This is a quick one – when I’ve written stuff up previously, it’s been off the back of either a specific event or a topic. This one’s a bit more general – it’s about how I’m hoping my 2020 on bikes will shape up. In short I want to sharpen up how I push myself. I’m going to do this with audaxing and racing, but non-UCI accredited racing, such as the grassroots ‘ultra distance’ events and the unaffiliated fixed crit series which I’ll come onto a little later.
My immediate priority is preparation for some audaxes I have lined up in the weeks leading up to mid-May. The itinerary starts with some 200s and my first trip to the ‘Dirty Reiver’ (130 km) but the most fierce step-up is the famous London-Wales-London 400, which is in the first weekend of May. This is all a warm-up act for All Points North, which’s in the last May bank holiday starting at 8pm the Friday. I am also informed that Emily Chappell and other luminaries will be lining up.
Once that’s out the way and the sun’s out, the first order of summertime cycling is the ‘Steele Roads and Woolly Hills 400‘, in June starting in Darlington. Deano, the organiser, advises that approximately 15% of it is gravel/bridleway, which he ominously promises is “the bit you will remember.”
I am weighing up entering the French audax ‘Les Douze Cents 1200‘. This is a pretty ferocious looking 1200 which is almost a constant climb for the first 700, and after that it’s all downhill. The time allowance is 94 hours. This would amount to being a seriously hard ride, by far the gnarliest thing I’ve ever tried my hand at. On the other hand it does give me something really big to train for and work up towards. What I think I’m more likely to enter is the ‘Milles Pennines 1000‘ which is no slouch but approximately half the elevation and a little shorter. It also means I don’t incur any faff in getting to France and back.
Racing in 2020
As a now ex-British Cycling member (I resigned my membership in January), I am unable to participate in most races, but there is a growing unaffiliated racing scene which I am interested in being involved with.
New age fun with a vintage feel
Firstly is the fixed gear criterium racing league, such as the Thundercrit series and the Fixed Beers series. These won’t get going until the summertime but I’m looking forward to getting stuck in. I own a pretty decent fixed gear bike and I can put drops on it no problems. It can be a bit of a mission to get to some racing venues such as Hillingdon and Redbridge Cycling Centre but I do intend to give it a decent go. These events do cost, but it isn’t unreasonable and there is no yearly licence fee as with ‘affiliated’ racing.
The Racing Collective: Free-of-charge, technology-based racing
What I’m really interested in checking out are the ‘Racing Collective‘; these are a series of long-distance races, often on mixed terrain, which are managed using GPS alone. This means there is no need to pay for marshals, hire courses etc, so the races are 100% free to enter. I will write up a post about how they go once I get stuck in. It would be really great to see cycle racing being more inclusive and affordable using increasingly affordable technologies like how these guys are doing.
Thanks for reading
I’ve not written up much in the past few weeks; plans have often been written-off owing to weather and my new job. I hope to be publishing more regularly as I get back into my cycling mojo.