Something I have never done is rack up 5000km of on-bike mileage in a calendar year.
I'll just pause for a second here, and let the decent cyclists amongst you all have a little chuckle... Yes, I know - only 5000km!! Hey, the blog has "C Grade" in the title for a reason...
I've been a 'cyclist' for around 15 years (if you include my triathlon years - I know some will be offended at that suggestion!). Not a serious one though, just a lover of lycra-ing up and riding my bike. It was around 7-ish years ago that I 'got serious', joined Balmoral cycling club, and paid up for a race licence. I've held my club membership and race licence continuously since then.
For the first few years, I really did nothing of note training wise. I left the bike alone during winter months, and had very short spurts of training occasionally to try and get race fit. I would typically rack up 2000 - 3000kms in a year, concentrated around the start & end of the calendar year. During this time, I scored my only two ever race podiums - a 2nd in D Grade (2006), and a 4th in C Grade (2008), both at the HPRW Summer Twilight Crits.
After the last podium in late 2008, I decided I should have a more determined, consistent crack at getting better. I set myself the modest goal of achieving 4000km for the year, with some consistency (especially over winter). Whilst I was still a little sporadic, I finished 2009 with around 4300km in the bank - goal achieved!!
So the goal for 2010 was a simple one - 5000km. A small but steady increase, with an eye on small, steady improvements over a lifetime of cycling. By October, I had already reached 4000km - easily on track to make it. But then of course, 'the accident' happened - 9-10 months off the bike, a couple of shoulder surgeries, and many months of rehab came next...
So this year, 2012, is my first full calendar year back on the bike since then. My resumption year. My rebuilding year. A year of gently bringing my body back into consistent cycling-shape.
That elusive 5000km, whilst a very modest target, has been my big goal amongst all that - the cherry at the end. For me, hitting 5000 will be my mental signal that I am 'back on track' with my lifelong, onwards training progression.
As we reach the end of November, I have roughly 500km to go - something I know I can easily achieve. It's funny - just thinking about it almost gets me a little emotional. How can such a small thing (literally!) ingrain itself into my psyche as such a huge measure of progression?
Part of me has already started mentally pencilling in my big cycling plans for 2013. I suspect the most significant boost to making those plans a reality is when my bike computer trickles over to 5000km sometime during late December - I will officially be back... :)