So, 2011 then.

2011 was one of those ‘eventful’ years. All the big stuff is well-documented elsewhere in this blog, so I’ll summarise…

  • I got hit by a car a week before the Strathpuffer.
  • I missed the Strathpuffer.
  • I started riding bikes properly again just in time to regain some fitness for the big races in the early summer.
  • I organised Hit the North 2.5 almost single-handedly…and it turned out just fine.
  • Dave, Phil and me went to France to ride the cobbles of the Paris-Roubaix sportive, which was utterly brilliant.
  • I had a nightmare in the Whinlatter Challenge then rode back from Keswick.
  • Rode a few road sportives, most of them in the rain and wind. One of them a week after a 24 hour race (that was as horrid as it sounds).
  • Me and Dave rode the Way of the Roses ‘3 day coast to coast’ in 10 hours. A record.
  • I had a nightmare at the Enduro 6 which persuaded me to finally swap to tubeless tyres.
  • I did ok – better than 2010 –  at the 24 Hours Of Exposure.
  • I drank a very large mug of the Rapha crazy-strong expresso on a night ride and I think got a touch of caffeine poisoning.
  • Me and Dave won the Gisburn Dirty Dozen pairs cat. Again.
  • I came 3rd at Mountain Mayhem behind Dave and Ant. Again.
  • Rode the Dalby MTB Marathon, wished I hadn’t.
  • I celebrated my 40th birthday with family, close friends, Scotland, beer and bikes.
  • I dipped my toe in the water in a couple of local road crits. Crashed.
  • Me and Dave took 16 hours to ride most of a 13 hour ride.
  • Had some ace skills coaching from Ed Oxley.
  • My brakes disintegrated 20 miles into the Kielder 100. Worth the trip though for the start-line banter.
  • I didn’t crash at the 3 Peaks Cyclocross, but was slower than the year before when I did crash.
  • I won the overall solo at Relentless24.
  • I changed bike sponsor to On-One/Titus.
  • I rode a lot more training, commuting and racing miles in 2011 than I did in 2010 and there’s still a week left to go (not that it matters much, but still.)

More ‘yay’ than ‘boo’ in that lot I think. I’m sure I represented myself and my sponsors pretty well, I might have pulled some quality grumpy faces but I mostly had a good laugh.

Aims for 2012? Much more of the same… a notch or two of progression (or at the very least my usual ‘small increments of improvement’) in the things I’m best at – 24 hour solos – plus more fell and trail running, more short-course XC MTB races, some of that summer cyclocross, a ‘wiser’ approach to road crits (will probably still crash though), a trip to the 24 hour solo world’s in Italy, a couple of (hopefully) record-breaking daft rides and the best Hit the North ever.

Finally, I’ve always wanted to do this….I’m sending some love to the following groups and individuals that have inspired, helped, advised, encouraged and have done me big favours over the past 12 months…Debbie, Michael, Budge, Phil, Jacqui, Wayne, Dave, Angela, Brant, Matt, Lee and Rachael, Will and Pete at Hotlines, Alan at Hope, Kylie and all at 2Pure, Ant and all at Mt Zoom, the staff at Oldham hospital for scraping me off the tarmac and putting me back together again, Andrew the spider, Carl and all at Squirt Lubes, Simon, Ed for the ‘chin up’ advice, Other Dave and Alan for the riding in mud and jumping on bikes advice, Jenny and James from British Cycling, Warren, Chipps, the Twitter crowd, Greg, everyone who helped at Hit the North 2.5, everyone that has ever raced at any Hit the North, Rich and Shona at Keep Pedalling, Shaun and Sarah at Cooksons, everyone with the get-up-and-go to organise races….and anyone else who I might have forgotten. :LOVE: