It’s easy to look through carefully curated Instagram (or other social media) feeds and be a little in awe of the amazing lives cyclists can seem to lead.
Many riders on social media seem to go from amazing ride to amazing adventure on fabulous bikes with great friends but it doesn’t always reflect what those of us see in our own lives.
So I’m not here to tell you about the amazing year I had in 2019 for cycling …. because actually it was one of my worst ever.
This post comes from a world where we get sick, crash, have lots of family commitments, work stress, money stress – you know, the world many of us inhabit.
Like everyone else, I would like to have had a great 2019 for cycling and this website but it just didn’t work out that way. I’m bloody glad to see the back of 2019 – it was largely a write-off.
To be fair, it started ok. I had begun racing cyclo-cross in late 2018 and into January 2019, I was making a little progress. I was working hard on my fitness & this was delivering some better races. My riding skills had improved from woeful to moderately bad, so that was good too.
However my body wasn’t used to the intensity of ‘cross racing and towards the end of January I got sick. This saw riders I’d previously been beating go past &comfortably drop me during a race in late January.
I then raced whilst sick in February to finish the season and felt genuinely dreadful. It took quite a few weeks to feel “better” after the end of the cross season and I lost my cycling “mojo” too. I couldn’t face riding a bike or training at all – I just wanted a break.
It wasn’t until March that I started to try to get a bit fitter again and still it took me a while to get into it. I gradually built up my time on the turbo across March, April and May and by June was beginning to feel like I was making progress.
Then I broke my collarbone
On a 200km Audax ride with friends, I was riding well, feeling strong & thoroughly enjoying the day. I was about 140km into the ride when I got caught out by a crosswind. I’d had one hand off my handlebars checking my Garmin when a gust of wind came in from the side and down I went. I knew right away it was broken – as soon as I stood up. Amazingly my bike wasn’t hurt at all but I spent the afternoon in a nearby hospital, until my wife collected me.
That then led to 6 weeks of no riding at all before the hospital gave me the all clear to ride on my turbo again. By this time it was August and I’d missed the best of the summer. My fitness had tanked of course as you’d expect after that much time off the bike.
September was the start of the cross season again too but I didn’t yet have a bike as I’d sold mine at the end of the previous season and my replacement was running late, thanks to a delay on the parts arriving into stock. So I started trying to rebuild my fitness from scratch in September and my body was very reluctant.
I did my first couple of ‘cross races in October and I just didn’t have the form of the season before. These first races were physically very hard work and I was way down the field – even if the new bike was really nice.
I attempted to keep up training during November but with limited success. My 14 yr old son fell in love with cyclo-cross a season or so ago and I’ve found myself increasingly running around after him, taking him to training and races and I was finding it hard to train myself and get my work done.
I kept trying though and then in mid-December I caught a chest cold that has lasted right through the Christmas season and I’ve been off the bike again for last few weeks of the year.
All of this has also made it a bad year for this blog – less time riding, for me also means less time reviewing.
Along the way, I’ve also had to declined trips to ride bikes as life, work and family commitments have all had to take priority. Again disappointing, but there it is.
In the end I rode 3,700km and spent 146 hours cycling. Down from the 6,000km and 240 hours I had as my goal for the year.
Hopefully 2020 will be a better one, I’ll try not to break anything and I hope you do too. Happy New Year!