Posted by: Ian | January 2, 2012

Cycling in 2012

I had a great year’s cycling in 2011, which, at the turn of the New Year, leads to the question of how to capture the same pleasure from it in 2012 and also explore new cycling territory. 2011 itself contained repeats from 2010 – the fabulous Tour of Wessex, some great long rides in the South West, Blenheim, the Exmoor Beast, weekly loops round Regent’s Park – and some innovations – outstanding riding in Corsica, my first audax, the very enjoyable Engadin Radmarathon, a preview ride round the Olympics road race route.

I did more miles in 2011 than 2010, clearing over 6,000 by the end of the year. The pattern of seasonality was similar:

Both years saw a peak, unsurprisingly, around the 330 mile Tour of Wessex after a trough in Feb/Mar. This year the trough was caused by the break to my wrist in February. Both years saw the start of a decline in the miles as winter set in, though this year I bucked it in December.

My first ride in 2012, yesterday on New Year’s Day, was a fabulous 64 mile circuit that started with a lumpy coastal section taking in Lyme Regis, Seaton and Sidmouth before turning inland along the banks of the Otter to return home. Here’s a snap I took in Sidmouth just after I fixed a puncture in a bus shelter, escaping from the rain:

Directly ahead, you can see Peak Hill enveloped in cloud. The only way to really remember how steep these hills are is to do them again.

I was hoping I could kick off this year with the Glastonbury 100 Miler but it’s been moved to later in the year, which, for me, is a big shame: it was a great January leg loosener. I’ll probably do the same route on my own later this month.

Loops like this around Somerset are the bedrock of my cycling. Mostly I do them on my own but it’s also nice to ride with other people, and organised events bring an atmosphere of occasion to the day. The 2012 events I’ve signed up to so far are:

  1. The Lionheart Sportive in March. This is actually a roll-over entry for Paula, Zoe and me from last year, when we’d entered and then I broke my wrist. Our friend Steve has signed up for this too.
  2. The Somerset Gran Fondo in early May. This is a 180k ride starting in Cheddar Gorge and heading onto Exmoor. I love this kind of riding.
  3. The Tour of Wessex in June. My event of the year.
  4. The Beast of Exmoor in October. I almost feel that I have to.

None of these ticks the innovation box. For that, I think I have to do some riding abroad. I intend – I’d even say I plan – to ride up Tourmalet in early September, hopefully with friends but, if necessary, alone. Other than that, I’m on the look-out for opportunities that I can’t yet foresee.

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