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2020 Cycling Year in Review

OK, I know. It’s now March. I’m a bit late on this post, it should really be completed by the end of January I suppose. To be honest I did think about leaving it out this time around and starting my year on the blog with something different but 2020 was definitely a year with plenty to talk about!

So 2020 will be remembered for the year of the COVID19 pandemic. The virus outbreak began in 2019 in East Asia but it was March 2020 before it hit the UK and the affects were felt worldwide. For me, I began 2020 with quite a lot of work trips. Once up to Aberdeen in Scotland, across to the company European office in The Netherlands and over to Gothenburg for PCR training. The PCR training in particular became quite significant during the year as qPCR became the go to test for COVID testing. But on a personal level all this travelling meant that I didn’t get a great deal of cycling opportunities.

Stopping off on the way up to Scotland to complete this ride – http://spokerevolutions.co.uk/park-rash-and-other-yorkshire-hills – was the highlight of the first 3 months. Then the first lockdown began and we were all sent away to work from home. And in a convenient coincidence here in the UK we happened to have some of the best spring weather that we’ve experienced in years. So although I was now working from home and under lockdown conditions, thanks to Boris Johnson allowing exercise as one of the good reasons to leave the house, I managed to get some good cycling miles under my belt.

Yorkshire Dales Cycling
Yorkshire Dales Cycling

So a year that started slowly in terms of kilometres ridden soon began to fill out. And although my spring kilometres were all from short local rides as recommended by the lockdown rules, my summer rides started to become longer as the cases of the virus decreased in the UK. I then continued in this vane keeping up the effort throughout the autumn and into the winter aiming for a new record of 8,000 km in a year (5,000 miles). This I managed to achieve just before new year. It was close because a nasty cold around Christmas time almost left me short by the smallest of margins but as I recovered pretty quickly I was able to get those last few kilometres in and beat the target, finally reaching 8,006 km. This exceeded 2019 by a massive margin of 2,302 km.

2020 cycling progress
2020 cycling progress

One of the additional benefits of both being able to cycle more and also eat fewer meals out, hotel breakfasts and on-the-go junk food was that I was able to drop a few kg from my weight. I wouldn’t exactly say that I was a particularly heavy guy going into 2020 but I had put on a bit of weight in the final months of 2019 and was tipping the scales at just over 70 kg during the first months of 2020. Now at the beginning of 2021 I am a much more svelte 63 kg, which is a difference (7kg) of about the weight of a whole road bike (not mine, but one at the UCI weight limit). I can’t say I’ve had much opportunity to test whether or not I’m any faster up hills now but the weight part of the power/weight ratio has changed for the better at least.

Weight over last year
Weight over last year

So most of my riding in 2020 was spent locally and I managed to think up a variety of different loops out from home. Taking me to towns like Oakham, Wisbech, Downham Market, Stamford, Spalding and Bedford to name a few; not all on the same ride mind you! And most of these rides have been on my own, so if you’ve been following my twitter feed – https://twitter.com/muddygoose -you’d have got used to seeing a lot of selfies and very few group photos this year.

Cycling Selfie at Launde Abbey
Cycling Selfie at Launde Abbey

During the summer I did also manage, on a day off, to go up to Halifax and ride some of the cobbled climbs that can found up in that area of the UK. Check out the post – http://spokerevolutions.co.uk/hills-in-halifax-climbs-in-calderdale-the-peaks-of-pendle – for more on that one. And there was a while in the summer when outdoor sports in groups of up to 6 was allowed so I did mange on a few occasions to get out with friends as well. Although obviously not as much as I would have liked!

Vittoria Terreno Zero TNT
Vittoria Terreno Zero TNT

Off the bike but still very much bike related. I switched my Vittoria Terrano Dry tyres for Vittoria Terreno Zero tyres and in doing so have possibly found my perfect tyre – http://spokerevolutions.co.uk/i-may-have-found-my-dream-tyres-vittoria-terreno-zero-700x32c – and I also upgraded my groupset from SRAM Rival to SRAM Force AXS (etap) electronic gears – http://spokerevolutions.co.uk/upgrade-to-sram-force-etap-axs-12-speed – a switch that I have really enjoyed having made. The AXS gears are far from a necessity and well into the realms of luxury but on the occasions where you have the opportunity for a bit of luxury it is nice to experience!

My new SRAM eTap system
My new SRAM eTap system

Of course 2020 isn’t my final year of cycling and 2021 has started strong, which is maybe why I’m now blogging about 2020 in March and not January. So with the Coronavirus vaccine being distributed widely in the UK and case numbers decreasing, I am looking forward to a good year of cycling and hopefully if I’m more disciplined a decent year of blogging about it all too!

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