Wednesday, December 31

So long, 2008, and thanks for the memories

As 2008 draws to a close, I've been looking back at the past year and what a journey I've had in these short 12 months.

Reflections on 2008 (click on the links to see more details)

* it's been a year since I gave up my desk job at the UK Department for Environment to focus entirely on Spinning and associated activities. I don't regret for a single moment that decision;
* I spent a month in India, which recharged me and gave me more motivation to come back and ride, indoors and out;
* I was hit by a car, fracturing my scapula, derailing my preparations for the Marmotte, as I was unable to ride an outdoor bike until the event itself;
* the injury didn't prevent me from attending and riding a weekend of indoor cycling with the Schwinn team in Hemsby, where I discovered my own inner strength in tackling adversity head-on;
* I tackled the Marmotte and finished it, unlike 3000 other riders. An achievement in itself, especially given the circumstances and lack of training;
* I was made to leave a class at a gym that, quite frankly, was and is being run into the ground by its manager...
* ...and immediately afterwards was offered a class by another gym for that same slot, plus another morning class, to help spread out attendance (I had a roll of two months where I was giving up my bike, so long was the waiting list);
* I was asked by Jennifer Sage to do some research on routes in Languedoc for her cycle tour company, also hooking up with her to lead group tours in Italy and France, coinciding with the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France;
* I landed some unexpected translation work for Mad Dogg Athletics (they who own and run Spinning), which was enjoyable and useful;
* I was approached by Andrew Clayton to teach a whole bunch of Spinning classes from next year at his Spinning-only facility in Putney, where the UK Master Instructors will also be teaching (I'll now be a small fish in the big pond!)
* I rode the Croix de Fer and the Galibier the weekend before they were closed off by the snow drifts... it's surreal riding in the snow-covered Alps and painful riding the sub-zero descents!
* I attended the ECA convention in Miami, ostensibly to check out Johnny G's (inventor of Spinning) latest innovation, the Krankcycle, and it was truly eye-opening - not just for Kranking but also applied to Spinning and life in general. Thank you Johnny, if only for that insight into myself;
* in Miami I also attended the Spinning rides, meeting Josh Taylor and Scott Schlesinger in the process, both of whom reminded me of what Spinning used to be and should still be. Simple, enjoyable, effective, empowering
* I didn't know who Josh and Scott were, so I was probably the least star-struck rider in the room... and so was the only one who didn't have his camera! Now I know, I can see they fully deserve the credit apportioned to them;
* after attending Scott and Josh's DJ Ride, it inspired me to get to grips with my digital mixer and I found it extremely easy to master. I used to be a DJ, so mixing comes naturally, but I was always a hands-on type of guy;
* I was so inspired by the professionalism at the ECA event that I signed up for the convention in New York next February. But more of that in my next post!

See you in 2009 - have a fun night, whatever you're doing!

Wednesday, December 24

An enforced but welcome break!

Yeah yeah, I know - it's been five weeks since I came back from Miami and you've not heard a word about it. I've been fairly busy since my return:

* I've done some translation work for MDA (the company that runs Spinning)
* I'm doing research work for upcoming cycle tours in Italy and France run by Jennifer, checking out a stage or two of the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France
* I've got myself an extra eight weekly classes starting in the New Year, bringing my total to 17 regular classes
* I've booked myself to go to the ECA convention in February in New York
* I tried and failed to garner more support for a ride in aid of breast cancer research, so it had to be cancelled
* I've got my new phone (the HTC Touch HD, better than the iPhone) so I've been playing around with it
* I finally sat down to figure out my digital mixing software (Ableton Live) and it was much easier than I thought, although I still prefer vinyl
* I've been studying sports science research for my own interest, including the use of cola to combat the effects of exercising at altitude
* and I've been planning all the activities I have in store for next year (see my next post!)

So I'm now enjoying an enforced rest, as the gyms are closed over the next two days. Back to normal on Saturday, though, with a nine-week program of recovery and endurance rides. Time to work on building those foundations, that fitness base!

I taught my last Christmas ride this morning and, after doing it eight times to different classes, I'm all out of jingle bells... until next year!

So, just in time before Santa comes down that chimney, I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy Hanukkah.