Monday, 26 January 2015

2014: A Late Review

Somehow it is now nearly the end of January and i'm only just getting around to posting about 2014. What a year, plenty of brilliant moments, a few downs, but mostly just great fun riding my bike and enjoying adventuring more and more.

These were my 2014 goals that I posted back in Dec 2013:

  • Achieve Cat 2
  • Beat my 10 mile TT time of 23:12 (Standard Road Bike set-up)
  • 1st in a cat 3/4 race
  • Top 5 in Crystal Palace league
  • Top 5 in a road race*
  • Get in a successful breakaway
  • Podium at Mountain Mayhem (Solo 24hr MTB race)
  • Podium at Sleepless in Saddle (Solo 24hr MTB race - Well if it's on this year!)
  • Compete in Solo 24 Hour World Championship (MTB)
  • Top 200 finisher at Etape Du Tour
  • Train Smarter**
  • Venture into Cross racing next winter (New Bike #result) 
  • Beat my 6:28 minute lap of Regents Park

It's actually quite interesting (for me) reading my goals, and understanding how realistic or in some cases unrealistic these were. 

First off, and for most a big one: Achieve Cat 2. 
Bottom line is I didn't manage this, I got 28 points, so was a fair way off. The start of my season upto June went well, a number of top 10 finishes, and one podium (3rd) I was feeling good, and racing well. That was until I did mountain mayhem (24hr Mountain Bike Race) This as you can imagine impacted my high intensity crit racing performance, I then went off to France for two weeks in July (Etape) and then August arrived, work & arrived and racing just fell off my calendar. I then took to decision to forget achieving Cat 2, aim for that in 2015, and just enjoy getting out on my bike. 

Time Trail wise I was enjoying the few that I had done. A couple at Velopark, where I PB'd (22:50) and then in October on the Brickendon F7/10 course managed a 21:41. All of this on a standard road bike with no aero additions. It was clear that TTs were going to become more of a thing in 2015, and something which I enjoyed more than road racing. Having said that I still don't have a TT bike, and will continue to do TTs on a standard road bike... 

A few more road racing ones, I didn't really do enough Palace crits, mainly due to work, which was a shame, the ones I race in I typically placed in top 10, just, which I was happy with, but an overall position within the league wasn't going to happen. Still no road race yet... and still no successful breakaway. These i'm sure will come in 2015.

Mountain biking. My original love for cycling. Two big events in 2014, first was Mountain Mayhem, and then secondly the 24 hour world Championships in Scotland. Well first of all the Worlds Champs didn't happen, that was work (again) getting in the way. Mountain Mayhem happened though, and it was my favorite event & race of the year. I didn't get a podium, but did finish 10th, which I was over the moon with. It was tough, both mentally and physically, but I powered through and got a position. 2015 i'll be doing this again, and know that a top 5 is on the cards. If it rains though... (remember 2012?)

Onto France, and the Etape du Tour. Now my 4th year of doing this, and for 2014 back in the Pyrenees. I finished 330th, which was outside the top 200 (out of 10,000) where I wante dto finish, but given the weather or rain and cold temperatures I was happy to just finish! I felt great though in terms of fitness, and for next year (back in the alps) I will get top 200. A brilliant event and one I would recommend. 

A last minute decision towards the end of Autumn saw me look at hill climbs. Not something i'd ever paid much attention to before, but liking TTs and being ok up hills I thought why not. Actually the results were pretty good, with the Catford & Bec being the highlight in terms of experience, fantastic events! The KW HC on Leith Hill was one of my first and I managed to come 4th and one up Mott Street, where I came 2nd. 2015 i'll be doing ALOT more of these at the end of the season, and will focus the latter half of summer around this. Most likely my racing will be impacted, but Hill Climbs are wonderful events of traditional pain. What's not to like? 

Finally in November my employer introduced Cycle 2 Work. So that obviously meant I bought a Cross bike. A Felt FX95. I only managed to get to two races, one at Cyclopark and one at Hillingdon. Cyclopark was a mud bath, Hillingdon was also a mud bath, but at least this time I knew what I was doing, well kind of. I rode well here and placed 8th! CX is another aspect that will feature heavily towards the end of 2015. Although cleaning the bikes isn't that great. 

2014 then was most of all about getting out on the bike and having fun, I bought my first ever new road bike, went on a few epic trips with Lucinda to Scotland and Wales, and enjoying racing against a person with a stop watch and clipboard. I've also started riding with Regents Park Roulers as well as London Phoenix. In essence this consists of 5:45am sessions around Regents Park... These sessions hurt, and are structured which helps me alot. Great bunch of guys and looking forward to riding with them more at ever increasing daft times. Nothing quite like 50 miles before work.

If you've got this far thanks for reading my late review and for following 2014 with me. 2015 I'm hoping will be just as much fun, more TTs, more HCs and more adventures. 

 Goals to follow in another post, and some photos from the year below:

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