From 2016 to 2017

Lots of words have been said about 2016 and lots of words will be said about 2017. Here are mine, nicely divided up. Good and Not So Good. Personal, of course.

Good
The climb of Mont Ventoux was the absolute highpoint of my year. I wrote a lot about it already, take a look at the link. The only thing I will say here is that it was great not just in personal terms but also in terms of the support received, both personally and in terms of sponsorship. Next year I will climb Ventoux again, though this time not sponsored. I plan to enjoy it more this time, along with some other challenges.

Good
Indeed, cycling is a general highlight of 2016. My final year stats will show a relatively high number of kilometres, just over 8,500. That the total is so high is purely because this is finally a sport that I enjoy. A late starter in that I only really started to ride at the age of 37 whilst most of the Dutch around me seem to have been born welded to a bike. But cycling remains massively important to me. In some ways, though, it is also part of the a ‘Not So Good’ part of this entry.

Not So Good
The climb of  Ventoux was to raise money for research in to MS and that is because MS impacts me and many others. For me, the advice is to manage things more carefully. Everything. The stark fact is that my right side is weaker than my left and the need to build for the future means increased rest and balance. But I will still cycle and still set targets; the training will be smarter, that’s all. I will also make time for wider interests. Reading, cookery, wine. Work will go on as well, of course, using the flexibility I have to maximum effect. So, strangely, a ‘not so good’ has also room to be a ‘good’. I need to just manage things more carefully and enjoy them more. 

Not So Good
Politics. Not something I can control alone. And on this I will keep my personal views private, although it is probably easy to guess what they are on the big political events of the last year. Brexit, Trump, etcetera. What is a complete low light, though, is the nature of debate. Tolerant debate, and emphasis on tolerant, is at an all time low. There is just a simplistic notion of winners and losers and the winners in 2016 do seem rather intent on gloating even though democracy is based upon the a principle of continued scrutiny. Asking questions is not traitorous. Combined with the lack of compassion and associated with the defensive nature of populist politics and this is a not an uplifting year to look back on.

Both Good and Not So Good
I do love music. Not in a disciplined way and something that I have not mentioned very much in this blog, asides from one post about the strange association I make between music and cycling. Perhaps something I will mention more in the coming year. The high point came early in the release of a new David Bowie album. And then came the low point, the not so good. A day or so later he had passed away, the first of many ‘star’ deaths in 2016. A lot has been written about these and I won’t add too much here. Instead, I will just pull this one back in to Good, purely as all of these deaths remind you of what these artists left behind. I could make this a huge blog listing all of these. Instead, it’s just good to mention the titles of some personal favourites. ‘Station to Station’, ‘Raspberry Beret’, ‘Rockin’ All Over the World’, ‘Hallelujah’. And ‘Club Tropicana’; a guarantee to get anyone tapping their feet. Anyone! Great that they left all of this behind for us.

2017
This will be a year of some change. In the world, the results of the choices of 2016 will start to be felt. We’ll see what comes of those. But I remain optimistic. In my small world there will be challenges and these will keep me moving. The rambling nature of the blog, perhaps reflected in this end of year summary, will be maintained. Cycling, food and wine (not said much on these in the last year)and a little more on music? Why not! Why I do it? Well, it’s fun to write on a superficial level and, on a more serious level, it helps me practice concentration which has become a small issue over the last couple of years. It does not matter to me if the audience is one or one-thousand readers and, let’s be honest, the former total is probably the most accurate. Still nice to do and I will continue to do so in my random, disorganised way.

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