Some of you may not know this but I am a bit of a cycling enthusiast. I've ridden bikes, like most people, since I were a child off and on. I've never achieved any amazing results, not won any championships although I do have a Strava segment but don't tell uncle Gary!
Theres just something special about cycling. The fitness thing is great but not the reason for doing it, the chocolate cakes and occassional biscuit without the weight implications maybe a factor! Some of the main reasons I seem to be addicted are the ever changing stunning scenery, the massive variety of challenges and events and one of the most exciting sports, in my unbiased opinion, in the world. Yes there may be a few slightly questionable performance enhancing products but when you understand, as only a cyclist can, the speed these professionals ride at, i'd like to think they can only do it because of the 'packages' they receive!
But enough af that trawdle, the main reason for this essay is that each year there are people achieving great things on bikes, some take part in races and achieve great results, well done Phillip Cole on rising through the British Cycling ranks so quickly, some set themselves challenges like LEJOG, Robert Midmore and Martin Midmore, son and father both completed this great ride, separately, still arguing over who went further, higher and faster! For some it was much smaller targets, a first sportive, a first race, a first iconic climb, I understand a group from Sandsfoot Cafe went down to the remarkable Mont Ventoux and rode up and down it a number of times, once is an achievement of note in itself!
My own daughter started riding and racing on the track, making one very proud dad after winning a handicap race at Calshot in only her third race meeting.
There are many more who deserve a mention this year but I'm trying to keep this short! So well done to everyone who managed to get their leg over...a bike this year.
But there are a few 'special' people this year that deserve a mention. The first two have both achieved places on the British Olympic programme, Alex Jolliffe and Becky Raybould are now training harder than any of us can imagine trying to achieve the ultimate in cycling, watch out for them at future Olympics, Becky is already a World Champion! I wish them all the luck and success in the future. I have said before but think it needs saying again the part Mark Salmon has played in their involvement in cycling. A truly inspirational teacher!
The last word, you'll be relieved to know, has to go to Neil Clarke, who has just completed his own challenge, that was to ride every day of the year. Over the year he has ridden over 6000 miles going out at 5am on many occassion, I didn't think such a time existed, and he finished the year off completing the 'Rapha' coral 500 Strava challenge, riding 500 km in a week over xmas and new year! A massive well done and another true inspiration!
So there we go another year gone, good luck in whatever you set yourselves in 2017, but the main thing is whatever you do, enjoy it and keep doing it.
Have a great New Year and thanks for all your support this year.