Delayed like last year, but here it is – a summary of my pathetic performance on the bike last year (at least in terms of mileage).

My total mileage in

  • 2010 : 2,266 km / 1,409 miles
  • 2011 : 3,796 km / 2,359 miles
  • 2012: 2,111 km / 1,312 miles

Month-wise Recap
2012 - Monthly Mileage

The few miles in Jan’12 were all on the rollers. Actually, it was exactly 6 sessions of 10km each on the rollers.

Feb was a quiet month, given the delayed cold wave and because I wanted to spend all spare time with girlfriend, who was going off for a month to Peru. It was also when I took a dip in the pool, and decided to stay – started properly learning swimming.

March was much better than usual. Signed up and rode 2 early season sportives – Burgess Hill Springtime Classic, which I barely managed to finish, and Evans Cycles’ Woking Ride It event, half of which I rode with a broken saddle. Topped off the month by riding the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) sportive, my first event on the continent. Unlike the two previous events this month, this one was a success. Managed to successfully finish the sportive, while riding up all but one climbs, while much fitter (looking) riders all around me faltered. Even made a few friends on the ride – couple of lads from the US, and two young brothers from Belgium. All in all, an ace month for riding.

April was washed out in getting married, and the subsequent (long) India trip.

May & June were regular early summer months with lots of rides, but not many long ones. Highlight of May was the half-loop of Evans Cycles’ King of Mountains sportive, which made me quickly realise how much fitness I’d lost over the previous month (and how much had I gorged on – weight had increased by 8 kgs!!) Highlight for the month of June was the BHF London-Brighton-London ride. While the ride to Brighton was slow (30,000+ riders on narrow country roads), the ride back was faster and easier. Best bits were climbing the Ditchling Beacon through those crowds, hi-fiving kids along the finishing straight, descending a steep South-Downs chalk-trail in cleats while carrying the bike, and riding the last 20 miles with a family of 3, 2 of whom were planning to ‘ride-ahead’ of le Tour a week later.

July was the highest intensity of riding, though it lasted just about a week. Here is how the stats for 1st 7 days of July read:

1-Jul-2012 Richmond Park Century 101.58
2-Jul-2012 Richmond Park Century 100.54
3-Jul-2012 Regent’s Park Century 101.83
4-Jul-2012 Richmond Park Half Century 50.80
5-Jul-2012 Richmond Park Century 100.71
6-Jul-2012 Regent’s Park Century 100.07
7-Jul-2012 Sutton – Brighton 82.49

Little did I then know that this flurry of rides were going to be my last good rides for the year! After getting drenched in 4 of those 7 rides, I decided to take a break from riding in the rain, which, given English weather, meant no cycling for a couple of weeks.

August was lost to a hiking trip to the Lake District. It is a beautiful country, great for cycling, but even better for hiking. I’m still in love ;)

September saw a new member join our young family. Our Labrador puppy, fondly referred to as Chewbacca, took up all our waking, non-working time in September, October & November. Out the window went all Cycling, Hiking, Swimming plans. Heck, even heading out for dinner to a diner around the corner became an exercise in advanced planning and quick gulping.

December should’ve seen some riding, but by now I was completely out of form, vastly overweight, and extremely lazy. The cold and non-stop rain and flooding didn’t help my enthusiasm either.

The chart below shows a comparison of rides over last two years, and starkly highlights how badly I dropped off the circuit in 2nd half of 2012. The graph in faded blue is 2011 mileage.

Cumulative Mileage - 2012 & 2011

Overall, my 3 highlights of biking in 2013 were:

  • Riding the cobbles (Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour of Flanders sportive)
  • Up the Beacon (London-Brighton-London, hadn’t ever ridden to Brighton before because I had a mental block about my ability to climb the Ditchling Beacon)
  • Century Week (1st week of July when I rode 5 century rides and 2 half-century rides, before being stopped by a lack of dry clothing, shoes & will power)
  • Successfully completing 30 days of ‘Ride-Everywhere’ in March

Looking back at the targets I’d set for myself for 2012, the performance was dismal:

  • 4000 miles of riding, all inclusive – Failed massively, riding about a 3rd of the distance
  • More sportives (attended only 2 this year) – A success, mainly due to the 3 sportives in March. Not by much though, given year’s total of 5
  • Lower HR – Very successful while I was still riding. Had seen a drop of about 20bpm in avg HR while increasing the speed. Will need to work it back again :(
  • Better Climbing (subjective, but important) – Subjective. Found the climbs in Ronde moderate but succumbed in King of the Downs
  • 100 50mile+ rides – Big Fail!
  • LEJOG / Cycling vacation in Lake District – Did have a vacation in Lake District, but wasn’t a cycling one. Went hiking.
  • Cycling vacation on the continent, preferably closer to the Alps – Didn’t happen, and unlikely to happen in near future while Chewbacca grows up.
  • Get Rags a road bike and get her riding hills with me :) – Biggest success of the year! For the latter half, she actually rode a lot more than me. And already has 3 rides logged in 2013 while I’m yet to get out.

Targets for 2013

Finally, coming to plans for 2013. They are simple (and likely too ambitious):

  • 2500 miles / 4000 km of riding, all inclusive
  • At least ONE ride in each month of the year
  • Lower HR
  • Better Climbing (planning to do Kingston gate – Robinhood gate reps in Richmond Park)
  • 50 30mile+ rides

Doable? We’ll know before long :)

It’s been a while since I did one of these, and with shorter days and Chewbacca curtailing my other activities (cycling mainly), it’s time to straighten up with a challenge.

Running has been my Achilles’ heel for quite a while, and something I need to get cracking on if I want to tick off the planned triathlon next summer.

So, this November, I plan to get on with with NHS’ Couch to 5K series and get started with running. It only takes 30 minutes, 3 days a week, so should be able to get that time out as well.

Since the Couch-to-5K plan doesn’t cover 4 days of the week, those will require at least 30 minutes of swimming, cycling or walking (with or without Chewbacca).

Also, as the title would’ve indicated, I’ll be growing a moustache and joining the Movember movement this year as well. Will post the donation link soon, in the forlorn hope that at least one of you will donate!

Been finding it interesting (more so intriguing) to note that after encountering efficient, non corrupt processes in countries like UK, the solutions for India from Indians here are still mostly on lines of:
‘shoot the leaders’,
‘Congress corrupt, BJP will bring ram rajya’,
‘Anna Hazare is the saviour’,
‘we need a dictatorship’ (which both the above options might easily deliver), my etc.

No one, not even the most intelligent, insightful IIM educated folk I’ve met / read, suggest what I find to be the obvious: ‘strong, independent government institutions’.

So, either I’m highly mistaken and misguided in my understanding, or most people I follow are getting something wrong.

If you think I’m wrong, would really like to hear your point of view, and feel free to skip everything below this. Just jump to comments.

The strength of western democracies isn’t derived from non-corrupt leaders (they are corrupt here too, just not in such an open manner), or from being led by a god anointed party or leader (highly religious states in eu do tilt towards higher corruption), or from a great leader who has lead them into a shining future.

The strength of western democracy is (IMHO) derived from its strong institutions – institutions which deliver what they are responsible for irrespective of government of the day, mood of the populace and mood of the boss. More importantly, institutions which, while consistently delivering their responsibilities, rarely over reach.

About time that we stopped thinking in terms of individuals and personalities, and started thinking in terms of institutions, organisations, structures and processes. Yes, it’s boring, it doesn’t let you (or anyone) be a hero. But, it delivers. Time, after time.

Posted: July 24, 2012 in Misc.

Do visit Steve’s blog for more brilliant posts…

A street bike named Desire…

Posted: June 2, 2012 in Cycling, Dreams
Tags: , ,

… actually, it’s called Plug. Charge Plug.

Targets 2013

Posted: May 19, 2012 in Cycling, Sport
Tags: , , , ,

Just putting these out there so I can’t chicken out later (at least not easily):

1. Olympic distance triathlon
2. Etape du Tour

Also, though it’s not on formal target list, would love to ride the Fred Whitton sportive in Lake District.


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No Weekends

Posted: March 16, 2012 in Cycling, Family, Heart
Tags: , , ,

Just realised that after my latest commitments, I’ve got almost no free weekends available till, possibly, mid-May! Here’s how it’s looking:

Tomorrow (17 Mar) : Meet some friends for Brunch/Lunch + Watch Milan-San Remo
Sunday (18 Mar): Ride the Burgess Hill sportive (86 km / 53 miles version)

Sunday (25 Mar): Ride the Evans Cycles’ Woking sportive (144 km / 90 miles version)

Saturday (31 Mar): Ride the Tour of Flanders sportive (134 km / 83 miles version)
Sunday (1 Apr): Watch the Tour of Flanders in Flanders

Saturday (7 Apr): Get married to this girl
Sunday (8 Apr): Watch Paris-Roubaix

Saturday (14  Apr): Dinner party with her family and friends in Chennai

Saturday (21 Apr): Dinner party with my family somewhere in north India

Weekend (28-29 Apr): Start journey back to London

Weekend (5-6 May): Ride / Drive to Oxford / Brighton with friends

Weekend (12-13 May): Finally, hopefully free :)