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2011: A Year in Review

December 27, 2011

Well its certainly been a busy year!

The year started off a pretty slow one. Doing the usual, working, socialising, spending time with friends, enjoying the company of my girlfriend but deep down something was eating away at me; I wasn’t happy. There were two reasons for this, firstly was my job, but  the main reason was a bit of disenchantment with where I was heading. I love Em, my friends and my family but I had a bit of loathing to myself. I felt I needed to be doing something, making more of a contribution to life than I was at that time. I was going through a spell of missing my dad, when I was frustrated or down, I always longed to speak to him so I decided it was time to do something, I’d always said I would do something great but I’d never had the guts to do it. It was time to step up…

So I decided to do this. And its had such a massive positive impact on my life. I’ve shed the weight, i’ve got out and cycled and taken risks in my career. They haven’t always paid off but this time last year I wouldn’t have even dared to take risks. I was in a comfort zone.

It was time to start planning out exactly what I was going to do and how. Things slowly started to fall into place. Thank’s To Em’s dad I got a bike.  Following on from this Hoarce signed on to help me. 
I then got on with the training. It was hard at first but as time went on I began to love it. Slowly but surely I noticed an improvement in my fitness and It wasn’t long before the first ride came along. A 30 Mile ride around the Cotswolds for the BHF.

Before

I learnt a lot from this ride of what it takes to survive on a  bike for long periods of time,and was pleased  with my time of 2 hours and 50 minutes. Next year i’ll be aiming to do it in 2 hours and 30 minutes. Not long after I had the priviledge of captaining the Shedweb  Lions against the Cherrypickers:

Sadly we came up short in the game, but raised £1500 for the BHF. In 2012 we will hopefully be better in both accounts when we get another go!

Another milestone was hit when I cycled 50 miles in Worcester with my friend  Ash whos been a big help in me developing as a cyclist.

As August approached I was feeling good, I had a new job which i was enjoying, I was loving my time with Em, life was good socially everything seemed to be falling into place. I approached  my first 100 mile bike ride with some confidence. Sadly it didn’t work out quite as well as I would have liked it to have done.

Around this time I wrote one of my favourite blogs and it made me realise how far I had come in a short space of time. I’m not where I would like to be with all of this yet, but i’ve made some bloody good progress! As always around this time I began to miss my dad which only focused my mind on the task more.

Then my first real setback with the 100 miler not going to plan. I won’t lie at this point I felt pretty low, but the great thing about sport is you always get a chance to put things right.

A week later I had another chance at clocking up my first 100 miles in a bike ride and this time I crack it. It remains one of my proudest accomplishments in sport and i’ll remember the day fondly for the rest of my life. I will especially remember the last 10 miles of utter, utter agony, where the only thing that got me to the finish was the image of my dad screaming at me to get through it and sheer bloody mindedness on my part, to stick a finger up to the pain and get through it:

Time for the first hill of the day

My confidence was further boosted when I racked up another 87 mile ride.  Then a great evening was held where thanks to my great girlfriend and mates we were able to hold a quiz night which raised over £585 quid:

Then I had a tough spell  that has tested me, with losing my job. It wasn’t ideal but I’m dealing with it and cracking on. I’m sure I’ll be working soon as i’m putting it all in to get a job and move on from this. In the midst of this I turned 30.

And that brings us through the highs and lows of the last year. I’ve learnt so much about myself and proud of what i’ve accomplished. Some of the lows have been tough and yes i’ve had tears but I’ve learnt so much about myself from these and I am proud of how i’ve come through them. I’ve also had some amazing highs and experiencing them has made the lows worth it. And when I roll into John O’Groats it will all be worth it.

So what will next year bring? Who knows. I’ve so much to look forward to, the 24 hour rugby match, the bike ride and much much more.

Tomorrow i’ll have a look at the goals i’ve set myself for the year to come…

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