Monday 20 December 2010

2010 Full of Firsts

When was the last time you did something for the first time? In 2009 I stretched myself to complete the South Downs Double, and in 2010 I’ve achieved many more things for the first time. Here are a few;

* Visiting a gym was a new experience in January. I must have enjoyed it as I’ve been back 139 times.
* Pilates was something quite new at the gym where I’ve balanced (in)appropriately during 60 classes.
* Regular Spinning classes kept my legs active during 68 sweaty sessions.
* Training with weights was quite alien for me in January, now I can pump the iron!
* The Body Pump class killed me on the first session, now I am able to live through it.

* A Health MOT gave me an amazing score of 94%, what happened to the other 6%?
* Discovering my low cholesterol level was a relief, more cakes please.
* Measuring my VO2 max was interesting as it was appropriately high

* Snowboarding in February was my first adventure into winter sports. I’ll leave the black runs for my son Dan.
* Entering the TrailBreak ride in Reigate with Dan showed me how good at mountain biking he is, beating most of the adults in his category.
* Setting out the route markings for the TrailBreak event was surprisingly therapeutic.

* Racing as a pair for the Muc-Off 8 was a different concept to my usual solo events, giving me a rest after each lap!

* Riding a fixed wheel bike at the Calshot velodrome felt like going round a massive berm. Winning a 30 lap race showed me it was more about tactics than brute force.

* Completing a 100 mile ride solo and unsupported was a first for this distance. I also knocked 90 minutes off my best time for the South Downs Way. Why do I keep riding this same route?

* For the first time after a 12 hour race, I was wanting more. Set2Rise was great in May after the mud had solidified.

* Taking a MTB skills course was a revelation. You can teach an old dog new tricks. I've finally managed to ride confidently with no hands on the bars.

* Using gas to inflate tyres was invaluable during races and long events. Why did I struggle with a pump for so long?

* I finally resigned to creating a Twitter account, which proved really informative when following riders progress in MTB World Championships.

With so many new accomplishments, I wonder what I will do for the first time in 2011? I've yet to sell something on eBay and learn how to bleed brakes.

Saturday 4 December 2010

Bring on the Snow

Snow covered the ground in abundance whilst Reigate Hill was littered with abandoned vehicles.  This gave the perfect excuse to go for a ride. 
The 6-12” deep powdery snow flared up from the wheels covering our feet and the bikes like ‘clean mud’.  Pedalling down hill was a novelty making any forward movement hard work.  Balancing skills were honed with the front wheel often going into opposite lock as we remained upright.

The sights were fantastic with untouched snow covered trees decorating the white carpeted trails.  With only a handful of dedicated walkers and no other cyclists, we had the hill to ourselves.  The quietness in the air created a serene atmosphere in the near black and white world.

Stopping off at the Sportsman pub for a bite to eat, we warmed ourselves by the open file with warm mulled wine.  Resisting the temptation to stay there all day we headed back out into the white stuff.

Descending the hill on the steep chalky path from the monument was awesome.  The thick snow on the chalky slope provided all the traction we needed.

Dropping on to the snow covered roads we hopped over the speed bumps returning back to civilisation.  Travelling faster than the cars we made it home with no spills,  What a fantastic ride.