The last competitive biking event I did was (I think) the Dusk till Dawn 12hr enduro at Bedgebury in September 2009. I didn’t actually do too badly, especially considering that I’d been out of action for most of the summer thanks to a broken hand, sustained downhilling at Cannock. Not only that – most of the solo riders were riding svelte carbon race bikes, whilst I was on a 30something pound Whyte 46, replete with Fox 36 forks that had been stuck on 160mm till the week before the race.
Yes, 15th out of 41. And that was with a 2hr nap in the middle. I missed the event last year, but if they’re running it in 2011 then I’ll be there.
Having ridden the South Downs National Park Audax on Sunday (a tough event with some 20% climbs thrown in along with over 2000m of total ascent) I’ve decided to try to plan some more events for this year. I have aspirations both on the road and off it, and with a baby due in April I think organisation is going to be key.
I’m already booked in for the Hell of the Ashdown at the end of February, which will be followed shortly by the Puncheur Sportive. I rode most of the hills in the former back in the autumn of 2010 – the climbs were challenging but not particularly cruel. The Puncheur is quite a different animal I think – a fairly fast rolling sportive, and hopefully I can record a decent time. There is also the Wye Wednesday audax in the week running up to Hell – a not particularly hilly 200k ride that I quite fancy, weather permitting.
Another 200k in March – the Man of Kent audax. I’d also like to get up to North Wales around then for a crack at the Snowdon Rangers Track / Llanberis trail combo (before the post-Easter weekend voluntary ban comes into play), plus a route we recce’d in 2009 north of Capel Curig.
In April there should be a few TTs here and there, where I will hopefully be rolling out the completed Project Lo Pro. Having only ridden 10s up to this point (and spectacularly uneventfully) I am planning to try all the distances up to 12 hour this year. Also in April are the Tour of the Weald and the Wiggle Ups and Downs MTB sportive at Dorking.
June I’m keeping fairly free – it would be nice to escape for a few more mountainous challenges around then – maybe a trip to the Lakes, and also the Peak District. There’s an ESCA 100 mile TT on the 26th that I quite fancy before…
2nd July – La Marmotte. The biggie. I don’t want that to become the focus for the whole season though, as I have no idea how it’s going to go. Fingers crossed. I had previously thought about riding the Megavalanche the following weekend, but I think that idea is now shelved for a variety of reasons that include self-preservation and a desire to pursue a slightly more adventurous attitude where Alpine riding is concerned. I’m hoping to get back out to the Alps later in the summer for something more All Mountain in flavour.
The Kent 12hr TT takes place on 4th September, which annoyingly is the same date as the nearest Southern XC round at Pippingford. Shortly after that is the Afan round of the SixSixOne Gravity Enduro. I really fancy doing that – it should be a decent opportunity to see how my fitness stacks up against my mountain biking technique and speed downhill.
The last idea in the calendar is L’Eroica, which I’ve been planning to do for a few years now. Maybe Jess and the small child can be persuaded to come out to Gaiole in Chianti to see lots of tough Italians in wooly cycling gear riding crazily-geared bikes on the strada bianca.