Not In The Peloton Awards 2017

It's back, the awards ceremony the world has been waiting for! We tried to get James Corden to host but he was too busy parting sheep in the middle of the road and he's not that funny anyway! So we will be taking you through the highs and lows of our cycling year. Not surprisingly, there's your usual suspects but we've had some different experiences this year with a few things ticked off our bucket list. So go grab a Guinness/tea/protein shake and see what made our list in the NITP Awards 2017!

Ride of the Year:

And the nominations are:

-Sunday London Run

-Dirty Wknd Kent Ride

-The One v3.0

-Boys MTB New Forest Adventure

-Thailand MTB Tour With The Wife

-Mini Hampshire Tour

-Brighton and Back

This list of nominations is bigger than last year which just shows we have upped the ante in terms of exploring and mileage. It would of been much more but the wife can only take so much then we have to reel ourselves in! The Sunday London Run with Sam Hodges was an amazingly quiet spin through our great capital before anyone woke from the night before taking in our very first climbs of Swains Lane and Alexandra Palace. Dirty Wknd started the year strong by taking in most of the Kent hills in one ride, we opted for their 'easier' option with a few others but even that was pretty hard going, Kent defo' has it's place as a cycling playground of the South East. The One was also back for it's 3rd version and thanks to Chris Detsicas, we already had 25 miles in our legs actually getting to the start before everyone took on 17 hills which totalled 9000ft of climbing. Following our stag a couple of years ago, the original members of NITP Tom Brooks and David Richardson caught the MTB bug. So they organised a trip to the new forest where we explored the gentle trails of the New Forest. There was one moment though where we had to cross a ford but someone chickened out! We had a little holiday in Thailand this year and we managed to entice the wife to join us on a MTB tour on one of the islands, we loved it, not sure the wife did! Mr B' (Tom's Dad who is always there with some good mechanical advice) took us on our a tour of Hampshire although we think he was really house hunting. The route took us into the New Forest and through some very tranquil lanes full of wild animals (this wasn't Thailand, we're talking horses and cows not elephants and monkeys!).

And the winner is...this is a close one. Where The One has gone strength to strength and the other rides were just wicked times with mates, we don't think you can beat cycling around a tropical island with our wife who although snapped near the end because of the aches and pains, it was nice to share our beloved hobby with our one and only. If you're reading this, make us a tea please love?!!

And the nominations are:

Event of the Year:

-Dulux Trade London Revolution

-Northern Ireland Gran Fondo

-Red Bull Timelaps

Well we was very privileged to cover some events this year for the site. First up was the full on weekend poodle around London (well mostly outside the m25!). But although there were sections of the route which we would of avoided (really sketchy Chilterns downhill and the rat run through Epping), the organisation and hospitality of the London Revolution was second to none. The Gran Fondo NI has been on our bucket list for years, it passes through our wife's hometown and the church we were married in as well as taking in some stunning scenery courtesy of the Mournes. It was also a chance to spend time with Ali although 72 hours with this man was hard work sometimes thanks to his choice in music! To be part of the inaugural Red Bull Timelaps will definitely go down as one to remember. NITP was represented well by Sam, Chris and Ali who all held their own but gave us all the bug to do something again for 2018!

And the winner is...all can put up a good case but despite the letdown for the lack of food and drink at the feed stations AND the fact that we were diverted away from a major climb AND that our wife and her 'Paw' kept missing me at vantage points as we flew through, what a great weekend with friends and family in Northern Ireland. Ali was a great companion and the weekend went smooth just as we planned and the hospitality from our wife's sister and husband made Ali feel very Norn' Irish! Just don't ask Ali who won the final sprint up Stormont!

Bike of the Year:

And the nominations are:

-Sam's Giant Propel Advanced Pro 2

-Evo2Max Nebular R-9

-Liam's pink Bianchi

It's been more about experiences and rides this year but there's always room for bikeporn. Starting with Sam's Giant which he has invested in for his racing career. Slick looks, it's quick and compliments his riding style. We had our very first ever bike review. Now where do we go from here when the Evo2Max Nebular R-9 came with 90mm rims, Di2 groupset and Tron-esque style graphics?! Head turner everywhere and it did us proud at the Red Bull Timelaps. One other bike which rivalled the pink of the Nebular was Chris' friend Liam's pink Bianchi. The fact that it was a Bianchi would be enough but he was also rolling 60mm Zipp wheels!

And the winner the highlander, there can be only one! It has to be the Nebular. That sound of those deep rims spinning on the tarmac! It might not be everyone's cup of tea with the looks but we adored them straight away. Performance wise, it was really strong on the flats and in the right hands, a race winner for sure. For us, it was just an amazing experience to 'own' a bike like the Nebular.

Location of the Year:

And the nominations are:



-The Chilterns

-Mourne Mountains

Along with our MTB adventure with Tom and Dave, Mr B took us on a little tour of some gorgeous country roads around Hampshire and the New Forest. Now while there wasn't really any climbs to report about, every village we passed through was a like a time warp back into the old England days. Kent is known as the garden of England. Dirty Wknd certainly know their routes and showed us a teaser of what lies beyond the m25. The Chilterns make another appearance this year in this category, it's quieter than the Surrey Hills with similar climbs, it's an area we just want to keep exploring. The Mournes are the last nomination, we know this area pretty well through our trips over to see the in-laws but the opportunity to see them in their glory whilst doing something we love was a great experience.

And the winner is...The Mournes. The scenery was stunning. Some of the climbing was tough but obviously what goes up, must come down. The descent from Spelga Dam back into Castlewellan was a lot of fun and having the mountains track you all the way down, you forgot that you were still in the UK (Brexit hasn't affected this yet!). There's plenty more of the Mournes to see by bike, just need to park a bike up at the in-laws now!

Climb of the Year:

And the nominations are:

-Kop Hill, The Chilterns

-Spelga Dam, Mourne Mountains

-Cob Lane, Sussex

-York Hill, Kent

-Swains Lane, London

We had the pleasure of descending Kop Hill the previous year so our legs trembled when we found out the London Revolution went up it. It's tough, few ramps with the last pushing 20% and some walked up so we were secretly proud we didn't give in and conquered it. Spelga Dam had a gorgeous view just a shame you don't see it until you reach the top as it's behind you. Ali had bolted on and after the most difficult section of the 'S' bend, it was a grind to the reservoir but we managed to haul him back. Cob Lane was Chris' idea and jeez, we have never rolled into a climb to be faced with a wall like this before. Short but omg, it never dropped into the low teens in terms of gradient. Thanks Chris! York Hill was one of Dave's (Dirty Wknd) additions into the Kent ride. Single track with quite a bit of muck, we were all pushing squares apart from Chris! The gradient was consistently steep throughout but we ended up walking the last third as a car came down and as there was no space for me to pass, I had to ditch myself into the side. As it was super steep and being unfit at this time of the year, my legs couldn't get ourselves going...we will return! Last nominee is Swains and although very popular with the city riders, it is hard for us to get to, stop/starting through traffic is not our idea of a ride. But you can see why people use it as a training hill as it does hit 20% I believe, where else will you find this in London?!

And the winner is...What a tough category. We've gone for Cob Lane. Spelga was close as it took you right into the heart of the mountains but just for it's sheer steepness, Cob Lane scares us. If Chris ever offers a ride through Sussex, just check his route beforehand!

Achievement of the Year:

And the nominations are:

-The One v3.0

-London Revolution

-Red Bull Timelaps (25hr race)

-Learning bike maintenance

The One v3.0 was ridiculous. 17 hills, 90 miles with 9000ft of climbing. Everyone who took it on upped their game. We were struggling and because we don't have the legs of Chris and the others, the ride to the start took it out of us. The second half of the ride we were really trying to save energy but we didn't give in and although we were last on many of the climbs, we conquered each and every single climb. The London Revolution was the most we rode over in 2 days with a total of 185 miles covered through London, Kent, Surrey, Berkshire and The Chilterns. Just showed how far we have come since the days when a lap of Richmond Park would be our cue to go home! The 25hr race we were privileged to be part of stepped it up another level. Although we had a couple of mishaps, we were in the company of some serious riding talent and has left a taste for more for 2018! Weird nominee but learning bike maintenance this year with a little help from Chris and Mr B has been such a help. Knowing how to fix bits and bobs and tuning your bike can really save you time and money. Obviously it helps if you have a little man cave and space but feeling confident about the machine you're using will only add to the enjoyment and confidence when riding.

And the winner'd think The One v3.0 would breeze this but we've gone for the bike maintenance. It used to take us ages to change an innertube but these days (with maybe some double checking), we can change tyres, brake pads, cables, the cassette, chain, saddle whilst probably indexing the gears to about 90% of what it should be (we're still learning!). Couldn't encourage learning a bit of bike maintenance more!

Team mate of the year:

And the nominations are:

-Sam Hodges

-Chris Detsicas

-Ali McQueen

These guys are a joy (and sometimes painful!) to ride with. Sam just loves a sprint and just looks the part these days. Chris is just naturally gifted on any terrain and can up the pace at any time without breaking a sweat. Ali has become this powerhouse on a bike, his days as personal training has moulded him into a cycling machine. No surprise really why we recruited them for our first time out as a team at the Red Bull Timelaps.

And the winner is...we've given this accolade to all three members of the team. We made the mistake of oversleeping in the race but they ploughed on regardless. We did make it up to them with a 2hr stint in the middle of the morning but these guys did not look out of place at all all weekend. Just hope I can afford their wages next year...

Special Recognition:

To our social media followers. This year we have broken the 2k mark on Twitter and it continues to rise. We try to be ourselves on social media, we're not into fakeness or kissing up, we believe in people and being part of a good thing. There's lots of opinions on Twitter and some people take it literally, we try not to allow ourselves to be led down a tunnel of hate and negativity, life is too short to adopt that approach. We like to think our followers represent how we feel the world should be in cycling and beyond, a place where people look out for each other. The banter on social media can be sometimes very funny or very cringey, either way, it's entertainment and if you're not enjoying life, you're not living. Here's to another 2000 followers and another 4 competitions (every 500th follower initiates a competition!).

Blooper of the Year:

So we come to the novelty section of the night and the nominations are:

-Oversleeping at the Red Bull Timelaps

-Puncture and losing the valve extender in the rim at the same race

-3 punctures in 4 days

-Wife missing watching me cycle through her hometown at the Gran Fondo NI

-Puncture mile after a feed stop at the London Revolution

We've mentioned the oversleeping, we like to think it's all under the bed now...or is it under the bridge?! The 3 punctures in 4 days nearly cracked us mentally especially as it all came from the same tyre! The valve extender incident made us panic as it wasn't our bike and had no clue how to fish it out but luckily the mechanic on site was a very skilled valve extender hunter! The wife missing me cycle through her hometown nearly broke our heart, we're still waiting for that new bike to make up for it! The puncture in the London Revolution happened a mile after the first feed stop on the first stage, how's your luck?!

And the winner is...Well we have had a late entry and how could we forget Ali zip tie-ing his timing chip to his forks and spokes so his wheel wouldn't turn?! I'll let the picture explain more...

And that concludes our awards ceremony. 2018 hopefully should bring more trips, events and bloopers from our rides and experience. We would love to cycle abroad properly next year (Thailand doesn't really count does it?!) and even give another endurance event a go. But we wish you all a cracking Christmas, keep on riding if you can and we will see you all in 2018.

“Ride as much or as little, as long or as short as you feel. But ride”