Huw rides 20,013 Km in 2013
My 20,013 – a year to remember, a year not to repeat…ever again
By Huw Howell
For reasons that I can’t really explain I somehow pedalled 20,013 km in 2013, thankfully not a single km was anywhere close to being on a turbo, which isn’t actually proper cycling.
It was never my intention to cycle that far. January 2013 kicked off quite nicely with a spot of running and swimming interspersed with riding, pretty sensible if you belong to a Tri club I guess. A trip to the Alpes in May allowed a few more iconic climbs to be ticked off before getting to the halfway point in June at 9,200km. Being a simple accountant I doubled that as a full year target just for something to do. Intervention by the very shrewd but long suffering Mrs Howell, who then suggested 20,000km was a more suitable and memorable number. At the time I thought I had a very supportive wife, later it dawned on me that it might have been a ruse.
August, just for a change we went to France, 14 years running I’m told. Great roads, great weather, variable coffee. Some beautiful rides into Biarritz, Bayonne and beyond knocked off 2,000km. With a mild autumn the target looked set and then December hit. Being a Global Head meant I was expected to travel, which I thought about disputing then thought better of it and headed off to the land of the rising sun for a week. I hadn’t factored this trip or the rain into the December schedule and suddenly it all got a bit squeezy, cold and damp hardly added to the joy.
With 8 days left in December I had 544 kms to complete, beating last years Rapha 500 effort, only this time having already ridden 19,500 kms. The Mother-in-Law was down for Christmas so it was far easier for all concerned for me to out of the house, 3 hours Christmas eve, Christmas Day and Boxing day got me closer still and I was finally left with just 220 km for the last 3 days, adding on a few k’s to get to 20,013 to match the year. December 29th was cold and icy, but beautifully clear so I gave the Kent lanes a miss, sticking to the main roads riding from Tonbridge to Tower Bridge and back to knock off 111km and leave a easy 106km over 2 days, this looked a happy ending. Easy until the weather forecast changed markedly with constant heavy rain forecast. The target was still doable but would possibly now include a bout of pneumonia. Mrs H informed me that this would not be a problem, we had more than adequate life cover and she was right behind me. On wards.
Hung around the house on Dec 30th watching the rain fall, a chink opened at 2pm and I set off for a dash (albeit a slow dash on a single speed) from Tonbridge to Sevenoaks to Brands Hatch and back to Tonbridge, the rain held off for longer than anticipated and in the cold, damp, dark night I decided I’d front load the Dec 31st ride with 3x 5km laps around Tonbridge industrial park, possibly one of the low points of the year.
Dec 31st, an easy 37km ride round Ide hill to Sevenoaks, Malabar coffee and almond croissant and a final beautiful dry 10km roll back down the hill to Tonbridge, the finish. Not quite the finishing barriers and podium girls of the Tour but a sense of internal accomplishment nevertheless.
2013 - I experienced all four seasons (sometimes in one day), rode in all weathers and for me, the most important, rode with a great bunch of people from the club, weekly commutes, Saturday rides, Sunday rides and holiday rides
Roll on 2014