Things haven't exactly been going to plan since april. It turns out being grown up is harder work than anticipated and riding 2 stage races and a 24h race in the space of 2 months kind of screws your body up!
Form promised to return post bike fest in june with some solid 10mile tt performances but that was quickly wiped out by the epic mud fest that Mountain Mayhem followed a week later by the Black mountain 3 day. Needless to say I cracked spectacularly on the last day after 2 mediocre performances and abandoned half way through. There and then my season was over in my head. I was planning a strong finish to the year riding solo at the Torq 12 and the Kielder 100 but quite honestly I was tired and couldn't be bothered with travelling, racing and training in the rain!
So after a chilled out few weeks enjoying time in my new flat (complete with sexy girl friend!)I decided to get back on my bike, but only when it wasn't raining. Since then I've just been riding for fun and am beginning to enjoy riding again. No pressure, no races, no targets just riding.
Well I say no racing. There were a couple of cheeky races. First up was the Brighton Big Dog, my local race on local trails. I was determined to ride but in all honesty was riding like a bag of spanners and my main aim was to go the distance! That turned out to be a big enough goal in its self. I was reasonably ok for the first 3h riding with James Porter for company, but then he punctured and I stared to tire and things got grizzly. I have to admit I've been super slack with my core strength for the past year. I paid the price at the Cape Epic and once again at the bigdog. My back was so sore, my lungs hurt, my chest hurt, my legs hurt in actual fact it felt as though I was entering the last hour of a 24h solo! This wasn't suppose to be happening!
I ploughed on though, remarkably in 4th position, but was no threat to the podium and bribed my self; if i wanted to go out and enjoy the excess of the post race party I must finish. I made it in the end but have never felt so broken in a race. It was a real reality check on the state of my fitness. I have never felt so ruined after a race before. To make matters worse my girl friend dropped me on the way home from the after party at 5am!
This time my season was 100% over, no more bike riding until I'm strong. That was until Craig Bowles emailed me asking if I wanted to do a pair at Torq 12. Of course I didn't, my season was over. For some reason I still said yes though!
So off I went to Torq 12. Again form was not great. I had zero top end but still knocked out 39-40min laps consistently until the last hour. I cracked again! Luckily Craig is super strong even when he's 'not training' and we took home 2nd in the mens pairs.
Now that was certainly it for the year. Next up was a new experience for me: Eurobike. A week in Germany looking at what the cycling world has to offer in 2013, talking to Germans and eating sausages! Euro Bike was a great experience and I'm now convinced I need a disc brake road bike!
On my way home I had a cheeky ride out in Zurich with my friend Cait Elliot who I race Andalucia Bike race with the previous year. I had my kit but no bike. Luckily she had a 17inch hard tail for me to borrow. It felt like I was riding a kids bike but was great fun! Cait has a nice 10min DH track a mile from her flat which was the perfect antidote after a week of standing up in an exhibition hall.
After a 40min climb it was flat out on the kids bike down the hill. It certainly brought a smile back and made me realise why I love cycling so much.
Now I'm getting excited about 2013. Lots of plans, not so many races, but hopefully some wins!