So how do I sum up 2013? An eventful year for sure, started off well, peaked fantastically in June and then has declined somewhat since. Lets hope we’ve seen the back of the illness and injury which has plagued the second half of the year.
Dawned glorious at the Old Vicarage in West Witton in the Yorkshire Dales after spending New Years Eve / our 8th wedding anniversary at the fantastic Wensleydale Heifer. A great evening with friendly folk including Jimmy from Emmerdale!
Back home the month started cold and icy, so bad on one ride we had to assist with a full rope recovery of a small car from Scarth Nick near Osmotherley! Later in the month the snow came, deep and thick and damaging for bikes. I managed to sheer the rear derailler off my bike attempting a steep climb in a foot of the stuff. We ended January with a great weekend in Giggleswick near Settle for Mrs Twiggs 40th. A weekend of huge contrasts – the first day we walked in 2 foot of deep fresh powder, the next day in the bog and floods following the melting of 2 foot of deep fresh powder!
We head to France early in February for a week skiing in Flaine. A perfect first day with glorious views of the Mont Blanc massif was followed by 6 days of complete whiteout. Not great skiing but lovely hotel apartment, happy hour peronis and good to relax. Back home we mixed up the biking with some hiking getting some miles in the legs for the upcoming challenges.
The month of March began with Mr T on his magical mystery tour to Brussels and ended with more snow over the Easter weekend – this is becoming a bit of a tradition!
April was the start of the 5*50 challenge – Mr T stuck to this religiously for the 50 days which was an awesome effort and I wasn’t too far behind. April Fools Day saw us over at Dalby for the first time this year, after some debate over petrol enjoying a great ride but running out of time to complete the full red route. We then completed our first big challenge of the year, St Cuthberts Way, with the Craggs walking from Melrose to Holy Island over 4 days – an amazing experience which we are all looking forward to repeating in 2014. We ended April with a weekend off?!?
The first May Bank Holiday saw us head to the Lakes for a three day yurting experience. Staying in the yurt was great fun and we managed a great ride around Lonsdale Fell (well nearly managed – Mr T snapped a chain about 4 miles from home and took refuge in the pub!), fantasic meal in the Log House in Ambleside, more biking at Grisdale once I’d repaired the chain and summitting Pavey Ark (in the mist as usual although once we were in the valley bottom the skies were blue again!). This exertion was followed, for me, by a weekend chilling in Montpellier with the girls. We squeezed in a walk through Blue Bell wood, Ian took what we thought was a innocuous tumble on Les3 in Guisborough Woods and we climbed to the Nine Standards on a glorious bank holiday Monday at the end of the month.
Early in June we had an amazing week in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco trekking with a group from KEAdventure to the summit of Mount Toubkal. The experience of a lifetime. Back home it was wet and muddy, very unseasonal! We managed to find a nice day to squeeze in another trip to Dalby which unfortunately ended up in disaster as Ian punctured at Dixons Hollow and then managed to snap his rear derailleur on Medusas Drop!
The first weekend in July saw us take on our first Sportive at the Stockton Cycling Festival. We opted for the medium route of around 40 miles from Stockton (riding there from home) round to Great Ayton, over Gribdale to Kildale and back home. Unfortunately Ian managed to take quite a serious fall off coming down into Kildale which after an hour of first aid ended his ride and he was shipped back to Stockton in the van. The following weekend we’d recovered enough to complete another Craggs walk, The Hinterwell Hop and for me to collect the new bike for my stable, an upgrade of my full suspension bike, the Specialised Camber. Mr T had a leg consultant appointment in July following a strange swelling in June. This resulted in the discovery of a blood clot in the leg and a 6 week course of daily injections to treat, along with a vein operation to be scheduled in August. The month ended more postively with me successfully completing my British Cycling Level 1 / Sky Ride Leader training.
At the start of August we returned to the Lakes and to Hawkshead again but this time stayed in Pods at the YHA. These worked out great, especially as it poured down the entire first night – would not have wanted to be in a tent! We enjoyed another day riding Grisedale and then bagged anither Wainwright, Wansfell, on the Sunday. I met up with some of the girls from MTB Guisborough for a couple of night rides, hopefully the start of new friendships and riding partnerships in 2014 and also managed my first solo 50km ride on my MTB. The month ended with a big family trip to Centre Parcs at Whinfell to celebrate the BiL 40th birthday before Mr T went in for his varicose vein operation.
The first weekend of September was enjoyed in London town (the remainder of the month was endured in London town for work) with two days of Royal Park walking and triathlon supporting seperated by our first trip to the new Wembley stadium to see Pink Flloyd – makes a change from seeing Boro getting beat! The London working was endured by the prize of a new bike on my return, a Cube road bike, my first drop handlebar bike in 20 odd years – this could get interesting! The month ended with more pods for me, this time at Dalby, with the famous Birds on Bikes group. A fantastic weekend with a great bunch of girls who I cant wait to ride with again in 2014.
Things went properly downhill in October as I had to rush Mr T to hospital in an ambulance (and miss my first girls weekend away!) where he was diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung. Our planned week off work was spent in recuperation with me popping off for short rides allowing Ian to rest and then a couple of trips together to Saltholme and to ride part of the Cinter Track at Ravenscar. I also managed to squeeze in a very aptly timed two day Mountain First Aid course at Catterick Garrison and take a trip to Middlesbrough Cycling Circuit at Prissick base. The month ended with me donning skeleton outfit and assisting as a scarer on a cold and wet Halloween night in Guisborough Woods.
I spent the first weekend of November at the famous Plas y Brenin in Wales, somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, completing my Mountain Bike Leadership training. It was the first womens only course and an excellent experience with lots of learning. Unfortunately my bike played up whilst I was there but the faulty derailler was swiftly replaced by my friends at Bikescene. This did get me thinking though and before the month was out my old hardtail had been dusted off, serviced and specced up as my winter mountain bike.
Ian managed a couple of rides early in the month before another accident on the road bike saw him with a broken finger and what was later diagnosed as a fractured shin. This destroyed any hope he had of riding on our annual trip with the gang to Keswick. I enjoyed a day at Whinlatter with Mr Marshall and then a blast around Derwent Water in the rain on my lonesome the following day. The Sunday was spent once again walking around the lake (anti clockwise this year) with the traditional stop at the Lodore Falls Hotel aka Christmas Tree Hotel and it didnt disappoint! Back home I had a hectic weekend completing the Teesside Hospice Santa Run in Stewarts Park followed the next day by first foray into Cyclocross racing which I absolutely loved! The Wainstones Christmas Party weekend saw me enjoy a remarkably unhungover ride across to Guisborough before the holidays, Strava challenges and bad weather, hit. I’ve ended the year with a mix of road and mountain bike rides and a good bit of running – not managing to achieve any of the targets but ending the year on good fitness high.
And so 2013 is over. Happy New Year and who knows what 2014 will bring, hopefully some fun, maybe a little competitve, biking, the Tour in Yorkshire, another great long walk with the Craggs and, fingers crossed, good health all round.