Targets for next year.

I like to set myself some mountain bike riding targets at this time for the coming year. This year I had 2 aims, one of which I met when I rode to the top of Great Hill and back in under 22 minutes and 19 seconds. Strava had me at exactly that time, to the second, but fortunately the stopwatch was a little kinder so I judged that I’d beaten the time, which was the best time I’d ever managed previously. You can read about my ride here….

My other wish was to ride the 47 mile, 6,500 feet of ascent Mary Towneley Loop which I couldn’t complete due to a split rear tyre, which you can read here…..

It would be tempting to try the second challenge again in 2021 but I have another long distance ride which I intend to attempt. I’ve often looked from the top of Great Hill at the distant and bigger hills of Darwen Hill, Pendle Hill and Longridge fell. I can link them together by road to give me a ride in excess of 100km with exciting off road climbs and descents of the 4 peaks. Usefully I can start and finish the route from home, which is far more convenient than being dropped off and picked up again 35 miles away.

Darwen Hill from Great Hill with Pendle Hill on the hazy horizon.

Recently I’ve happened upon a circuit where I’ve been competing against another rider using the app. Strava. At my first attempt I was fastest and gained the King of the Mountains title. I lost the accolade soon afterwards and on my one serious try to regain it I was 12 seconds too slow. Whilst I’m certain that I’ll be trying to regain the crown I also want to use the circuit for another annual target. I’ll try to ride 4 laps of the circuit in under an hour. So far I’ve managed a single lap in 15 minutes 44 seconds in very wet conditions but to compete for the KOM title I’ve been using a short cut. For my 4 laps I’ll use the longer option which was originally set up. Strava isn’t sensitive enough to detect the deviation of the short cut. The original route I managed in 17 minutes 33 seconds at my first attempt. I’ll be flexible with this target because it may transpire that sub 15 minute laps are easier than I’m currently anticipating. If this proves to be the case I’ll either increase the number of laps or reduce my time target to provide a suitable challenge. I want to achieve the target but I need it to be on the limit of my performance. That way it will provide something to aim for which will motivate me to train harder. I certainly noticed how much my riding was improved this year by having a big challenge in the form of the Mary Towneley Loop. Every ride had a purpose, even if it was just to maintain my fitness. I managed some deliberately longer rides to work on my stamina.

I may well add some more challenges to my short list. Perhaps a technical climb which is nearly, but not quite, impossible to conquer without stopping or putting a foot down. I may ride just twice more this year.

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