Saturday, 31 December 2011

Bigger And Better Things In 2012

Today is the first time in a while that I have written here, simply because my life is pretty monotonous without the excitement of sanctioned competition.  Tomorrow is a new year, and a day where I have to turn all the lost mumblings inside my head into some form of achievable, challenging and pleasing plan. Some mumblings outside my head hint that I should quit cycling and sell all of my gear to buy a car or something of equal value or store the thousands in a bank account. I say to them that I do not want to conform to the norms of society and will continue cycling and eating as I wish, although the eating needs to cut down.
The number 2012 has for a long time now been affiliated now with the London Olympics. 2012 this and 2012 that. Now, I think the olympics is a wonderful thing, a culmination of culture and competition,  a landmark of human achievement to what separates us from the survivalist nature of animals. People that complain about the 'unnecessary' amount of tax payers money that goes into the two week event and how that money could go into social housing or education have a valid point, however, without the olympics a lot of peoples sport lives would start and end with Match of the Day. The Olympics gives people an opportunity to dream, to be inspired and provides role models for people that are wandering aimlessly in life. It motivates people to put their physical talents to good use and if a generation of young people became champions and related jobs in a number of sports that make up the Olympics, the large amount of money that goes into such an event would be well spent because it got lazy obese people of their sofas and encouraged them to make something of their lives. Not to mention the direct benefits of jobs, such as building the venues and large amount of affordable housing once the games have finished. 

The 2008 Beijing games is what I believe thrust cycling into the mainstream. The haul of medals obtained by the Great British Cycling Team because almost legendary amongst cycling folklore and have become a national pride. I can happily say that I became obsessed with cycling firmly before the exploits of sir Chris Hoy in 2008. The 2012 games have an opportunity to yet again thrust cycling further into the mainstream. I know that we have a long way before cycling in Britain has similar coverage to that of Belgium, or other European countries, but every journey starts with one step and we have travelled quite a distance since the 2008 games. Mark Cavendish winning the Sports Personality of the Year is a testament to that, although I'm quite surprised that there wasn't a big reaction to when he swore several times on live television during this years Tour de France. 
I could spend a lot more time and space writing about what is good and great in this world, but as the name of this blog suggests, that would be slightly off topic. 

Now, for 2012, I want to do the same as I did in 2011, however, a lot more of it this time. I have gained valuable knowledge about the cycle race, where to position myself, when to attack, who to attack with etc etc. As well as knowledge, I am also a year older, meaning I am a year stronger too. Looking back on last year, I seemed to train aimlessly. To little or too much, at too easy or too hard an intensity, maybe even not often enough. I once read somewhere that there is something called a 'sweet spot' for training, where the intensity is just right to get the maximum gains from your efforts. In the last few weeks I believe I have been training on this sweet spot because I'm starting to see gains. Easier hill climbing and a more efficient pedalling style. 
For next year, I'm hoping to have around 30 races on the calendar with two being stage races. Also, the Tommy Simpson Memorial road race this year is a Junior National Calendar. I raced the course twice this year so hopefully I'll have a bit of an advantage among my peers. I'm also hoping that Yorkshire has a Junior Team in mind for the other National Series races because I cant afford to travel around the country and an opportunity like that would be great. The two stage races next year is the Holme Valley 2-Day and the Junior Tour of Wales. The Tour is only possibly if I get onto a team because that too has expenses to be paid so touch wood. 
Looking on the BC calendar, there seems to be something called a Yorkshire Road Race league so it'll be nice what format the 'league' takes. 
Once again I am targeting Otley as a major race simply because of the crowds. To be able to win in front of 4000+ people and in front of some very big domestic teams would be an amazing experience. I've learnt my lesson and this time I'll make sure I dont have any broken spokes and listen to the commentary. 
My racing bike is still coming together. Its the same frame and wheels, however, there are some major upgrades. From Veloce this year I am moving up to Campagnolo Record throughout. Brakes are going to be some pimping red Ciamollo Zero Gravity's with finishing kit from FSA. FSA K-Force Light cranks complete the drivetrain with ceramic bearings. The bike itself is looking pretty amazing as it is now (without brakes or shifters) and will only look better when completed. 
Also, courtesy of my sponsor I have received some top of the range kit. From Pennine Cycles I have received a Giro Pro-light helmet, Giro Pro-light shoes and a pair of Giro Filter glasses. Ive been wearing the shoes for a month or two now and I have to say they are the best cycling shoes I have ever used. I feel the same with the glasses which have a neat catch mechanism that lets you replace the lenses without using an excessive amount of pressure, therefore keeping you greasy fingers of the lenses, something my fellow cafe racing riders havent quite been able to get the hang off. Hopefully, I'll be a trendy billboard for one of the best bike shops in Britain - Pennine Cycles.
In terms of goals, my for next year is to get my 1st category license which is joint in priority to get on a high-level team for the year after. Lower down the ranking is to win races, but through winning races hopefully I'll achieve my other two goals. 
Well I think thats everything for the time being. Oh, my first race is the Clayton Spring road race followed by the traditional season opener- Eddie Soens.

Stava is a GPS app for cycling and tracks your ride and records all the common statistics. Here is a link to my profile. Not every ride is recorded because some days I am unable to get a GPS signal, but the other days ride are on there somewhere. Strava Peter B

Thanks for reading this far - Peter.

"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves."
-- Bill Vaughan

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