At the end of every year I like to do an annual round-up to assess what I will be taking with me and what I will be leaving behind. Even though a year goes so quickly, there is still so much you pack into it and having a quick period of reflection like this makes you realise how far you’ve come! This is a very self-indulgent post but I encourage you to do the same as it’s very cathartic and puts you in a strong position come January 1st 2016! 2015 has had huge moments on the bike, out running and maiden voyages in triathlon and I’m doing my annual stock take, right here.

Getting over the January blues

2015 got off to a slow start with the most hideous cold I think I’ve ever had. For nearly two weeks I felt like someone had sucked the life out of me and I had a severe case of January blues. Once the mist cleared and I started to feel OK again, I decided to make the most out of the remaining month and set my alarm for 6am everyday (nearly) and ran 5km before work to get me back into the swing of it. I made fresh tracks in the rare London snow and saw what urban foxes really get up to when we aren’t looking.

Early morning sights on January runs

Early morning sights on January runs

I went cycling with adidas

By February, queenofthemile.com was a year old and starting to make some great connections in the cycling world. I was invited to spend a day with adidas and other influencers whose adventures in the saddle I had been avidly following. Myself, adventurer Sophie Radcliffe, Dani Fej and Sam Dunn, the fixed gear duo and founders of Little Wheels and Luke Clark and Rudi Melo from the awesome team that is the 5th Floor spent the day riding around North London testing the awesome adistar kit. Full story is here. 

adidas adistar cycling kit

Image: Jon Baines

I went completely freelance and became editor of SportStylist.com

In March I quit my job and decided to go back to being a freelance writer so that I could be more flexible with my training, have more time to build my own brand at QoTM and embark on projects that were fun and varied. I got the position as editor at women’s fitness website SportStylist.com and began working with my fantastic team. Being a freelance writer presents some moments of fear but on the whole I love the sense of freedom and variety it gives me and I hope to keep attracting many more clients next year. (Business plug: If you need a writer, my portfolio is here ;-))

A new start

I cycled to Paris in 24 hours

Having met Sophie Radcliffe earlier that year, I caught wind of the fact that she was launching her new sportive series. The challenge was to cycle to Paris from London in one push. We left Greenwich at 4pm on a Saturday and rolled into Paris with only seconds to spare 24 hours later. This was the most distance I had ever ridden in one go and the experience was completely unforgettable. The full account of the adventure is here. 

I completed my first Ironman 70.3 in Zurich

Most of my training up until this point had been working towards this goal and as soon as I got in the water the morning of the half Ironman, all my nerves blew away and I had the best time! It was the hottest day of the year and our group all got completely burnt to a crisp – classic Brits. Full story is here. 

ironman 70.3

Climbing the hills of the Zurich Ironman 70.3

I DNF’d my first Ultra Marathon at Race to Stones

A DNF shouldn’t really constitute a good moment in the year but with every low comes a lesson and mine was always bring your head with you to a race. On this occaision, I wasn’t mentally committed or prepared enough and had a slightly lackadaisical attitude to the 100km ultra I was undertaking. Finally due to bad shoe planning I blew up at 80km and had to pull out. However, my 65 year old mum also did the event and stormed to the finish line like an absolute trooper so despite my own DNF, I was brimming with pride for her. After this event I went to the South of France with my best friends and did absolutely nothing apart from stuff my face with wine and cheese! Parfait.

race-to-the-stones-finisher-5

Not my day but it was my mum’s

I crashed my bike and replaced it with a carbon frame!

Whilst out with my cycling buddy Kitty and the gang on a ride to Kent I managed to wrap my steel frame Specialized Dolce round an electricity pylon. I was OK other than a blackened left arm and a few bent spokes but it left me with the theory that is was certainly time to upgrade! Now I am the proud owner of a Colnago AC-R which I will be paying off for the rest of my life.

My beautiful Colnago - Photo: Matt Austin

My beautiful Colnago – Photo: Matt Austin

I cycled up Mont Ventoux, and got engaged!

September was the month that Irish signed his life away and ‘engaged me’. Naturally we were on bikes at the time, cycling through the Verdon region on the hunt for croissants. I was in a foul mood as I normally am in the morning before I’ve eaten but it soon passed when he presented me with a little box. A couple of days earlier we had cycled to the top of the beast of Provence, Mont Ventoux. He had planned to propose at the summit but I was too busy throwing up! Good times! Story here. 

Mont Ventoux

Couple of high points

I got to experience a taste of luxury at On The Rivet

On The Rivet is a luxury road cycling retreat in Dorset. Myself and Kitty joined a group of women on a gorgeous autumn weekend and spent three staight days conquering the undulating climbs and enjoying great food, wine and soaks in the jacuzzi in the evening. One of my favourite 2015 weekends. Full account here. 

Image: Matt Austin

My mum and I ran the Bristol to Bath Marathon

This was our second mother/ daughter event of the year and we seemed to pick the hilliest of marathons available! We both completed it and found it challenging and exhilarating in equal measures. This was my mum’s first marathon and my second and it was a pleasure to do it together! No DNF for me this time! Story here. 

Victorious

Victorious

And what’s in store for 2016?

The next year is a blank slate for me. I have deliberately left it quite clear to see where the wind may take me. All I have booked at the moment is the London Marathon but I want to go on lots more adventures on my Colnago both here and abroad. I can’t wait to start planning an epic 2016!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! x