I played football for the majority of my early life, along with a lot of running to keep myself fit. In my late 20’s, I was starting to pick up a lot of injuries, so decided that a change was needed and that it was time to hang up my football boots.
It was roughly at this same time that a good friend of mine, Richie and I had a drunken bet to see who could complete an Ironman the fastest, with both of us not having completed a Triathlon before never mind an Ironman.
We both bought cheap road bikes, wetsuit and 9 months later I was on the start line of Ironman France in Nice. 10 minutes shy of the 16-hour cut off time, I crawled across the line after a terrible swim where I was sick 3 times, a mountainous bike route and a boiling hot marathon with no socks as I’d forgotten them! The only leg that was enjoyable was the bike leg, so I decided to retire from triathlon. Richie didn’t make the start line, so I had won!
Another drunken night on New Year’s Eve 2012 and I had bought a lottery ticket for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii and I only went a won it!
Retirement over and time to start training again, this time with a coach, practicing in open water and actually taking it seriously, unlike Ironman Nice. Training went well I lost loads of weight and I was the fittest I had ever been.
I was looking at about 12-hour finish, until 6 weeks before the race when I got Lymes disease. I was tired all the time and luckily my coach could see my performance was dropping for no reason and I booked myself into the Docs.
Game over, there’s no way I should race, as I wasn’t in any condition to race. I’d already booked a 3-week holiday for myself and the family, so I gave it a go, what do Doctors know anyway! This time I stumbled across the line with a time of 14 hours, which I was happy with considering I shouldn’t have raced. Road cycling tips and techniques.
This time my retirement was final, no going back. I hated swimming; it was just a mass brawl in water! The running volume wasn’t doing my ankles any favours, and they were still weak from my footballing days. I continued cycling on my old steed that I had bought 2nd hand, no plan in mind just cycling for the fun of it. I got asked If I wanted to race for the Regiment that I was serving, of course I said yes, I love a challenge It was three days off of work as we had to travel from Germany to Portsmouth to race. Are road bikes good for exercise?
There were two races a TT and a road race, but I only had a TT bike and being inexperienced I didn’t know that I couldn’t join the road race on that bike, FAIL! The TT race was what I was used to in triathlon so I thought that I would do well, but after about 5-600m I punctured, game over, still it was 3 days away from the office.
Not long after I bought myself a road bike, and got out and about at every occasion, riding about 2-3 times a week.
Dolomites in Italy
I managed a week cycling in the Dolomites in Italy, cycled from Bielefeld to London as well as trips all over Germany.
In 2014 I was posted back to the UK and I started to race in the Army scene as it was brilliantly set up to encourage new cyclist to race and coach them along. I never trained, I just jumped on my bike and cycled, with no end goal in sight. As I’m a fair-weather cyclist, I did very little cycling over the winter months and lost any fitness I had gained.
March 2020, and the first lockdown came about, and I started cycling every day, but soon got stuck in a rut and got stuck in a bad place (the sofa) and could not pluck up the motivation to cycle, I wasted the spring, summer and autumn, with hardly any cycling at all.
I needed a goal, so I booked a 6-day cycling trip around the North Coast of Scotland, known as the NC500. I have planned to do 800km in July this year, so I needed to start training, actual organized training instead of just riding and hoping for the best.
Matt, a colleague and a mate who I had introduced to cycling had quickly surpassed my cycling ability with his natural fitness, that he carried across from Crossfit and Rugby. Read steven robinsons cycling story.
For months he had been trying to get me to use TrainerRoad, as he was convinced, I would see massive gains. In Nov 2020 I gave it a go, I had rollers that I had hardly ever used and a power meter on my bike and started off with an FTP ramp test, 204w and weighing in at 89kg.
I was not sure if this was any good, as I was new to the numbers game, but as long as I saw progression, I was happy. Nov & Dec saw very little improvements and I started to doubt the program, but as soon as the New Year turned the weight started dropping off and my FTP starting rising.
My weight now is around 80kg and dropping and my FTP is up to 248w and rising. Matt was right following a program did do wonders for me and I’m feeling loads better for it.
The benefits weren’t just on the bike, but off the bike as well. I got into a fairly dark place during the first lockdown, but this last one, the regular exercise and being able to stick to a routine, worked wonders and kept me sane.
Onto the NC500 and hopefully more weight loss and a continued love of routine and following a program.
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