Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Christmas is coming but I’m trying not to get fat!

Posted by Matt | December 2, 2013 | 11 comments so far

This weekend saw the gun firing on the Christmas season. Earlier than usual, I’ve seen FB friends posting pictures of their newly decorated homes, all taking advantage of the first of December falling on a weekend. We even have the tree up at our place after our kids declared it Christmas now the advent calendars are in play!

All the signs point toward a long month of over-eating and under-exercising. What that means for us cyclists though is that all that later summer fitness which we’ve been surfing on for the past couple of months can no longer be taken for granted.

In fact, I’ve hit the hibernation zone a bit early. Last month was a poor month for my riding activities despite a lot of Mole action from everybody else. I’ve had a minor virus and a level of exhaustion that I blame on double ended candle burning (stop it Lee…) which has meant I haven’t made many Molefather appearances. Dave, coincidentally, is also in the Emergency Ward and has probably reached the ‘medical experiment’ stage of treatment.

Grand Mole Kev has also been out of action with man-flu like symptoms (note man-flu, not flu-like!) but has started on a recovery path.

Dandy and Jonesy (possibly the name of a new comedy act) are still just about in one piece but Krazy Karl has now gone and broken his fibula (ouch Karl, get well soon…). All in all, it’s a sorry state of affairs and only a matter of time before Markymark the Weatherman declares a sinus infection.

So what can we do? This time of year is notorious not only for illness, but also the call of the duvet. Don’t moles hibernate?

Well, not this one. I’ve hatched a plan which I’m calling ’10K a Day’ with the aim of riding for a minimum of six miles a day through December. I did it a couple of years ago and it turned out to be a really good way of keeping the effects of homemade mince pies and icecream at bay (I had two last night). The ’10K a Day’ rules are pretty self explanatory, but I allow any kind of riding – commuting, mountain biking, road, urban lifestyle, anything goes. In an effort to wind up Colin with the minutiae of my riding, it all has to be Strava logged.

The benefit is that by riding every day you get accustomed to being outside which means the cold, dark, grey days (and nights) seem far less intimidating. Rather than thinking it’s all far too cold and not knowing what to do to layer up without overheating – and using it as an excuse to stay home – you end up pretty clued up about what you need to wear to stay warm and pretty well organised about getting out. By January, you know you’ve ridden through the darkest – if not the bleakest – part of the year and hopefully there’s a solid base for the year ahead.

Last time I did this I really felt I’d kept off the winter blues, even if I was pretty tired by the end of it. That’s why I’m allowing any riding, at any pace, with the aim being to make a positive out of this annual negative.

If anyone wants to keep me company on rides that are likely to be shorter and less intense in general, let me know. For example, my first ’10K a Day’ ride yesterday was 12 miles on a meandering loop from Bookham to Effingham and back into Leatherhead on the road, at about 15.5mph, taking about 45 minutes.

I expect to get some decent mountain bike miles in of course, it’s just that time and weather might not always allow it.

It will be interesting to see how I feel by month end!


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 11 comments on ‘Christmas is coming but I’m trying not to get fat!’

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  1. AJKiwi says:

    Haha speak for yourself on the over eating leading up to Xmas… i definately wont get a chance to do that this year.
    Agree it is always easier to get out on the bike if you set a goal and its not so bad the cold you just get used to it really although am currently in France and riding at -3 for a few days in a row made me realise I need to add one more layer on.
    So my goal is to ride 6 out of 7 days and will be training for the Cape Epic next year so the next few months will include long miles miles on the bike and expect some very cold ones too so I too will join in on your “10km” a day december except mine will be more like 25km plus per day ;0).

    • Matt says:

      AJ, you really know how to burst someone’s bubble!

      I guess the whole thing is relative, a lot of people commute everyday and think nothing of it but I’m starting from a low base and will be pleased if come the New Year I’m feeling positive rather than exhausted.

      Good luck in the Cape Epic hmmm High Summer in SA, sounds terrible!

  2. Dandy says:

    ‘Alas Dandy & Jones’ has a familiar ring to it, and our riding is certainly a comedy double-act 🙁 Good luck with the 10k a day challenge, and let me know if you’re at home during the day in case it coincides with a WFH day. I’m trying to take advantage of living so close to the trails by sneaking out for shorter (but maybe not sharper) rides whenever I get the opportunity, so bring on the mince pies.

    Should be out for a swift one first thing tomorrow, and hope to be out Wed evening having finally shifted my own dose of man-flu that I was struggling with for a week and a half.

  3. KevS says:

    As an antidote to your 10k a day I shall be consuming 10 mince pies a day during December 🙂

  4. StevenD says:

    6 miles ? I just could not stop at 6 miles. It takes that to warm up and even longer in time to get ready, well unless I wear jeans. 😆

    To put it another way; 6 miles per day = 186 miles in December. No way I will manage the former, but the latter.. that sounds reasonable assuming I do not fall off (like last month) and nothing major breaks on the bike, because I only have one bike.

    Matt, good luck on getting out every day, especially over christmas (family and all that). I am all for setting goals, and as a wise mole once said; ‘the riding you do in the winter makes your fitter for the summer’.

    • Matt says:

      Steven, you’re quite right, 6 miles is nothing. I’ve chosen that as my minimum mileage but in practice it tends to be more; for example this week I’ve done 62 miles in 4 days and have not done less than 10.5 miles on each day.

      The point is it’s hard to sustain. 4 days is nothing, 31 consecutive days is another thing entirely as there’s mental as well as physical effects to take account of. It does get you very tired if you’re trying to hit PBs all the time or trying to bang out a higher mileage.

      Tonight I will be lucky to do 6 miles as I am busy taxiing kids around and there’s the prediction of bad weather heading south later on – 6 miles in rain and wind will feel plenty! Later this month there’s a Xmas meal directly after work, so I need a plan to make sure I ride my miles that day without getting in the way of my wife’s need to get to work in the morning.

      Then there’s Christmas itself to combat… the possibility of head colds… and so on…

      Reckon you could manage those 186 miles though with your track record this year!

  5. stevend says:

    Matt, how is the month going ? I am laid up in bed with a heavy cold so hoping you stay fit and well to complete your goal.

    • Matt says:

      Sorry to hear that Steven. So far I’m on target, today is day 10 of my challenge and I’ve reached 135.5 miles up to last night.

      Truth be told I’m riding very conservatively as I burned out a couple of years ago when I tried this. So I’m doing steady paced rides, relatively non-technical, a fair bit of road mixed in and we’ll see how it goes. It’s interesting to see how the conditions are gradually deteriorating, last night was damp and a little more slippy over roots, and there’s deep, trail obscuring leaves everywhere!

      There’s also the small matter of my wife having a rotten head cold which I’m desperate to avoid!

  6. Colin says:

    “In an effort to wind up Colin with the minutiae of my riding, it all has to be Strava logged”

    Lol, easily sorted that one !

  7. Related: 10K a Day: Hitting the buffers - Lifestyle, Mutterings - Muddymoles

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