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Last ride of 2010


I managed to squeeze in a 100km ride with just two days to go this month, keeping me in the running to complete this year’s metric century challenge by the wispiest of whiskers.

Yesterday’s ride was one of the toughest since I was bitten by the MCC bug thanks to the combination of the weather (cold and wet) and my level of fitness (low, compounded by some kind of seasonal malaise plus an ongoing hangover I’ve been living with for at least a week now).

In fact I’d say yesterday’s ton was such hard work it was probably worth about five summer centuries. It seems almost inconceivable to me that I completed 17 centuries in May this year…the only thing I can remember about them was that they were easy – and fun. How quickly it fades…

I have two useful discoveries to report despite the pain and chilliness of yesterday’s ride. The first is that wetsuit gloves work a treat in the rain, even when it’s quite cold. I’ve mentioned before how hard I find it to keep my hands warm and comfortable in the colder, wetter months and yesterday I tried wetsuit gloves for the first time. My hands stayed quite comfortable for at least 45 of yesterday’s 66 miles and given the conditions I reckon that’s as good as I could hope for.

The second revelation is what a difference a few sessions on a spin bike can make. I’ve joined a new gym recently and have been a reasonably regular visitor throughout December thanks to the dodgy weather. Each time I go I do at least 30 minutes on a spin bike and in each of those sessions I’ll stand up and really push myself for as long as I can bear to (which is not very long – maybe five minutes in each 30). As a result I’ve noticed more power on the hills when I’m on the real bike – not a huge amount but definitely enough to keep me spinning.

So there we are – December’s century is in the bag. It was very touch and go there for a while. If this week’s weather had been as bad as earlier in the month I wouldn’t have done it so I’m very pleased there was an eleventh hour little window of opportunity. Let’s hope January is a little kinder to all us cyclists…

Happy new year to everyone on – here’s to many happy road miles for all of us in 2011.


Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine ( 

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MCLK | 13 years ago

As a relative newcomer to both and the KM century, I wasn't ready for quite how tough my December ride was. The weather was dry and just below freezing, the roads were wet but clear of snow. My 3 pairs of gloves and socks worked well enough for the first 40 miles, cycling around Bakewell and Matlock but not for last stretch in the Peak District. I remember being so cold near the end and thinking that this just isn't fun any more.

I'm glad I stuck it out though and am looking forward to future months with warmer conditions.

Happy new year everyone!

Gregoire500 | 13 years ago

Well in for toughing it out! Good kick into the New Year as long as you're not hypothermic as a result  3 I've a pair of neoprene gloves but i found that unless they are washed after every ride they absolutely stink as there is nowhere for the sweat to go so your hands are stewing somewhat!

Thawing out up here but I've a stinking cold. Still aiming to go for a 100km on sunday before I move to London on Tues...

Martin Thomas | 13 years ago

Yes, on balance I think the best thing to do with the bike at this time of the year is stick it in the shed and dream of summer glory.

That said, I'm seriously thinking about embarking on my next winter ride wearing the full wetsuit. Not a great look for a man of my age, but hey, if it works...

Tony Farrelly | 13 years ago

Nice one Martin. Know what you mean about big rides at this time of year - Dave was only saying yesterday that last year's Turkey Sweater was possibly the nastiest ride he'd ever done… which probably goes some way to explaining why we didn't do it this year.

Oh, and totally agree with you about wetsuit gloves, years ago my wife bought me some neoprene waterskiing gloves from, of all places, M&S - best cold weather commuting gloves I've used by a mile.

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