So, 2013 is a big year in many ways. I reach a milestone in life (40 years and I am still here!). When I first rode an audax back in October 2010, I had a small plan for the future. I had a goal of riding LEL (London Edinburgh London 1400km audax - http://londonedinburghlondon.com/ ) as I was going to be 40 and needed to prove that there's still some life left in me. The distance was, at that point, inconceivable. 200km was a long long way (still is). I was considering maybe trying to ride a 300km in the summer of 2011 - that was a sensible target to aim for in my first year of long-distance cycling. Well - that all went slightly wrong and I rode my frst 300 in early spring 2011 and then went on to ride PBP in the summer.
Since then, I have continued to ride long distances and rode the Mille Alba 1000km in summer 2012 amongst other rides.
Now we arrive at 2013 and LEL beckons. Amazingly, the event sold out in a matter of hours and has over 1000 people registered, so I am thankful that I have a place.
Whilst 1400km will be the furthest I have ridden, I am not daunted by the concepts anymore. Particularly with a generous time limit (bottom speed of 12kph gives over 116 hours to complete the distance), the event is very achievable.
My goal for LEL is to finish within 96 hours - mainly because it makes telling the story really easy (London to Edinburgh and back in 4 days). I think that is achievable for me without going too crazy. I am not a super-fast rider, but do tend to get into the groove on the longer events and just get on with it. I suspect it won't be quite like PBP with very large numbers of riders to work with (flying along in the middle of the night in big peletons of Italian, German, French etc. riders was so exhilarating on PBP). But, I think if I work hard on fitness, then I should be okay (like many riders, I have a little spreadsheet on my computer that I tweak the numbers with and see where I might sleep etc.).
January has proven tough to really get going on the miles. I started the year with a cough/cold that kept me from starting the Poor Student 200 on a mild day (9 degrees). I managed a 100 mile day in the middle of the month riding out to a 100km reliability ride in the Chilterns. Then we had some fairly heavy snow which caused the cancellation of the Willy Warmer 200. Finally on the 26th January, I managed to get a 200km ride in (actually 265 by the time I got there and back) with the Willy Warmer becoming available as a snow-perm. So, my Randonneur Round the Year is still on track (ride at least 1 200km ride each calendar month for a year - I am now on around 28 months unbroken).
I have a number of rides already booked in to help with the build-up to LEL. The big ones for me are the Bryan Chapman 600 in May - this is the most 'famous' (in our small weird world) audax ride in the UK, a traverse of Wales from Chepstow to Menai and back. I have wanted to do this ride since day one of audaxing. I missed my chance last year due to a friend's wedding, so nothing's going to stop me this year!
I also plan to ride the Wessex SR (SR = 200, 300, 400 and 600km rides being completed within one season). These rides have a legendary reputation for being very challenging with some very trying climbs. Can't wait!
So far, I have the following rides booked in - they will be augmented with plenty of short, fast work (lots of laps of Richmond Park!) and other longer rides:
March 2013 - Chiltern Hills Brevet 200
April 2013 - Hard Boiled 300, Dorset Coast 200
May 2013 - Porkers 400, Bryan Chapman 600
June 2013 - Brimstone 600
July 2013 - LEL
Lot of work to do yet - but I am very excited for the year ahead now!