A victim of statistics?

I like to think that most of my cycling is done purely for pleasure, but sometimes there are telling moments that reveal other driving forces. Many roadies keep detailed statistics of every ride and training session throughout the year, and in the run-up to New Year’s Eve, you may sometimes notice numbers of lycra-clad mile-eaters out storming the lanes and byways, sometimes in weather conditions little suited to riding two wheels (as I discovered three years ago when I came off on black ice). What they might be doing is ‘chasing stats‘. Let me explain.

The only numbers I record throughout the year are the distances of each ride and, early on in the year, I look at my pattern of rides and try to guess my annual total 6-7 months in advance, and somehow this becomes my target (which for 2011 was going to be 9000 miles). Before I set off for Tenerife on December 13th, I had noticed my current total was 8348 miles, which meant covering 652 in the last two weeks of the year if I were to hit my notional target. Now this is all going to appear (especially to the non-cyclist) a bit ‘sad’ and ‘anoracky’, because there are no prizes and awards, and no coaches or personal trainers goading you on.  I went off to Tenerife for a week and covered just under 400 miles, leaving about 260 to complete over the Christmas period.

Sadly, I have to admit that, for a period of 10 days, my principal driving force was to reach 9000 miles, but the weather happened to be great (though windy) and it all turned out to be a great pleasure anyway. Going into New Year’s Eve I noticed that my tally was just 3 miles short of the target (unbelievable, I know….). It was a fine morning and I fielded the suggestion to Jenny that she might like to go for a tandem ride, and we could stop for a cup of fine coffee (always a winning move!) at a nice little tea room in Sharnbrook…….. and she accepted ;0)  So I had the pleasure of surpassing the target in the company of my wife who was, of course, sharing the pedalling (though many passers-by claimed she was not!)….. is that cheating, I wonder?

Because of trips and extended travelling without a bike in 2011, I had gone two whole months with scarcely any mileage, but this was off-set by intensive expeditions and tours: to Santiago de Compostela (1400 miles), Fuerteventura (252 miles) and Tenerife (390 miles). If you like cycling to targets, may your wheels carry you safely to your destinations.


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on January 1, 2012, in Miscellany and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Congratulations Frank upon reaching the magic number. Dear Jenny is a dear to help you along the way. Happy 2012 to you both. We hope it brings your hearts’ desires to you. Hugs!

  2. I have sent replies two or three times re Ushaw – have you received them?

  3. Yes Len, you will see replies under your comments on the relevant posts. If you want to be informed of replies, just check the box that says “Notify me of follow-up comments via email.” beneath your reply.

  4. ”That one at the front’s not pedalling!” 😉 Well done pops! Great to hear mum was part of the last few miles of your goal!

  5. As a recent follower I am fascinated by some of your expliots, and particularly the opening comments above. In the sixties and seventies I was an ardent time trialist, and today well remember every New Years day changing the annual calender/ bar chart supplied in the centrefold of the Xmas edition of “Cycling”.This was basically a graph with the x axis calibrated in calender weeks and the y axis in little boxes about an eighth square each representing 5 miles. Below the x axis were fields to record the weeks tally and year to date – How these ruled our lives!
    Keep up the posts, they present a fascinating melody of experiences,

    • Thanks for those thoughts, David. Although I cycle regularly with St Ives CC (Cambridgeshire), I tend only to join them on their Sunday club runs. But the majority are racing roadies, and talk over the table at cake stops is almost always about the finer details of racing programmes and training. I generally listen and smile……….;0) But the pace and camaraderie on the road is what I like.

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