2014 - The Year in Retrospective

At the beginning of this year, I set myself 8 goals to aim to achieve...as the dread time of Christmas rapidly approaches, time to look back and see how I've done.

Goal 1 - Sub-23 minute 10 mile Time Trial - FAILED
Missed it by 13 seconds. I has some early mechanical teething problems with time-trialling this year (a puncture on my wheelset, which uses silly tubular tyres, and convinced me to change to the more common clinchers, but this meant that I didn't really get going until late season), and then the opportunities to ride on a fast course were limited.

Goal 2 - Sub 5-hour 100 mile ride at RideLondon - (SORT OF) FAILED
Tropical Storm Bertha did for me here, causing the event organisers to chop out 13 miles of the route, leaving only 87 miles of closed roads, which I completed in 3 hours and 41 minutes. Given the average pace was over 23mph, completing the missing 13 miles in 1 hour, 19 minutes would have been a doddle, but it was not to be...

Goal 3 - Achieve Power/Weight ratio of 5, maintain throughout the season - FAILED
My power has gone up (slightly) over the season, however I have not held to a 65kg weight (been as high as 68kg, currently about 67kg). My focus has gone away somewhat from sustained power:weight, and more towards peak top-end sprint power (and in that respect I've gone from a peak of ~800 watts up to ~1200 watts), which is more important in flat, circuit (aka criterium) bike racing.

Goal 4 - Beat every hill I face - SUCCESS!
Yep, not walked up any this year, which is a bit of a relief. I've faced the passes of the Lake District, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the mountain roads of Mallorca, as well as the slightly less epic (but typically steeper) Chiltern ramps. I've been instilling in myself a mentality of "I am good at hills", as I really believe that you can let the challenge beat you before you've even reached it.

Goal 5 - Read works by 4 new authors - SUCCESS!
A quick look at my Kindle suggests that I've actually over-achieved here, and I've read works by;

  • Jules Verne (generally not very good, tends to read as a list taken from an encyclopaedia)
  • Andy Weir (book called "The Martian". Excellent, thoroughly recommended)
  • Anne Charnock (book called "A Calculated Life". OK, nice concept, bit anaemic)
  • Chris Beckett ("Dark Eden"...great concept, looking forward to the sequel which is to be released soon)
  • Scott Shepard (a couple by him...he's a TV writer, which shows in the books, as they do very much read as a trailer-concept)
  • James S.A. Corey (just started on the Expanse series, and pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing and story-lines. A great find!)

I've also read books from authors I already know (Joe Abercrombie, Dan Abnett, Jon Courtney Grimwood, Alaistair Reynolds).

Goal 6 - Be aware of new music, add to collection where appropriate - DEFERRED
Not as good as last year, and while I've kept my ear to the ground, I've not really found much that grabs me. A few albums to fill in back-catalogues, but not really any new bands. I've done a bit better on films, catching some "I always meant to see that" ones. Probably the "why have I not seen this before" film of the year is "Scott Pilgrim vs the World", which is superb.

Goal 7 - Survive holiday with Gill's family - SUCCESS!
...and a resounding one at that. It could be claimed that I cheated by taking my bike out, and using the week as a training camp, however it still went well (apart from the last day where I crashed and was limping everywhere.

Goal 8 - Adopt and maintain a long-term healthy diet - SUCCESS!
...in the main. I've held by weight down about 5-6kg less than I was the previous year, and while I've slipped a bit in the last month (fattening up for winter I suppose), I'm about 4-6 weeks away from being "race weight".

So...4 successes, 3 failures, and a maybe. Pretty happy with that, some of the failures were a result of a shift in focus about halfway through the year, and that change will be reflected in next years goals (which are already defined for the cycling stuff, and with my coach for training plan definition). One of the main achievements from this year is that I've come away from it with a real, sustained buzz for cycling, and no feel of burn-out, which suggests that my targets are set about right, and that's definitely something to carry over to next year.