After looking back at some of the events of 2014 I've been giving some thought to what lies ahead in 2015 and what I'd like to achieve. I'm not too keen on the term New Year's Resolution because of the stigma of eventual failure that inevitably follows! These are definitely goals to work towards not things to start doing then stop.
> More winter climbing
By far and away my favourite pastime, winter mountaineering offers up a superb challenge; long days, tough conditions, technical climbing, solitude, a sense of the scale of nature and your relative insignificant place in it and the shared experience between friends.
The reward of reaching the top of a mountain via a difficult route is one of immense satisfaction. You haven't conquered the mountain; you don't conquer nature, you work within the limits it imposes. The mountain has tested you and let you pass.
This year, I'm without my usual winter partner Jonny due to work commitments. However we've got a week in Fort William booked in Feb with 8 people booked in. There's a range of experiences so we aren't going to be pushing the grades but there's scope for a lot of fun introducing people to the playground of the Scottish Highlands in their winter coat.
And the summit whisky!
> Sub 24-hour Fellsman
Ever since my good friend Tim told me about The Fellsman Hike in 2010 I've wanted to do it. He's helped run the Snaizeholme checkpoint about halfway round the 62 mile route for the last several years. I first entered it in 2012 getting 2/3rds of the way round to Cray in pretty poor weather conditions before the organisers (rightly) called the event off due to the number of people suffering from exposure. One chap in our overnight group of four lost his eyesight temporarily due to the cold and I had to walk him off the hill, hand in hand, for 3 miles!
You'd think after this I would be excused from trying it again. However at that 2/3rds point I was still going strong and was keen to finish so this was unfinished business. Overtraining in 2013 resulted in an ankle injury which ruled me out that year and a persistent knee injury put the damper on this year's entry.
I'm feeling confident that 2015 is going to be the year of achieving this long term race goal and am already considering the training plan which will be the subject of another post!
> Adventure Racing / Multisport Races
Race 1 and 2 in the Haglofs Open 5 series have whetted my appetite for more multisport races. I'll be partaking in the 4th and 5th races in the seriesas well as keeping my eye out for more adventure races. Maybe even the odd orienteering, duathlon or interesting triathlon will be considered!
> 2500 miles of cycling
Always good to set a mileage target. I missed this year's target of 2000 miles by 150 miles which isn't bad considering I wasn't cycling regularly for the first half of the year. I also want to do a 100 mile ride sometime, maybe even have a stab at Stage 1 of the 2014 TdF through the top of Yorkshire sometime in September?
> 500 miles of running
An average of 10 miles a week should be achievable and be enough to keep my running strength up to scratch.
> Mountain Marathon
Either the Saunders, OMM or LAMM is going to happen this year, partner permitting!
> Write more interesting blogs
I'm not sure if this is "more interesting" as in more of the same or that they should be "more interesting!". I'm enjoying blogging as a way of organising my thoughts and I've got a couple of longer posts I've been working on. Trying to write creatively is a fun challenge :)
> More camping and walking with the kids
Trying to indoctrinate the youth into believing the outdoors is fun! This year we are going to climb an actual mountain (not sure which one) and have lots of fun in tents.
> More Wainwrights!
I've only ticked 14% of them but every time I go to the Lakes I have a great time so any excuse to return regularly is fine by me!
> Learn to play the ukulele
Lastly, possibly the biggest challenge of 2015. Having never had any musical training or experience or any ability whatsoever I have decided to learn to play a musical instrument. After chatting to my Dad (a very musical chap) I've elected to learn the ukulele in 2015. I'm sure I can fit in regular but short practice sessions into my week just by cutting down on the number of times I check Facebook!
This is going to be difficult as I've got pretty much no idea how to read music/tabs, how to play chords or even where to blow into a ukulele*. I'll be twanging out some tunes before you know it and irritating L and the kids.
So, come just after midnight, after I've mumbled my way through the bits of Auld Lang Syne that I know and hugged a few people, I shall sneak off to a quiet corner with a single malt to toast the year gone, the one to come and all my friends and family.
Then back into the party to hoover up what's left of the canapes. I'll burn it off later.
Make it a good one, yeah?
* I know, I know... you blow across the big hole right? ;)