My mountain biking targets for 2022.

Having been infected with Covid 19 I haven’t been able to ride for 7 days. Today is my last day of self isolation so I should be out tomorrow though yesterday I was still testing positive. My wife is still testing positive after around 11 days but apparently you cease to be able to pass on the infection so can return to your normal activities. It all sounds illogical but since my only symptom was feeling slightly tired for a couple of days I’m willing to “trust the science”, as we keep being told to do. With no riding all I’ve been able to do is to dream of my targets for the year.

Last year I changed my original plan for a big ride which was to take in 4 of the bigger local hills in a ride of over 100 km. I realised that it had a long, technically illegal, off road segment climbing the biggest of the hills as well as a lot of road mileage. I decided instead to climb the height of Britain’s biggest mountain, Ben Nevis, in a ride on nearby hills. I know that some road riders chose to climb the height of Mount Everest (29,028 feet) in a single day but I think at my age, riding almost exclusively off road, the 4,406 of Ben Nevis will be challenging enough. Circumstances conspired against me and I was never able to attempt the ride so I’m carrying the idea over to 2022 as my biggest target. I’ve planned the route and it has 4 significant climbs over perhaps 40 miles of hard riding.

Last year I completed 4 laps of a local circuit in under an hour as the only other challenge which I’d set myself at the beginning of the year. My time was 57 minutes and 52 seconds, accomplished at a very even pace. I also had the King of the Mountains title on the app. Strava for a fastest lap by any rider but lost this to someone else early in the year. I would have attempted to beat his time but I discovered that he’d been injured in a road biking accident and somehow it didn’t seem fair to challenge his time whilst he was unable to respond. This circuit will, however, be a target for this year. A single massive effort to ride the circuit in under 14 minutes. The current KOM time is 13 minutes 59 seconds and my best is 14 minutes 32, though I’ve recorded faster on the stopwatch during my 4 lap challenge when I’d accidentally turned Strava off on my phone.

Last year I added another target later which was to ride 10 laps of a circuit in Brinscall Woods which has a steep, near 300 feet climb, in each lap, leading to my favourite downhill. I managed to complete the ride with only a little loss of speed as the laps progressed. I will probably add more challenges in a similar fashion this year. I can’t wait to get on with it.

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