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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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