I would walk 500 miles…

… well cycle 5000 actually but The Proclaimers didn’t sing about that particular feat.

So. 2010 has but a day to go and I have achieved my target of cycling 5000 miles. Not all at the one go you understand but over the course of those 364 days. In getting there I have used for the most part my Dolan Mythos road bike, notching up around 2500 miles on it. The Cape Wrath MTB made a signficant contribution too, providing 1000 of the miles, and the new Surly even managed a mention at 150 miles. The rest, for reasons I shall explain later, were done on a Taxc turbo trainer. And depite the weather misery which was December, I did manage to do the last 100 or so miles on real roads. Appropriately, the deed was done while cycling with Alan and Matthew my two trusty soigneurs (their word, not mine – I prefer to refer to them as coffee and cake bearers) on a 30 mile voyage around Ayrshire. The last 15 miles was done in the pich dark and a dense fog – equally appropriate in light of my weather misery comment – and if you’ve ever encountered an Ayrshire fog then you will truly understand the meaning of the expression “pea souper”. Or, as my dear friend referred to it on her Faceook wall the other week – a “pee souper”. Doesn’t bear thinking about really!

Anyway, from that thought of pish back to the blog post, and I’d prefer if you thought of that as a non-sequitur please. Now that my milestone achivement has been realised after but a year and three months as a “real” cyclist, how do I feel? I have a quiet sense of being pleased at the achievement, tempered sightly by the knowledge that far too many of the miles were done on the Tacx turbo trainer. However, if it hadn’t been there as an option I doubt I’d have got out at all in the months of January, February and latterly December when the snaw’n’ice hit us with a vengeance, and snaw nice was rather somewhat of an understatement. As excuses go, it’s accurate if cliched so I’m sticking to it. Which at one point I almost literally was it, such was the ice.

The highlights of 2010 probably are:
* achieving 2 metric centuries (Ardbeg committee ride in June, “3 Lochs” ride with Colin Doyle from Walkers CC in September) and 1 full century (Pedal for Scotland – September) in which I “cheated” slightly and instead of doing the proper ton route, I just went there and back on the 50 mile route.
* successfully completing the longer Braveheart route, having done the shorter one as my only formal “race” in 2009.
* 3 distance rides with Charity Adventure – Hadrian’s Wall (175 miles) Coasts & Castles (173 miles) and Amsterdame (245 miles).
* Becoming a Sky Ride Leader which allowed me to share cycling with others and perhaps give encouragement to those swithering with taking the sport up more seriously
* Raising c £1K for charities
* and last but far from least, meeting loads of new people with a common interest/passion many of whom I am still in touch with and indeed enjoying cycling with. Why I even met Scottish cycling celebs Graeme Obree and Chris Hoy and being pleasantly struck by how normal they were rather than up themselves with their own importance. That seems to be reserved for soccer “stars”.

Regrets? missing out on Etape Caledonia thru illness and the fact that as already mentioned re the use of the turbo trainer.

My 2011 targets are not going to be driven by the simple attainment of a mileage total to avoid the issue over the turbo trainer usage. In the coming year I will be concentrating on specific rides – including 3 centuries and a number of other Sportive events. In these I will be concentrating on improving times and so forth. Booked to date are:
* Perth & Kinross
* Etape Caledonia
* Trossachs Ton
* Pedal for Scotland (proper century route this time)
* Velo Club d’Ardbeg Ride of the Falling Rain (century)

But once more, the key point is not losing sight of having fun on the bike in the quest for achieving targets. Altho’ I am fiercely competitive, I have come to realise that targets are not the be all and end all. Gaining new skills, discovering new and interesting parts of the countryside and enjoying the company of cycling buddies while meeting new friends are all as important if not more so. I hope I never lose sight of that.

Now, I’ve just cycled 5000 miles. Soigneurs! Where’s my bloody CAKE!!!!

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