It’s 2011 and we’re back … well sort of

A belated happy New Year to you all. Since Christmas I’ve been laying pretty low on the blogging (and Twitter) front. I had a great Christmas with my family and watched with only a small pang of regret as the Rapha Festive 500 days (http://www.rapha.cc/the-rapha-festive-500) rolled by between the 23 and the 30th. Between Christmas, my wife’s birthday, a visit from my in-laws (oh and a new neice arriving on Boxing Day) cycling was rightly quite a way down my list of things to get done – so there was no way I was going to manage the 500km and didn’t. I had hoped I might make “The Fatter Festive 100” (http://bikechimp.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/the-fatter-festive-100/) but that was pretty unrealistic and didn’t happen either. So I enjoyed my family and my new cycling related presents. I ate mince pies and read Rouleur.

By the time we reached the end of December, I hadn’t been out on a bike since November 24th. I’d managed 3 turbo sessions in the second half of December but I don’t count them as they’re not miles on the road. We’d had snow, ice, colds, blah, blah, blah, but no riding. I’d also had several new bikes sitting taunting me for a couple of weeks and that was slowly wearing me down. 
Finally I escaped for a quick ride on the Rose X-Lite 4400 (http://girodilento.com/first-look-2011-rose-x-lite-4400) on December 31st – a whole 26.37km – but it was something. It really was, it had been cold, greasy, misty and physically challenging after not riding for over a month – but I loved every second of it. In a strange way it rounded out the year appropriately and positively. My year started with hardly any mileage and ended the same – just a matter of a fantastic 4,500km in the middle. The year started with me pining for a new bike and it ended with three fantastic new carbon wonderbikes at my disposal (in addition to the Rose above, I had these delightful temptations as well http://girodilento.com/neilpryde-bikes-first-looks-alize-and-diablo)
From a cycling point of view 2010 was my best year ever, the most mileage, great new riding buddies, this blog, new cycling opportunities and I watched some fantastic racing (the Giro being my overall highlight of the year followed by Flanders, Roubaix, Evans win at La Fleche Wallone and Thor’s World Championship). I’ve had some fantastic support on this blog this year from readers and from the industry – Cervelo, Rose, NeilPryde to name three particular highlights. 

So I’m quite relaxed about things petering out on the road – when there’s so much upside.
However following the brief blast on 31st of December, I decided to crack on as there was another couple of days of reasonable weather forecast. So on January 1st I popped out and started the New Year with 41km again on the Rose. It was an even more dismal day than the previous one and I doubled the climbing, which even thought it was still only a small amount (500m in 41km) it hurt, but thanks to a fast bike the average speed was good. Then on January 3rd I decided it was time to do a bit of proper suffering and I rode 62km and climbed 700m. This is the sort of ride that I would have found an easy task back in November had my legs hurting for two days afterwards. It probably wasn’t helped by my riding companion – the NeilPryde Diablo, which gets better and better the harder you push it. It was a challenging but irresistible combination.
So here I am – two rides checked off for the new year before rain and work have got in the way again (the weather forecast on the weekend looks a bit promising though) but I’ve already ridden as far as I did in January 2010 (which was a month with a lot of snow). 

I’m back mentally if not quite physically but that will come … after a bit more pain and suffering in the meantime. I’ve got some exciting rides I’m looking into for the year and will be posting about them here as details emerge. I’ve got some fantastic bikes to ride and write about too – which is very exciting and bikes are becoming a more important part of my life every month. 
That’s it for today – thanks for reading and here’s a link to a New Year piece about cycling that I particularly enjoyed and I hope you do too: http://gritandglimmer.com/i-used-to-ride-bikes-a-lot-guest-post-by-matt-orourke/