Cycling: one year on!

I purchased my first road bike back on July 28th 2015. So much has changed in a year, so I just wanted to share my thoughts on this. Okay, so my intention back last summer was to buy a road bike for the London Duathlon. I knew there was a slight chance that I may get slightly obsessed with cycling and bikes(!) at the time. I was talking to a good running friend Pete Chapman today, who has just recently got into road cycling, and was explain to him (briefly) my journey of getting my first road bike to where I am now. I am definitely not very experienced with cycling, but feel that after cycling almost 4,000km in 2016 so far, have accumulated a reasonable level of competence. Here is a brief timeline of my cycling journey since last year:

July 2015: Purchased my first road bike (Orbea H30D)
September 2015: Went on a cycling tour in Barcelona
October 2015: Upgraded the groupset (Sora to 105 5800) on my Orbea
October 2015: Got a Garmin Edge 1000
November 2015: Discovered Castelli gear!
November 2015: Got my first turbo trainer and got hooked on Zwift
December 2015: Went clipless!
February 2016: Got a KickR
February 2016: Purchased Canyon Endurace CF 9.0 Di2
May 2016: Purchased Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 Aero

With each evolutionary step, I have learnt so much. Not only has my working knowledge of bikes dramatically increased (from knowing virtually nothing!), but my confidence on the road has also come in leaps and bounds. I remember when I first went out on the road, I was petrified! In all honesty, I am still very cautious of motorists, but have gained the confidence to ride safely and do the best I can to protect myself from harm. I can actually recall that I could not even operate the shifters on my Orbea back last summer(!) and my good friend Julian Porter really helped me (patiently) during this time, for which I am grateful. He is actually still my cycling mentor, and saviour, in many ways to this day. Here is a nice comparative analysis between my first ride, and what a typical ride is like now.

fr

r2

I feel that at each step, from upgrading my Orbea, to conducting research into the various clipless options, I learnt a great deal. I was injured (running related gluteal niggle) from September 2015 and things just improved in April 2016. During this time time, cycling has been my true saviour, and I probably would have been driven into a highly depressed state over the winter months had it not been for cycling, and training on Zwift! I should also add that my mate Dan Noz helped in making my decision to go for the KickR, and using it in conjunction with Zwift has been absolutely amazing! You can check out his Zwift guide here:

This is actually a very personal blog post, but hopefully it can help my friends who are getting into road cycling for the first time to see how quickly knowledge is gained and transitions come. Road cycling has completely changed my outlook as an athlete, and as much as I love running, will never look back at myself as only a runner. Roll on September for the L’Etape where I have signed up for a 92 mile ride with my friends Mark and Dan. Time to finally net that century ride!

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