To write a post that reflects on the highlights of the year, I must first start with elaborating on the huge amount of gratitude I have for actually being in a position where I can do so.
I’m grateful for having the health to ride, run, walk and even breath at times. I’m grateful for having the fortune to visit places and do things that money prevents many others from doing. I’m hugely grateful for having such great companions to do it with, as none of these moments would be anything like as magical without them and some of these are highlights because of them.
I’m grateful for more reasons than I share and for more reasons than I can articulate well, as I can only bore and depress you if I documented the challenges and stresses this year has also brought.
I also hope (with intent) that this gratitude manifests itself not in these words, but by the actions I take next year to create even more highlights for myself, and hopefully others too.
It’s a morbid thing to say, but I said recently to someone that if I died tomorrow, don’t feel sorry for me. I’ve crammed a lot into my years compared to some. I’m still going strong, so watch out.
In no chronological order:
- Flying to Germany on a private plane looking calm on the outside and excited like a child at Christmas on the inside.
- Spending my birthday walking around Oxford with my Mum and my 19 year old son.
- Enjoying the excitement of the snow as it covered the village in record levels.
- That first cycle ride of the year through Wiltshire where the sky was blue and the air was full of summer promise.
- Meeting up with old Hampshire friends for childish giggles and a bike ride up Box Hill.
- Experiencing Michelin star dining by the great Roca Brothers at a private event in London.
- THAT ride along the Wye Valley when everything about the scenery and weather reminded me why I love cycling so much.
- Experiencing traditional vineyards, great food and a stunning and challenging ride around the mountains on Mallorca that was four days of non-stop entertainment.
- That time we rode through the Marlborough downs amongst the maize highlighted fields as a peloton.
- Riding to the top of Els Angels in Girona with the chapel as our finish line, laughing as the rain soaked through our summer clothing.
- Most things about that Girona trip, including the things that didn’t feel like highlights at the time.
- Arriving in Weston super Mare by bicycle on a hot summers day and being greeted by bands, coffee bars and busy promenades.
- Seeing my old mate Tony getting married.
- A night at the Musée des Arts Forains in Paris.
- Watching the end of the Tour de France from the finish line on the Champs Elysee. Meeting Peter Sagan, David Brailsford and others as I sneaked through to photograph Geraint Thomas shortly after he won.
- Walking around Prior Park gardens in Bath, appreciating the peacefulness, beautiful gardens and unique architecture and then riding back home along the canal.
- Everything about Ibiza, that itself could fill its own blog.
- Riding through the stunning countryside of France on our way to Paris from London, with good friends, new friends and lots of money raised for charity.
- Having a guided tour of the beautiful town of Taormina in Sicily, before heading out on a private yacht for a lavish party.
- Riding down into Woolacombe bay on a cold November afternoon and watching the sun light up the coast in front of us.
- Watching my son pass his Uni course work and frankly being surprised that he does.
For a look at some of the photo highlights from the above, well the cycling ones anyway, take a look at my Best of Photos post.
Thanks for reading, Happy New Year and good luck & health as you write your own story in 2019.