The New Year is on the horizon, and naturally with it comes thoughts of change, new challenges and resolutions. When it comes to cycling, there is one that’s on the top of my list – and lets not call it a resolution, but a goal: to embrace Road Cycling in 2016 on BaadGyal.
2015 was an eye opener for me on two wheels – there was the mix of not riding nearly as much or as far as I should have done (and that’s me setting my own standards) but when I did do longer rides, they were absolute whoppers that made me want to ride more. But then I didn’t find the time to… and the slightly vicious circle continued. Breaking that pattern next year has to be done, and I already know that my Aprire will play a massive part of that. Schemes and plans have been brewing away in my mind since getting her back in October, and I’m itching to execute them… but at my own pace. As I’ve said before, I’m not embarrassed about not being the most clued-up when it comes to road cycling and there is nothing wrong with that. The whole thing can seem like a dark art that needs to be mastered, and I hope that this journey will demystify the path of getting into it.
Putting myself under crazy amounts of pressure to do this isn’t the route I’m going down… that doesn’t work for me and never will. Chances are that’ll strip out one of the biggest bonuses of burning it up on a road bike – the FUN of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting this to be an easy ride or a seamless transition, but I’m looking forward to 2016 being the year I relish all the challenges I’ll encounter, and doing this with a smile on my face at the beginning and the end will be so worth it.
This year I had two big tasters of how good it can be just getting out there, and they left me wanting more: taking on both Eroica Britannia and L’Eroica within 4 months of each other. Even though I’d done Britannia the year before and stuck to the same route, it was still hard (never underestimate the power of the Peak District just because you’ve cycled it once Jools…) so when L’Eroica was on the cards, I jumped at the chance. The Tuscan hills were a totally different beast to the rolling countryside of Bakewell, and there were PLENTY of moments when I was on that saddle thinking “What fresh hell is this?!”… but for every climb and descent that came and was conquered, there was an overwhelming sense of “HELL, YES!” that took over my mind. That was one of the best feelings ever – covered in mud, in the driving rain and loving it… that was something I never thought I’d experience and actually want to do again.
The idea of only getting on a road bike for events like that and nothing else doesn’t sit that well with me anymore – and I blame the thrill of the freedom I felt for that. It’s now become a feeling I want to experience on a very regular basis, and having BaadGyal by my side means that I’m lucky enough to have that opportunity. I have what is probably the road bike of my dreams in my hands – designed with me in mind, and hopefully we’ll become almost inseparable over the course of 2016. This is going to be the year I grab that bike by the drops and go for it.
There are so many things on the agenda for riding her – some elements of it will be alien to me, but at the very route of it is the one thing I do know how to do… ride a bike and enjoy the feeling! Whether I’m having a mini freak-out about what shoes to get for riding clipped in and doing for the first time, trying to figure out what nutrition or energy gels are best to scoff on long rides, or wondering if I’ll get dropped from every peloton I try to cycle with, my love of being on two wheels will be at the heart of it. I’m not going to lose sight of that, and knowing that I will have friends to ride with and guide me is exactly the boost that I need to keep me going too.
I’m excited about what 2016 is going to bring on that saddle, and suspect that I’ll be learning not just about road cycling, but a fair bit about myself when I get into it. It’s funny to think that something as simple as a bicycle could end up changing a lot of stuff for me… but like I said, I’m looking forward to the challenge, having some fun with it and taking in as much as possible along the way.
Here’s to hopes, dreams and new discoveries with BaadGyal, and a New Years Revolution. I’ll be speaking warts’n’all about this journey, so I hope you’re ready for the ride… see you in 2016.