Posted by: Ian | December 12, 2010

Revolutions resolutions

2010 has been a great cycling year for me. I’ve done over 5,000 miles, including the ascent up Haleakala (and the ride down), the Hell of the Ashdown, the Puncheur (kind of), the Cornwall Tor, the Blenheim, the Exmoor Beast, the Tour of Britain ride, and (my favourite domestic event this year) the Tour of Wessex. I hoped to get 2011 started with the Hell of the Ashdown too. Unfortunately, I was late to sign up for it and missed my chance – sportives are selling out so quickly now. As an alternative, I’m intending to sign up for an audax ride called the Glastonbury 100 miler. I’m excited about this, both because of the route itself (it passes close to Crickleaze) and to see what an audax is like.

I’m not sure which of the other sportives I’ll try to do again. I’ve signed up for the Wessex already, as has Emily. I’ll probably do the Blenheim because it’s nice and gentle, and Paula, Steve and others may do it too. At the end of the year I’ll almost certainly try to enter the Exmoor because of where and when it is. I’d do the Tour of Britain ride again if it followed the same excellent route as last year but that’s unlikely.

I’d really like to do something new. I hear that the Dragon Ride is fabulous. Then there are all of the remaining hills in The 100 Greatest Climbs book to try. More than that, though, I have a hankering to do at least one ride overseas. Scandinavia appeals, and at some point I should try the famous climbs in the Alps. The spectacular way to get an intro to Alpine cycling would be participate in the seven day Haute Route sportive, which starts in Geneva and ends in Nice and involves almost 17,000 metres of ascent. We could probably find a way to slot this into our holiday plans but I think it’s just too hard, especially if it gets hot.

I’ve had it in mind to fly down to Pau and ride up the Tourmalet out of season, if only to justify my purchase of the classy Rapha Tourmalet jersey. People say this is hard but climbbybike gives it a global difficulty ranking of 204 (or 283 if you go up the other way). Since Haleakala is ranked 17 and I got up this on a rental bike in tennis shoes I have to believe that the Tourmalet is very doable. Maybe I’ll get to do some more cycling in Corsica too.

Whatever I do or don’t sign up to, I’m resolved to do at least one sportive-length ride every month – there are plenty of great routing options straight out of Crickleaze. Let me know if you want to join me.

As a change, I wintered up my Amazon this afternoon. I took off the mudguards and rack, fitted knobbly 37 mm tyres and got the fiddly high-clearance brakes into shape. My concession to winter tyres on the Astraeus was to upgrade from 23 mm’s to 25’s. With its Ti frame and bullet-proof superwide-ratio Rohloff hub gears, the Amazon has much to recommend it for rough off-road cycling. Setting out down the small crapped up road from Crickleaze the new fat tyres were very reassuring. After a swing round our hilly block I took the bike into Cinder Hill woods. The paths, such as they are, were almost lost under mulchy leaves. I rode to the constant snapping of twigs under the wheels. The tyres spat small stones to the side while beech nut husks ground themselves into nobbles. I wimped the steeper very muddy stretches and didn’t attempt the slippery log that crosses the small stream. It was great fun, reminding me of the mountain bike ride Paula arranged in Surrey for the girls and us for my birthday.

This week I’ll have my last rides on the Tempo of 2010. This year it’s been my most used bike, just edging out the Felt in miles, cals and hours. My 2011 Tempo resolutions are for a London training ride most Tuesday evenings and park loops on Thursday mornings.

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