2014 plans…

So I’m signed up to ride the Deloitte Ride Across Britain in September as part of the Dulux Peloton.  Having rode a couple of stages in 2013, I decided in 2014 to attempt the whole Ride Across Britain.  That’s 969 miles in 9 days from Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG)!
By Carn an t Suidhe, high above Loch Ness on the 2013 Ride Across Britain.

As part of Team Dulux, we’re raising money for The Outward Bound Trust.  This is a charity that gets young people from backgrounds where they have never experienced the great outdoors to take part in activities such as hiking, climbing and kayaking in some of our beautiful countryside.  Typically this results in increased confidence, resilience and social well-being.  It might even result in a lifetime of enjoyment in such places!  Given how much I enjoy being out in the countryside, I’m proud to be raising money to help others experience some of the places and activities I’ve enjoyed over the years.  Please help me reach my fundraising target by supporting this cause.

But cycling the whole of LEJOG is quite an undertaking, and I will be putting a lot of miles in by way of preparation, and have a number of intermediate “training targets” already committed.

January Wild Wood CX — Did this one last year, and it’s in the depths of winter, with 20% off-road (=muddy) racing around the Chilterns.  Most people last year finished looking like swamp monsters.  I’ll be riding this with Neal Williams, and his plan for this year it to take his mountain bike…Woodcote CX
Neal fixing a puncture and beginning to not see the funny side of a CX Sportive on his posh red road bike.
February  No specific events planned, but lots of lonely miles on cold roads, like this photo taken near Dorking in December 2012.Dorking
March Eden Valley Epic — This will be the third time I’ve ridden this, and the sharp pull up at the end will, I’m sure, be hard again.  First time we got slowed down by Jim’s many punctures, second time by Gareth’s lingering chest cold, so hopefully third-time lucky we’ll get a decent time.
Eden Valley
Spectacular views of The Pennines on the first Eden Valley Sportive.
April Ronde van Vlaanderen — I’ve always enjoyed watching “The Spring Classics” and with the Ronde you have the chance on Saturday to ride the route that the professionals will ride on Sunday.  So it will be Belgium, Flanders, at the end of winter; who knows what the weather will be doing?  The route consists of a brutal collection of cobbled climbs.  If you’re watching the pros on the Sunday, see if you can spot us – Team Dulux jerseys, and beer and frites in hand!
frites and beer
May London Revolution — A two-day lap of London!  Run by Threshold Sports (who’ll be running the Deloitte Ride Across Britain), this is two 90 mile days back-to-back, so a good test of how the Land’s End to John O’Groats might feel (and time to up the training if needed!)
June Three Peaks Classic Sportive — A tour of the Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.  Passing through Ribblehead, with its famous viaduct as well as Dent and Ingleton.  One of the highlights is Thornton Lane from Dentdale to Ingleton with its stunning scenery and short but brutal climb.Virgin Money Cyclone — As part of a long weekend of cycling in Newcastle, the Virgin Money Cyclone is a tour into Northumberland.All rides start and finish at the Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club, Kingston Park and will use part of the route to be used on the Sunday by the very top riders in the Country when they compete in the Beaumont Trophy UCI 1.2 Road Race This race has been won by many famous riders and in 2011 the winner of the Men’s National Road Race Championships, Bradley Wiggins, was awarded the Trophy.This ride is for semi serious cyclists or those who want a challenge. It is a hilly route and not to be entered without a little previous training.  It ascends 1217 metres in the 100 km.
July Newcastle Triathlon — Not being built for running or swimming, I’m building on my 2013 Ripon Triathlon relay experience.  Get someone else to do the swimming and running!  This is 40 km of bike racing, and unlike everything else this year, this is a race!  So pacing to your maximum sustainable heart-rate, digging deep at the end, and trying to avoid all the triathletes with their renowned bike-handling skills (or lack of) is the order of the day.  Closed roads along the riverside in Newcastle should be spectacular (if I have any time to enjoy it).Ripon Tri
At the Ripon Triathlon in 2013.

Etape Pennines — I rode this at the end of the 2013 season, in it’s normal October 80 mile guise.  Probably the hardest thing I’d done, but spectacular.  In 2014 the distance has been shortened a little “due to popular demand”, but they’ve added a descent fo Crawleyside Bank and a climb out of Stanhope onto Bollihope Common, which will more than make up for the reduced distance…The Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines, England’s first closed road sportive, quickly established itself as one of the UK’s toughest sportives following its debut in 2012. Starting and finishing in County Durham, the 60 mile course takes riders through the ruggedly undulating North East scenery. With over 2,000 metres of climbing to overcome, it’s a challenging ride, but with panoramic views and speedy downhill sections to look forward to, your hard work is duly rewarded. Cycling Plus described it as, “Beautiful but brutal, the Etape Pennines has the makings of a classic”.

Etape Pennine
Another big climb on the Etape Pennines in 2013.

August Prudential RideLondon 100 — The legacy of the Olympics – 100 miles from London through the Surrey countryside, and back into London.  I applied for a place in the ballot in 2013, but was unsuccessful, so am trying again for 2014. Celebrating the legacy for cycling created by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 starts in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, then follows a 100-mile route on closed roads through the capital and into Surrey’s stunning countryside. With leg-testing climbs and a route made famous by the world’s best cyclists at the London 2012 Olympics, it’s a truly spectacular event for all involved. Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 finishes on The Mall in central London, shortly before 150 professional cyclists race in the inaugural Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic on a similar route.
September Deloitte Ride Across Britain — This is what all the training has been for.  The full route is 969 miles broken in to nine daily stages, averaging 108 miles a day.  This is one of the classic cycling challenges on the planet. It takes in the most beautiful parts of Britain from barren moorlands and majestic highlands to lush green valleys, winding back lanes and stunning coastal roads.  There will be 15,000 metres of climbing over the 9 days. That is around 13 times up Alpe d’Huez!Full-course