December roundup: Mince pies and base miles


Hi i’m Ryan and i’m really happy to say i’ll be racing for BTR throughout my first proper season of 12hr single speed endurance events. I’ve done some racing in the past but riding long distances has been my thing for a few years now, including the South Downs Way, riding up mountains and riding through the night.

I also enjoy bikepacking and will be going on a few adventures this year, giving me a chance to really put my prototype BTR XC frame through it’s paces. Over the coming months I’ll be blogging about my training, Cross Country racing and any other outings on two wheels.

I was on good form coming into December with top 10 finishes in a few XC races, including 7th at the first of the Gorrick Brass Monkeys series. Unfortunately, with all of the work and Christmas parties that come with December, I didn’t have much time for ‘proper’ training. It’s all too easy to get lazy over Christmas, so I decided Rapha’s Festive 500 was what I needed for a bit of waistline damage limitation.


I thought it’d be good to get a big chunk out the way at the start, so decided to join a few friends on their Somerset epic planned for Christmas Eve. At “100ish miles” it was set to be my biggest ride in December, but I was looking forward to it all the same.

The early start definitely wasn’t welcome, especially as I had rolled in only a few hours earlier that morning. It was set to be a day of character building!

The first 50 miles passed quite quickly as we were keen to get to the Somerset Levels, being pan flat we thought we’d cruise to Weston Super Mare in no time.

The long way round — an overview of our Christmas Eve ride

What we hadn’t accounted for was a fierce headwind doing it’s best to slow us down. As expected I was suffering so chose to tuck in behind the other two, drafting as they battled across the countryside.

We stopped in Weston for a can of coke then pushed on to the climb up to Chew Valley. I was seriously grovelling and thought I’d be much happier riding at my own pace. I pretty much knew my way home from this point and let the other boys crack on so I could relax a bit.

Flatlands offered no respite !
Flatlands offered no respite !

I made it home just before the sun went down, 6 1/2 hrs after leaving the house that morning. All in I managed 190km which accounted for over 1/3 of Festive 500 and meant I could take the rest of the week a bit easier (thank god).

The remaining 300km were split up across 4 very icy rides. These rides were far more social, involving coffee stops, cake and actual enjoyment rather than just trying my best not to get dropped! NYE morning marked the last ride of festive 500 and the year, bringing my 2014 grand total to almost 12,000km which i’m really happy with.

Chasing Chris in the mornings was extremely icy, so we had to stick to the main roads

January’s here now and i’m back to work and training. It’ll be a fairly low-key month of base miles, with the exception of a local XC race on 25th. It’s only an hour which is a bit short for me (i’m normally just about warmed up by that point), but it’s good fun and will keep me ticking over until training picks up again in February.

That’s all for now! In the meantime if you want to keep up with what i’m doing, you can find me on:

Twitter: @r_mckee93
Instagram: ryanmckee93
Strava: Ryan McKee


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