If I had to pick one word to describe my 2013 it would be “colds”. This year I’d guess I’ve had more days feeling at least a bit ill – sore throat, runny nose – often nothing serious, but annoying. Eventually I realised that if I stopped doing things because of a cold I’d get nothing done at all. I had 8 days off work sick, a record for me, but still less than the national average of 9.1.

The likely cause is Sasha bringing home new bugs from nursery. With an immature immune system, she catches everything and doesn’t understand that sneezing in her parents’ faces or over their dinner is not cool. We rarely became seriously ill, but the regularity of infection has been a real drag. Still, this is easily forgiven as she’s really cute and now she’s walking and talking, it’s so exciting to watch her learn and grow, even from behind a tissue.

One of the things I’ve been just carrying on with in spite of the colds is cycling. I did do some Internet research on whether this was a good idea and the general consensus seems to be that it’s fine to train with a cold, as long as the symptoms are neck upwards. A chesty cough, stomach bug or achy joints would necessitate rest. As far as I could tell, cycling didn’t make me more likely to catch colds, nor make them more severe. Rather unscientifically, I took 6 weeks off hard exercise and still had the same kind of sniffles. So my policy for all but the most serious maladies is to carry on regardless.

2013 Heat-map
2013 Heat-map

Looking back on my cycling statistics for the year and I’m quite surprised about how far I’ve gone and how high I climbed.

2013:  5097km (3142 miles) and 52353m climbed (32 miles)
2012:  1727km (1064 miles) and 16166m climbed (10 miles)

Several times this year I did longer rides than I’ve ever done before – 188km, 214km and then 246km (151 miles). However, the total distance probably isn’t my most in a year, as I probably did more than that in 2000, most of which was cycling across Australia.

The heat-map is a nice visual representation of the year’s achievements. It’s great to have a GPS tracker, Strava and other tools to see where I’ve been, how fast and whether I’m improving or not.

Next year I’m hoping to gain the Super Randonneur award and hopefully a RRTY (a ride of at least 200km every calendar month; 4 done, 8 to go!). Hopefully this will prepare me to do the same in 2015 to qualify for  Paris-Brest-Paris – if I’m not fed up of cycling by then!

More importantly, I should end up with a prettier heat-map!



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