Today I finished my first ride of 2017 – dead chuffed that I’ve managed this in January as last year it took me until 19 March to get started (exactly same ride as it goes!). Took me a while to get there though – I’d resolved to get out early in January and get that all important head start. I bought myself winter tights and overshoes (how has it taken me so long to discover the merit of overshoes?!), I joined the Strava January distance and climbing challenges but watched friends climb the leaderboards ahead of me, I even joined my local club the Tavistock Wheelers but for 27 days the bike stayed in the garage as I psychologically battled with myself as I do every year!
But today that changed as my son, Sam, and I rolled out of Tavistock and took the road up to Princetown, just about as high as you can get on a Dartmoor road. En route, we took on Pork Hill and Rundlestone (in Simon Warren’s 100 Greatest Climbs in Britain) on a glorious Devon winter’s day. We were rewarded with fantastic views, quiet roads and clean fresh air and best of all an all-day breakfast at top cycling caf, Fox Tor Cafe!
We knew it would be hard but having got over that first psychological barrier the cycling bug is well and truly back! – like the ride back to Tavistock, its all downhill from here – longer and warmer sunnier days to come and more cycling to watch for inspiration (both locally in Devon and on Eurosport!) And it took us 10 minutes less than it took me in March last year! 10 minutes quicker and 50 days earlier – 2017 is going to be a great cycling year!!
This takes me neatly to my one and only cycling goal for 2017 – dead simple – Pork Hill in under 10 minutes. Pork Hill is my nemesis! We all have one don’t we? That one climb that we love and hate in equal measure – the first one we look out for following the Strava download! The climb we want to beat our friends on and to climb up the Strava leaderboard.
Pork Hill is 2km long with a climb of 150m – the first half k has a slight incline which gives way to roughly 10% gradients for the final mile. Today was my 62nd ascent (since having Strava) and my 50th fasted time – 14.27 – exactly 4 minutes behind my PB and 4 and a half minutes from my target. But today I was quicker than my first three ascents of 2016 so I’m already on my way! My target of 10 minutes ain’t actually that fast – quite a few friends frequently beat this and the Tour of Britain riders got up it in under 6 minutes in 2012! But the great thing about cycling and Strava is that we can set our own milestones and mine is a sub-10 minutes Pork Hill ascent!!
I will keep you updated on progress during the year but these things are best done by mutual encouragement – so use the comments box to tell me your main cycling goal for 2017 and lets do this together!
So happy new cycling year from me, Dan (https://www.strava.com/athletes/534967)