My 12000k

Today seems a little strange…

I feel lost and uncomfortable. It’s the first time in twelve months that that I haven’t felt like I should be on my bike rackin’ up the distance.

The Challenge

At the start of the year (2017) I decided I would try and average 1000 kilometres a month, for the year. More than I had ever ridden in a calendar year…by some distance. Come the end of the year I wanted 12,000 kilometres on the books, in the legs, or however you want to put it.

Living in England (poor weather, and even worse roads), I decided kilometres done in the gym could count towards the total. I always knew I’d get substantially more done out on the road anyway (there’s only so long you can stand pushing pedals sat in a room), so gym time would just be to keep things ticking over in the winter months. Then in the autumn, I decided I could probably get it all done out on the road, so I stopped recording distance done on the spinners.

It’s Done!

12,730 kilometres, 448 Hours, and a lot of calories later…it’s done.

I have no idea who Patrik is…I assume he cycles in the New Forest a lot.

In the grand scheme of things…it’s cute at best. But with a full time job, and with the abysmal weather, roads and drivers the UK has to offer…it is at least noteworthy. One thing is certain, it’s been an obsession. It’s taken over my life for the past year, but it’s a year that had an immense sense of purpose.

Lessons

This year has taught me a lot about goal setting challenges, Perhaps more importantly about where to start when the first step seems so insignificant it’s hardly worth taking. So many lessons in fact that they should probably be devoted to another post. For brevity sake I’ll cherry pick a few words of (relative) wisdom.

Go big, go long! Big challenges that aren’t done overnight are the hardest, but my god they’re rewarding. Of course break them down into manageable chunks. I did this into months, weeks and even days. We need this to keep our sanity. The satisfaction and sense of achievement this year has given me has been incredible. Kicking though that last kilometre is a feeling that will stay with me for a long time. It’s sparked something inside that has spurred me to do more, aim higher and suffer harder, in anticipation that the reward will be even more satisfying.

Just Do It!

“Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.”

Julius Erving

Okay, so I’m not a pro cyclist (no matter how much I shave my legs), but the whole “on the days you don’t feel like it” part is key. It’s easy to do things when you’re in the mood, it’s doing it when your’e not that separates you from everyone else. There were days when there were ready made excuse there for me to use, most recently in this particular case – Christmas Day. It was cold, wet and windy (the devils threesome in cycling terms). It would have been easy to sit on the sofa and do nothing, but I pushed the excuse aside and put in three hours in the saddle. It’s moments like that that can stack up make a difference between achieving and not achieving.

Thanks

Setting out on this challenge was no secret, that was by design. I shared my goal with people close to me/anyone that would listen. Personally, I didn’t really need the extra motivation. But there was certainly a sense of not wanting to fail or look silly by falling short of the target. The real point of mentioning this here, was so that I could publicly say thanks to a handful of people who genuinely seemed to care about me doing this as much as I did. To these people, you know who you are. Thank you…you’re awesome.

The 2018 challenge has been set!

Finally

I love riding my bike, I love the freedom, I love being in nature and for some reason…I especially love the suffering. I’m yet to discover an activity I enjoy more in this world.

That said, during the near 450 hours I spent on the road by myself this year, there was one driving force that focused me more than anything…Chris. I could never have imagined riding twelve thousand kilometres and not being with you for a single one of them. I am certain you were the wind at my back on the days where my legs just wouldn’t kick.

My friend…My brother…Forever my angel.