The 2017 spreadsheet

Look away now if you’re allergic to statistics…

With my 2016 goal already comprehensively achieved (go me!) I’ve started to look at how I set out my targets for 2017. Having a target to aim at has been really important in my over-performance this year. I always know how many miles I need to do to stay on track, and when I’m deep in surplus I can re-adjust to maintain my advantage. A couple of weeks ago I did a ride of nearly 16 miles simply because that’s what I needed to make up for a dodgy week. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m robotically banking miles just because the spreadsheet says so – the rides are fun, but I sometimes need the target to get me out the door.

My 2016 spreadsheet has one major drawback, however – it’s totally linear. It assumes that I ride (and can ride) the same distance in January as I do in July, which simply isn’t true. There’s any number of reasons why my winter riding is limited, such as weather, extra maintenance and dark potholed roads when the sun sets early. Also it means the projection I have for my yearly miles is an over-estimate, because it’s calculated using the Summer excess but doesn’t adjust for less riding in the next couple of months. I’m currently projected to make 1,530 miles overall, but I’m really struggling now to meet that as a weekly target. This can be a bit demotivating as my projected miles seem to slide from week to week when really it’s just correcting for being so far ahead in July.

So this coming year I’ve set up a set of targets that change across the year. The way it works is it assumes that I’m going to be riding double in the height of summer what I can manage in the depths of winter, then arranges targets as a sine wave distributed across 365 days. It’s all rather full of my Fancy Dan Excel wizardry, and it works pretty well. I’ve tested it using my 2016 data and I should go into 2017 with a ready-made spreadsheet just waiting for me to turn the crank over a few million times and enter the results. It’s projecting that I’m pretty much bang-on for 1,500 miles for 2016, so that’s encouraging.

As for what my target should be its always a little difficult looking forward into a myriad of unknowns. I’m not going to be any less busy, though I should hopefully be a bit more confident. More bikes available (Three rideable, a couple more in the works) means I have alternatives if I arrive at my bike and find a puncture or other problem. There’s at least one “major” ride in June (Eroica Britannia), and all the riding I’ll need to do to prepare for it. Overall I think I’ll start working towards a target of 2,000 miles, see where I am at the halfway point, then double it. 

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