here we go again. Again.

After what feels like 2 years of almost constant racing and training I’ve had a bit of a rest. Yes, I know my last blog post was going on about having a rest in a past-tense, but I just wasn’t ready to jump back on the hamster wheel right then after just 2 weeks of rest.

But now I am ready. I’ve hardly ridden a bike for the last month (since Relentless 24 in fact), I’ve lost a bit of fitness, I’ve put on some weight, I’ve got under the feet of my family. It’s been great and I feel great. Bizarrely, now that the weather has turned properly nasty as well I’m even more motivated. I’m visualising my regular routes, late at night, chucking it down with freezing, horizontal rain and imagining me feeling like a right tough nut. Thinking of everyone else, many of them I’ll see at races next year, tucked up in bed or watching telly…

When I say ‘I feel great’, I felt great until I went for a ride on Saturday morning on the freshly-dug-out-from-the-back-of-the-cellar winter road bike. Carrying an extra bit of ballast, riding a heavy road bike and having legs that were a bit softer than they were a month ago gave me quite a shock and had me reaching for the downshift more often than I thought I should have been…but what the hell. The fitness will soon come back and it is only November…here’s where the hard work begins, building and preparing for next summer’s big endurance races and maybe having a crack at one or two records.

To further focus the mind, I’ve entered the Strathpuffer again, this time as a pair with Phil. Last January’s race was brilliant (even though at the time I didn’t feel like I was particularly enjoying it) and my podium finish certainly made me consider racing solo again this time. But then I decided I wasn’t going to give myself another kicking this early in the year again and have the unique stresses of trying to prepare and then peak for a 24 hour solo race when I should be building a good base for the summer.

So I decided to cross it off the list completely.

Then I went to the pub with Budge and Phil and after a few drinks the subject of the Strathpuffer cropped up. So one thing leads to another and before I could say ‘bollocks no way’, I said I’d do it.

A pairs race seems like a good compromise. Sure it’ll be knackering and I know Phil wants to have a proper crack at the race the same as I do, but it’s a world away from the fatigue of a solo race. I’ll get a breather and a cuppa after every lap, plus I get to shout encouragement at Dave and Budge who are both racing solo.

Not only is Budge racing solo, he’s also raising money at the same time for Help For Heroes – you can read his thoughts on the race and donate to a good cause here.