraint Thomas’ type jokes. No, not at all…)
Anyhoo, the time passes super fast in a group. And whilst these mini-group rides have so far been at a relaxed pace as the group finds its feet, I know that riding with others tends to push me to put more effort in.
I’m keen to make 2019 cycling less of a solitary pursuit; more a sociable one.
Sort Out The Garage
Being kind, our garage is a cluttered mess. Being less kind, it’s a dump. My ambition for 2019, as our house extension project draws to a close, is to tidy it up. Which doesn’t sound like much of a cycling objective. Bear with me…
Whilst I accept that the garage has to store a modest amount of non-cyclo-stuff, being honest, the main tidydriver is to:
- make a it more useable bike workshop space; and
- provide a paincave location (i.e. where I have the turbo trainer set up) that doesn’t immediately cause my heart rate to jump straight into zone 5 simply due to all the clutter and shizzle.
Whilst the garage doesn’t exactly house an Aston Martin, the damp, litter-strewn conditions aren’t ideal for keeping various bits of bike (okay, and garden equipment) free from rust and general signs of degradation.
I have to climb over piles of plastic kidjunk (ride-on things, broken boogie boards, a Minnie Mouse table and chairs) just to get to my bike stuff storage shelves. Which themselves are so disorganised that the removal of one item (the bottle of chain lubricant, say) causes the whole lot to fall to the floor, a la Buckeroo or Kerplunk (or any other childhood game where the aim is to avoid shi..bble going everywhere).
That stops now. Or maybe this weekend. I’m clearing out the junk. I’m creating a (modest) dedicated bike maintenance space. I’m going to put in storage racks for the kids’ bikes. He says…
Over To You
So those are my (hastily fashioned and ill thought out) cycling ambititions for 2019. I’m off to email the link to this post to my wife, so she has at least some idea what goes on in my mind (I think she knows…).
What are your bike-related plans for 2019?
Maybe a new bike? On a new riding challenge to tackle?
Perhaps you plan to build an augmented reality, smart trainer, Zwift-palace with integrated wind tunnel?
Let me know in the comments below. Maybe you can inspire me to add something else to my list.
Happy 2019 cycling!