Like last year, I want to reflect on things I’ve done in the past 12 months that have made me feel happy/alive. I also want to look at the 7×2017 goals I set myself (spoiler: I didn’t get very far). In rough chronological order:
- Ladies chaingang race training in the snow
- Volunteering at my local parkrun 4 times (2 in sub-zero, 1 in heavy rain, 1 in the sun)
- Using one of my environmental volunteer days from work to help Broken Spoke at a pop-up bike mechanics stand in central Oxford
- Snowboarding weekend with work in Val Thorens with an awesome fresh powder day
- First time camping alone
- Long weekend in Snowdonia with girlfriends with the best weather we could’ve dreamed of (we could see Ireland!)
- Joining in International Pillow Fight day in London
- Walking and camping Wainright’s Coast to Coast (mostly) by myself
- Volunteering with the Condors for Bike Oxford
- Team time trials at Weston on the Green
- Taking 2 days to travel to Krakow by train, with overnight in Berlin
- Kayaking to work
- Solo wild camping weekend in the Brecon Beacons
- Weekend walking in the Lake District
- Captaining the Condor Ladies B Team for the 9-up Team Time Trial at Silverstone (and coming 4th!)
- Riding 90 miles on one of the hottest days of the year
- Crewing with Oxford SUP club for a series of swim-run races on the rivers
- Helping with Beryl’s Nights at Broken Spoke
- Weekday evening paddles with Oxford SUP club
- Cycling to a friend’s wedding and back
- Weekend camping and surfing at West Wittering
- Going on ‘plastic patrol’ with the SUP club – putting my competitive nature to good use gathering up the most plastic from Oxford’s (surprisingly clean) waterways
- Being a teaching assistant on Broken Spoke’s mechanic classes
- Stepping out of my front door and seeing how far I could walk in a day linking up footpaths and bridleways, and still get home by train/bus (29 miles, it turns out)
- Riding the Poor Student 200km audax by myself (in August, rather than in January on the actual event)
- Wild camping in Scotland and walking variants of the West Highland Way
- Weekend cycling in the Brecon Beacons with the Condors
- Speaking on the Velovixen Women’s Cycling Hub panel at the Cycle Show about women’s cycling and the Condors
- A weekend walking with friends in the Brecon Beacons
- A long weekend in Dorset with my family, walks to Lulworth Cove and sunrise coastal walk
- Walking home from a friend’s house the next town over
- Doing a cyclocross race, and riding the ditch that made me get off and walk last year
- Walking half of the South Downs Way in gorgeous sun in winter
- Walking a section of the Thames Path in heavy frost
A definite theme of being outside, with walking dominating over cycling this year. This was primarily looking ahead to the Te Araroa and wanting to try out different kit combinations etc.
For transparency, these highlights were interspersed with some lows. I finally accepted that I should stop trying to be a runner; sooner or later my knees get angry to the extent it affects my walking and cycling. I went to 2 weddings but 2 funerals. I spent most of September with a chest infection. Some days the ‘dark cloud’ won and I didn’t manage to get out from under my duvet. An unusually(?) high number of cycling friends had nasty crashes, and one lost her life.
Now, as to my 7 x 2017 adventure goals which I declared at the beginning of the year…
Walk 1000 miles – to be honest, I’ve no idea. I discovered that I didn’t like trying to track how far I walked every day, and couldn’t decide what did and didn’t ‘count’. But, as can be seen by the list above, I did get out and walk a lot. All things going well, this should be an easy target in 2018, as the stretch of the TA that I’m looking to do is about 800 miles.
Cycle 1000 miles – done, and then some. My commute contributed >500 miles, with it being about a 5 mile round trip each day, and then according to Strava, I have done 1,245 miles on my road bike. 700 of those were in May-July. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to my mileage in 2018 when the first 3 months will be blocked out.
Summit highest peaks in UK national parks – not even close. I only managed to add 1 more to my completed list, which was Urra Moor as it was on my Coast to Coast route. This was a nice idea, but would have required more effort than I was willing to put into it, as other priorities arose. Maybe a long term goal.
Sub 30 min TT/make Silverstone TTT team – N/A and yes. I didn’t actually do any solo TTs this year. Mainly because they’re really hard work and kind of boring after a while. TTTs however, are great fun, as there’s always something to think about and distract you from how much pain you’re in. I was captain of the Condor ladies B team for the Silverstone 9-up TTT, which was ace. This is more unlikely for 2018 given the lack of time on the bike I’ll have in the run up to Silverstone in June, but anything is possible!
Spend more time in the workshop – kind of. I started the year really well, and was in the Broken Spoke workshop most weekends. And then I started being away a lot (count the number of weekend trips in the list above!) and got out of the habit. This will be going back on my aims for 2018.
Prepare for the Te Araroa – I’m hoping yes. I’ve tested my kit and sourced what I didn’t have, I’ve printed maps, arranged travel and got some NZD. I’ll find out in a few weeks! Goal for 2018: survive the TA?
Say yes more – again, kind of. There were times when I said yes to things that frightened me (public speaking!) but also times when I slept in half the day then watched Netflix with a massive bag of cookies. I’m learning to not be too harsh on myself when that happens, but also to not fall in to re-labeling laziness as ‘self-care’. It’s a balance.
And right now, I’m saying yes to more mince pies. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!