The off-season?

If you love riding a bike is there really such a thing as “the off-season”? It feels like there are less competitive periods of the year but, as I ride most days to commute, I don’t feel like I ever have a season without the bike.

Last year I contented myself through the winter months with cyclocross which was fun but hard work; not just in terms of riding on the red line of my ability for an hour, but in terms of the time it took up in my weekend. It’s a big commitment riding in the London League because it eats up your entire Sunday getting there and back without even counting the bike cleaning time.

This year I’m thinking I might look out for some races which aren’t closer to Calais than London. Although, I’m quite keen on giving Penshurst a go because it was such a great course – proper off-road madness that gets the adrenaline going.

Then again I might just put the road wheels on the Dolan ‘cross bike and take it out riding wherever I fancy. I’ve got the 25mm tyres on which is, as Steve described it on Saturday morning, a “sensual experience”. It’s buttery smooth and a bit like a hovercraft through the corners – you glide round rather than dive.

I’m already lining up my goals for next year and I think I want to do the Etape again. My year has lacked a focus like that to motivate me and I’ve been riding for fun rather than to achieve. Nothing wrong with riding for fun, it’s just that I feel like I’d have more fun if I was achieving something.

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