Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole ValleyMuddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Cycling News, Reviews, Chat and Ride reports

2021 – Looking back to look forward

Posted by Matt | January 3, 2022 | Leave a comment

Strava 2021 round up graphic
Well here we are again. A new year, which means my annual review of my cycling year in numbers.

It turned out that from a cycling perspective – and for the time being lets just focus on that – 2021 was quite the year.

A year of local rides, for local people. A year, once again of no foreign cycling for me, not even this time out of the South East. A year where my biggest ride was ‘just’ 80 miles on my gravel/road bike. And yet, a year that saw me smash my annual record and notch up 4712 miles, up from about 4000 in 2020!

I’m very proud of that, if a little annoyed not to have reached the magical 5000 miles.

The shortfall equates to just 5.5 miles a week extra after all, but there were times when I was just too tired to ride further. I did at least manage to ride every week of the year, my average distance per ride went up from 15 to 18 miles and the final tally represents an average mileage of 90 miles a week, so it’s definitely worth focussing on the positives.

I do wonder what 2022 will bring. After two years in which I have accumulated nearly 9000 miles I am definitely in the riding groove but much also depends on externalities. I am grateful for riding company and Tony, Lloyd and myself have established a core of mid-week evening rides that several others have joined when they can. Both Lloyd and JR however have the landing gear down on their retirement glide paths which I hope won’t affect our routine too much. But we said that about Kev…

Breaking down the numbers

Last year I highlighted the extra miles I had done on my Trek District singlespeed and I’m pleased to say things have continued very much in the same pattern.

This time I have added 1067 miles on the singlespeed which has become my default mode of transport to and from Leatherhead or to Ashtead to visit family. The other day a chilled dude saw me on the bike and came over all Bill and Ted, with an almost literal ‘Duuude! is that a belt drive singlespeed? Coool!’ It made me feel good I have to say! I also have to thank Tony for donating an unused bike rack which has meant I can now use a pannier on the bike, so much better than a backpack (as Gordon will doubtless agree).

The Trek is probably getting due some new tyres, I am still on the originals after 2800 miles which are now very cut up. But the thing just keeps on trucking.

The other filip this year has been the Bird Aether 9, a bike that has had 1200 miles put on it since March. I love it and it deserves a write up soon.

Bike 2021 Mileage Frame total
Bike:Cannondale Topstone 105SE 2020 Mileage:1739.10 Frame total:5252.20
Bike:YT Jeffsy AL 2020 Mileage:21.60 Frame total:3124.40
Bike:Bird Aether 9 2020 Mileage:1177.60 Frame total:1177.60
Bike:Bird Zero AM 2020 Mileage:509.70 Frame total:1695.50
Bike:Trek District 2020 Mileage:1067.70 Frame total:2834.00
Bike:Specialized Secteur Elite 2020 Mileage:196.80 Frame total:12944.50

2021 Riding

I’ve already given a few indicators of riding through last year. It really was pretty local and I don’t even need a Strava heat map to tell me that. My one regret is not riding in France or somewhere overseas as I love my annual week of riding around the back roads of the agri-machine that is France’s countryside. Any plans for 2022 are necessarily tempered by the times we are in, but I hope to get over there at some point in the coming year.

Closer – much closer – to home, my longest ride was from my own front door – a big loop of the Surrey Hills on the tarmac on a perfect July day with MarkJ for company. We went from Bookham to Dorking to Ranmore to Cranleigh, then across to Ockham, Rusper, Charlwood and up to Leigh and Reigate. Sore legs at the end of that!

On the mountain bike side, there’s been lots of local trails as we are spoilt for choice. My favourite trails have been Alfred Pennyworth, Rumble in the Jungle and further along the Ranmore ridge Petrol Pump never fails to deliver. Plus of course, the Holmbury and Pitch trails. My biggest disappointment recently was Leith Hill – the unnofficial stuff appears poorly maintained or actively discouraged but I have a mental note to explore Redlands a bit more.

We have also started to build in a regular non-gnarr ride over to the Wisley area simply for variety. Any ride is a good ride in my book and if the terrain is less severe, just take a simpler bike to keep it interesting!

Weighing in at…

So I always mention my weight because it is something I’ve always been conscious of. I’ve been 11st 2/3lbs for years (probably a couple of decades) but this year my weight has somehow dropped 10lbs to about 10st 6lbs. I assume the increased activity and a working from home set up that has allowed me to eat smaller but more frequent meals has helped. My weight is not quite stable as it depends on hydration and, er… Christmas! but I think I am now in the right ballpark.

I would say three things:

  1. Losing weight makes a massive difference on the hills. Even I can feel it and I don’t consider myself to be especially strong aerobically.
  2. Losing weight is one thing but I think I have lost muscle mass along with some fat. I’m benefitting from the power to weight benefits but I need to build more strength i.e. muscle.
  3. It’s diet, not exercise that has the biggest effect. I think I have the calorie levels about right but need to increase protein and reduce fat for better recovery and strength building.

To support those last points – I haven’t yet worked out what muscle building I need to do but think it is the basics – chest, arms and shoulders and deadlifting. Nothing fancy, just something to support an active body where at the moment I’m doing nothing. This is easy to say and there is always the caveat of ‘the best laid plans’ but losing the initial weight has laid the groundwork at least.

With that, I now need to look forward to 2022. There’s lots I have in mind both on this site and on the bike but one thing is very much needed which is a much more consistent writing and posting pattern around here. The last few years have been patchy because work is a demanding mistress, but my next posts will explain more.

Happy 2022 riding everyone.

Filed under Mutterings in January 2022

Matt

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 Bird Zero AM Boost.

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.

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