Year Review 2023

Sitting down to write this has been challenging. I’ve had a full week off the bike now, which at the time felt like a well deserved reward but, in truth, feels like it has made me miserable. Maybe it’s the post Christmas blues, I don’t know.

This last week I’ve slobbed out worse than usual and I think that’s affected my mood. I don’t drink normally. I might have a beer at a restaurant but very rarely do I have any alcohol at home. This week I’ve had a lot of ale and port and sherry. Combine that with a doubling of my daily chocolate intake and very little exercise compared to every other week and its no surprises I’m feeling crap. My sleep is massively impacted too.

My plan is to resume riding tomorrow / on Monday. But I may also do a stint today depending on how I feel.

Looking Back On 2023

It’s been something of a strange year. I started off far better in terms of overall ability than how I have finished, yet the transition from then to now has been so gradual that it’s hard to discern what I was doing differently back then.

Clearly there was something.

The best I’ve come up with recently is that I was having protein shakes post ride but never bothered to buy more powder when I ran out last time. Could that really have made that much difference?

Fitness wise I’ve never felt better.

But clearly I have been, so that’s odd.

I set myself a goal of doing 20 races on Zwift this year. I’ve smashed that, completing 52 races if my back of the napkin maths is correct.

But each race is about 30 minutes in length, give or take, and maybe I’ve conditioned myself to ride that duration versus the 20 minute tests? But then all my FTP updates I get from the Garmin head unit sit me around the very 237w figure I got from my timed test, so it feels right.

The most likely conclusion is that I’m simply not riding as much. The rides I do are generally short and sharp. I’ve cut out endurance rides but I never did true endurance sessions in terms of time anyway. Just intensity. Replacing those with walks has been nice and I’m not planning to change that.

Right now I don’t want to ride outside because it’s usually not been overly pleasant. Walking is safer, simple as. But it’s not as much fun, I will equally concede. Either way I still get a few hours of fresh air regardless of the weather.

That’s why there isn’t much to look back on in terms of big outdoor rides this year. The outdoor riding I did do was always around the 30km marker, nothing super interesting.

Zwift Academy 2023

A lot of effort in the past three months has been invested into the Zwift Academy.

Honestly I had high hopes that the workouts would have been a win for me.

Certainly the longer harder workouts were a challenge, but my results overall were pretty lacklustre.

Also the races were like a magnification of everything I feel is wrong about Zwift racing in general. I guess it’s positive they included mandatory racing but it doesn’t feel like they actually care much about the way racing works on their product. I keep telling myself it’s probably a good workout regardless but it would be nice to feel like there’s a slim chance of winning one day at least.

I don’t think the Zwift Academy did anything to sway people to participate in more races.

Of course I never expected to be anywhere near the pro contract contention, but it would have been good to come out with some kind of uptick in metrics somewhere. That’s totally on me though, as all of this is.

Upgrading To Shimano 105

The big thing at the start of Quarter 3 was swapping out the stock components on my bike for Shimano 105.

That cost me £500ish. I can’t remember exactly how much, but that’s close.

So… was it worth it?


No. Probably not.

I cannot fault the installation, nor the components. But was it worth putting £500 worth of upgraded components on a 4 year old entry level bike?

I’m going to say no, it wasn’t.

Even less so, I feel as I’m still on rim brakes. However upgrading to discs would have made the upgrade even more expensive.

More recently I found two bike sites that sell second hand bikes as their main business model, and I could have got a seriously better bike for £1,000. Sure, it would have been a few years old, and … obviously, second hand, but yeah. Probably should have done that instead.

Ultimately better components didn’t translate into any noticeable gains. Boo. However, the shifters do feel nicer, so that’s something.

Quarterly Reviews

I think the quarterly reviews are helping me personally, but they definitely take something away from the end of year review post. I’ve kinda covered everything in those posts when it was still fresh, so any hope of nostalgia or fond remembrances is dulled significantly 😀

The positive thing is that doing those quarterly reviews forced me to do 4 FTP tests this year.

Not fun.

But useful.

Was It A Successful Year?

One really insightful thing I wrote this time last year was:

As far as cycling goes, 2022 was a pretty great year all round for me. Off the bike, perhaps less so.

For 2023 I’m hoping for a more even balance, honestly.

me, in last years review

Last year finished off pretty terribly. I was out of work, and had just had one of the worst job experiences of my working life.

However my cycling was going super well, which may have been due to me taking out a lot of frustration on the bike.

This year I have really enjoyed my work, but my cycling performance has dipped.

I truly do believe I had a more evenly balanced year. Massively so.

Maybe you do get what you wish for?

2023 stats


2022 stats

Take those stats with a pinch of salt, however, as 2023 was largely indoors, and 2022 was about 50/50 in-and-out. So 2022 was a harder year in actuality.

My Goals For Q1 2024

  • Protein shake after each ride
  • To understand how much protein I should be eating
    • And to start eating that much per day.
  • Continue racing weekly
  • Complete at least one session of the Tour de Zwift 2024 as a run 
  • FTP test again in 3 months 
    • 240w or greater FTP 
  • Get back up Parlick (hiking) – possibly not feasible in Q1
  • To become a liquid cash millionaire (add this one after writing that bit above about getting what you wish for 🤞)

I want to say get out on a group ride but I think I’ll wait for the weather to improve. Maybe that’s another one for quarter 2.

Thank You

Thank you very much for visiting and reading this website.

I am looking forwards to 2024. Even though you probably wouldn’t believe it reading these words (or listening to me talk), I have never been more positive about my future.

Whatever happens on the bike can only be a good thing. It’s better than being on the couch.

I wish you an equally positive and happy 2024.


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