By the end of August I'd done 4000 miles. Mostly on the road in the first half of the year, but with a bias towards off road as the trails turned dusty over the summer.
All year I have tracked my progress on Strava, and month on month I have got faster and faster.
I was definitely going to get a PB as long as a mechanical didn't spoil the day. There were even thoughts of going sub 4 hours.
They were my preparations and dreams.
On the 21st of August at about 10pm I get a call from a worried friend to say that her husband who went for a run at 7pm had not returned. She'd already set off to look or him. I offered to head up from the other side of the hill on my bike to see if I could find him too.
I grabbed all my usual bike stuff together plus a first aid kit and survival bag. I was swinging my leg over my bike on the road outside the house when my phone rang. Good news, I could stand down our "lost man" was now found.
Instead of going back in the house to watch some more rubbish telly. I thought, it's a nice warm evening, I'll just go for a short local spin. An hour of well known local trails that's all.
Good front bike lights and familiar trails must have caused a bit of complacency.
I was looking well ahead as riders do, except somehow a small dropdown on a left hand corner had not registered at all as requiring evasive action.
Over the bars I went with my helmet taking the full impact or at least so I thought. I lay on the floor for a few seconds. Slightly dazed with a sore neck and head for sure. No major pains though, I'm OK I think. Ride over. Time to go home.
I push a short section, then hop back on the bike and head down a rooty descent towards home. I don't exctly crash again, but my bike gets away from me on the descent. My right hand doesn't seem to want to assist in controlling the bike. I push down to the farm and it's metalled track below.
I remount the bike, but every slight bump in the track is causing my right wrist area PAIN. Thankfully I am less than a mile from home. I manage with my good arm to ride home. No need for rescue. Phew.
Once home it is clear that something is not right with my arm.
So a £30 taxi to the hospital, an X ray and a diagnosis of a non-displaced radial fracture.
As reward I have this "you'll not be riding a bike for a while" thing fitted. My daughter who had insisted on coming with was most impressed and glad we hadn't had a wasted journey.
I was resigned to it being very unlikely that I'd be lining up for the 3 Peaks in 6 weeks time.
6 days later I return to hospital. The consultant said that as the bone isn't in two seperate pieces I can have the plaster cast off, and instead have a neoprene velcro and aluminium splint instead. I enquire if it might be fixed sufficiently to do a "bike race" at the end of September to which he replied "maybe". More good news was, that he said that exercise would be beneficial in the healing process.
Another week passed before I felt that I could have another go at the Turbo. This time I could hold the bars albeit gingerly, and managed a good hour at tempo. Things were maybe looking up. My arm was still sore.
Three more days passed, and again I set the bike up on the Turbo. I placed my hands on the bars, and my hand felt noticeably better. Not 100%, but like maybe, possibly, it may be able to do a short proper ride.
I cranked my arm support to the max, and me and my lad went out on our bikes.
We've a disused railway trail below our house. The ambition was modest. 2 miles on an out and back on a flat and smooth surface.
I moved through the hand positions as we rode down the trail. Tops of the bars good, drops good, braking good, hoods not so good.
Ace the two miles flew by. So what of hills I thought? Next we rode up a shortish 10% hill. No problems there, except I was told off for riding much faster than I normally do (with him).
Right so maybe a little off road next. Quickly I realised that the limits of my injury for now had been found. Any bumps just like on that first night a couple of weeks ago hurt. So no point doing anymore of that for now.
We dropped back into the village and then a quick blast on the tarmac out to Kinder Reservoir, then back home. Not far, just over 7 miles in total, but no subsequent additional pain.
After a couple of weeks of being on a bit of a downer about missing this years 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross race, I'm beginning to think that I might be racing after all.