2016 – 2017 audax season


At the start of the season I got back in the saddle with a hilly 50 km.  Entering LEL in January got me planning training rides, ideally doing a Super Randonneur series (SR; 200, 300, 400 and 600 km rides in a season) in preparation.

LEL training graph

After a real struggle on an early 200 km I finally got back to the ranks of Randonneur on my 40th birthday, in the amazing surroundings of Mull.

Birthday cake and champagne

After that everything was progress, my first 300 km was splendid but definitely ‘type 2’, the second much more manageable.

Route map of 300 km Beyond the dales we know and Wigginton rides in Yorkshire

A 400 km was my first experience of riding through the night, and became a real slog toward the end; finishing with around half an hour to spare was a bit too close for my liking.  A 600 km pre-LEL wasn’t to be (twice), so I found myself at the start feeling inexperienced, amongst other things.  But LEL, even un-finished, proved to be an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience (even if I do it again I’m sure that first time will never be matched).  It was a real shift in my psyche, although it’s been a challenge to maintain.

JJ start, LEL Innerleithen hills sketch Climbing Yad Moss Peter and Erica at Brampton LEL brevet card

I thought I might have had more than enough of cycling for a while afterwards but that proved not to be the case, and I was keen to at least get my SR award this season.  Well, it didn’t happen, but I thoroughly enjoyed Blackpool-Glasgow-Blackpool nonetheless.

Blackpool Tower

Post-LEL I still have numbness in the thumb and first two fingers on each hand, and the left is pretty pathetic in terms of strength and dexterity.  I plan to get a bike fit (and possibly ahem a new different bike) once I get properly back in the saddle.  I did lower my saddle a little to try and prevent the recurrence of Achilles tendon pain (so far so good), and rotated the bars forwards slightly to try and keep my wrists linear while on the hoods.  There’s no way to tell if the latter has helped while I have continuing numbness, I just hope I haven’t caused any more damage.  I know nerves take a long time to heal.

I’m managing a few rides early this season but November will bring a challenge of a different kind with more surgery and the mind (and fitness) -rotting recovery that accompanies it.  The nature of it is such that I don’t know when I’ll be able to get back on the bike, and it might be best to try and get my final operation done as soon as possible afterwards and have an extended pause rather than off-on-off-again.  If I can help out at some rides during this time I’d love to.

I found some great software to create a heat map at https://erik.github.io/derive/.

2016-2017 heat map

Points: 14

AAA: 7.5

Distance (actual ridden, including DNFs): 5013 km (3053 miles)