What can I say? Here I am again with another year of riding under my wheels. And in some ways, that’s been a problem. Alas, time only goes forward.
First, a re-cap
2021 was my best ever year for mileage, topping out at 4,712 miles but frustratingly shy of 5,000 miles. I had high hopes for better things for 2022 but found myself chasing my mileage target of about 90 miles a week almost from the very beginning.
It wasn’t for the want of trying. For much of the year I was there or thereabouts, certainly within range of at least equalling 2021 which would have been an achievement itself. But the signs were not good.
What were the signs?
Well, now that we had a family dog it needed walking and this increasingly became my responsibility as the year progressed. I actually walked getting on for 1,000 miles last year! But the knock on effect was a lot less time to cycle for errands on my Trek District singlespeed.
Another sign if I’d cared to see was starting to include Zwift miles in my stats. Not actually that much Zwifting really, but enough to keep me away from ‘real’ cycling. I know, I know. Zwifting is hard… but you do risk that ‘ride in all weathers’ mentality as a result.
Yet another indicator was that I didn’t manage any big rides last year. The longest ride was our New Forest gravel ride at 45 miles, followed by a singlespeed ‘commute’ to Redhill on the Trek at 37 miles.
So looking back it was easy to say the signs of bike burnout were there. But what really changed things was my crash at Bike Park Wales at the start of September.
It wasn’t a massive deal really. A high speed slide out resulted in lots of bruises, a deep cut over the eyebrow but more importantly a bang on the head. Enough to induce mild concussion, not something I have ever done before, but enough to give pause for thought.
It left me with painful hands from sore thumb joints and a sore elbow for over three months – making me wonder what effect there was on the inside of my head too – but I recently read this article by Alicia Legett at Pinkbike about her post-crash recovery that really made me count my blessings.
Coupled with some frustrations with my bike situation and other things going on outside cycling – notably Covid in mid June – and my mileage for the last quarter of 2022 tailed off markedly. Some weeks I didn’t ride at all, an unheard of situation. I just didn’t have any real interest in doing anything much at all, which meant when I did ride it was with much reduced fitness!
This is all a long explanation to say my final 2022 mileage total was 3,527 miles, my lowest since 2019. But let’s keep this in context; that’s still my third highest annual mileage ever so no reason to be negative. It’s just… I’d like to say I’ve cracked the enthusiasm thing but really I’m not there yet. It will come, and there’s plenty of time this year to correct things but I think it’s really important not to force it.
How did the numbers breakdown?
I not was surprised to see my biggest drop in mileage came from the Trek urban bike, down 54% with just 577 miles. I wasn’t expecting miles on the gravel bike to suffer so much though, a bike I love riding. In 2022 I managed about 1700 miles, this year just 1100 – 35% fewer miles.
Compared to that, the Aether faired better, just 17% fewer miles and the rest of the fleet got used in similar amounts to the year before (assuming you substitute the Pace hardtail for the Bird AM Zero).
I suppose this reflects my comments previously; fewer long rides affected the gravel/tarmac bike and the dog walking affected time on the Trek.
|Bike||2022 Mileage||Frame total|
|Bike:Cannondale Topstone 105SE||2022 Mileage:1106.01||Frame total:6358.21|
|Bike:Bird Aether 9||2022 Mileage:980.15||Frame total:2157.75|
|Bike:Pace RC627||2022 Mileage:566.69||Frame total:566.69|
|Bike:Trek District||2022 Mileage:577.92||Frame total:3411.92|
|Bike:Specialized Secteur Elite||2022 Mileage:297.50||Frame total:12944.50|
I’m not going to rehearse my weight here, unlike last year. Suffice to say the issues I identified then remain and I need to do more strength work. This is readily apparent as I try to pick up my miles – unusually I’ve had leg cramps from tired muscles and numerous tension headaches from sore shoulders as the early miles of the New Year exact their toll.
At the same time, riding lots, then riding very little in the last quarter has had a predictable effect on my weight. I’m still pretty light, but I know what and where the difference is.
All these things should improve as I ride more.
But there’s more to health than weight and strength and aerobic fitness. For me I’ve been floored by the length of time it took to recover post my BPW accident and I’m still waiting for my thumbs joints to stop aching. Similarly, that blow on the head took me by surprise and I hope to write more on that in due course.
None of the above in my opinion was helped by catching Covid mid-June – mercifully mild, in retrospect I think it has had a disproportionate affect on the rest of the year – my Strava stats were already trending downward before my later accident.
So, in summary it was a mixed year and one that proves you should not take too much for granted. I hope the coming year will bring miles, and smiles and you never know, a new bike.
Now that would be nice!