21 Things

Well, that one went by very quickly. Another year older and in theory at least, a bit wiser. Very soon after my last birthday I learned one thing, century rides in the Winter are not a good form of celebration. This time round I have done the usual thing and left making plans right till the last minute. For a while I toyed with the idea of running a Half Marathon, 21km for 21 years has a nice ring to it. That was before I felt the twinge in my ankles after running a mere five miles one day last week. Probably not the best idea. A 21 mile ride? Well, looking at the weather forecast that one probably isn’t gonna happen either. So to that end I’m going to make it easy for myself – here are 21 things I have learned in the past year.

  1. Once again I can’t stress this one enough. Century rides in winter are not, I repeat NOT a good form of celebration. You will come back tired, hungry and covered in mud.
  2. When going on a Cycling trip always bring spare tyres. Because there is aways the possibility that your rubber will end up getting ruined, if not for the generosity of fellow riders this can easily be a ride-ending complication.
  3. When Mountain Biking do not get distracted because you might up crashing into a tree and spraining your wrist.
  4. Switching sports half way through the season is very hard.
  5. Wetsuits are very tricky to get on and off. It is perfectly possible that not learning how to to do it can ruin a race performance.
  6. When going to the Gym for the first time in months and trying not to look conspicuous, wearing a fluorescent green running top will not help your cause.
  7. Open water swimming is scary. For heavens sake practice it before your event.
  8. You can’t beat fish and chips for a post-race meal. Okay, from a nutrition point of view you certainly can but I’m talking about sheer enjoyment.
  9. Check your crank bolts, if they look worn then change them. Do not, for example leave them in place until you can’t remove them and have to resort to the local bike shop.
  10. Do not let your ego get in the way of your Triathlon pacing strategy. You may end up going quicker on the bike leg but the run will be an embarrassment.
  11. If Road Racing doesn’t turn out to be your thing then just stop doing it and find other outlets for that competitive side. It’ll be one of the best sporting decisions you ever make.
  12. Always check your kit bag before leaving for an event. It would be terrible to say, forget your helmet and have to drive back home in the small hours in order to go and retrieve it.
  13. Don’t eat a big meal before doing a Time Trial, your Skinsuit will make the resulting bulge in your stomach obvious to all your competitors.
  14. Check your Garmin is charged before going out for a long ride. Trying to navigate the old fashioned way just doesn’t work – especially if you have no sense of direction.
  15. Make sure your saddlebag always contains an emergency tenner, if not you might miss out on that piece of Carrot Cake you’ve ridden all the way to a particular Cafe for.
  16. Grit your teeth and finish the race. The feeling you get at the end will be worth it.
  17. Enjoy the social side of Cycling. Gruelling solo training rides have their place but so do easy spins to the Cafe with your mates.
  18. Mudguards are awesome. They might not look attractive but they’ll keep you dry on those winter Club rides.
  19. Off road riding is hard but good fun. Who doesn’t enjoy jumping over rocks and falling afoul of the odd tree stump?
  20. You really don’t need that new bike. But get it anyway because life is just too short to not allow yourself the odd carbon fibre indulgence.
  21. Have fun. If you’re not a professional athlete then why not take some pressure off yourself and stop taking everything so seriously? You’ll feel miles better for it.

Well, that’s just about all I can think of. I’m sure in a years time a great deal will have happened; success, failure, triumphs, defeats, races I’ll always want to remember and ones I’ll do my best to forget. As always I will let you know how it goes. Finally, thank you to family and friends especially those who have had to put up with me for the full 21 years. Here’s to many more.

Thanks for reading

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4 thoughts on “21 Things

  1. Happy Birthday! Try 21 minutes on Zwift. It’s dry in Watopia. The lesson I hope you learn best is the packing the helmet one 😀.

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