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2014

At the start of 2014 I was lost. My training was going nowhere. I had enjoyed doing some sessions on the track and had managed to get my Accreditation at Manchester Velodrome however I felt like I was going backwards.

Back in 2009 I’d been to see Dr Garry Palmer at www.Sportstest.co.uk as I’d got a free session through Cyclepowermeters when buying my first powertap.

I remember it being an enlightening experience, made a fair bit of progress (resulting in me winning the Macclesfield Wheelers 10 mile TT handicap trophy in 2011.)

However following my broken back/shoulder in 2011, in 2012 I was lost again. In 2013 I started doing a bit on the track and a couple of club time trials but I was very poor. I was going nowhere.

It took me until February 2014 to ‘remember’ about Garry’s services. So I booked in for a cycling test.

The results were equally shocking yet expected. I had absolutely ZERO endurance. None. Somehow my body seemed to have no aerobic capacity whatsoever. I started burning glycogen almost as soon as I started turning the pedals with virtually no fat burning going on at all. Soon after that I was getting in oxygen debt.

We had a good chat about my goals, I was interested in Time Trialling and racing on the track. Garry pointed out that the two disciplines weren’t particularly compatible but I was determined to get somewhere.

Armed with a training plan and my new training zones I began…

The aim was a mix of aerobic base building (Classed by Garry as Level 2 in line with British Cycling Heart Rate guidelines, but scientifically, accurately, derived by Garry from my aerobic capacity test) with some sub threshold work (Level 3 British Cycling, based on my ramp test.)

Guide to BC Heart Rate zones

If I used traditional methods of calculating my ‘Zone/Level 2’ from  maximum heart rate or from a typical ‘threshold test’ it was way out. Far too high. I was far too rubbish. I was a donkey.

During my Level 2 rides I felt like a complete beginner, I was so slow. However I made sure I stuck to my zones. My average speed on local rides was around 14-14.5mph. My level 3 rides were equally slow – for those that don’t mind getting bored by power levels, they were intervals varying between 5-12 minutes at around 220-230watts.

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Results of my Feb 14 test. The left half of the graph is the aerobic capacity test. The blue line is oxygen intake, red line CO2 output. Where the blue line is above the redline, fat burning is going on. The more/longer the blue line is above the red line, the fitter you are. As you can see. I was SHOCKING! Even at 165 watts!

Keeping my ego in check I coped with being overtaken by all and sundry whilst out on the bike with the mantra in my head (in Garry’s voice) ‘it is what it is’ playing on permanent loop.

Over a couple of months I noticed my speed was creeping higher. As was my power during the Level 3 sessions.

I got myself a TT bike from ebay built on the cheap. I was utterly dreadful but experienced told me to get a fit by Adrian Timmis at http://www.cadencesport.co.uk. Much better but limited still by the frame, the saddle angle was too slack for a TT bike but Adrian made the best of a bad job.

The time trial and track seasons started and I was doing OK. I started with the club 10s on the local Macclesfield to Congleton course and got my times down to the mid 23 minute region. I did my first ’25’ and ’50’opens and was quite pleased. I managed a 1:03 something in the 25 and 2:12 something in the 50.

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Congleton 50

On the track, when I could get there, things were going a bit better with a 2nd place finish in a scratch race and I was getting more and more comfortable in the bunch after my initial wariness from my broken back inducing crash. However the logistics of getting to the track around the shiftwork of the wife and I and childcare were taking it’s toll. I had to knock it on the head.

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Taken by my daughter after getting 2nd in the Scratch

I sold the track bike in the autumn to get a new TT bike. I took the trip over to Planet X and got myself an Exocet 2 frame and built it up. Off to Adrian Timmis at Cadence sport again and it was much better, although the frame was too small I got a good fit on it.

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Bike fit at Cadencesport on the new bike

An autumn test with Garry resulted in a long chat about realistic goals. He didn’t tell me directly what he thought I should be aiming for but like any good coach, through his questioning he led me to making my own decision on concentrating on the Time Trialling.

2015

Into the new year the training continued in a similar vein but I was getting so much faster, able to ride fasted for much longer at Level 2 (my heart rate at this point had increased substantially too, I was much more efficient). My power at Level 3 intervals was substantially higher than 12 months earlier too. I was doing my Level 2 rides at 19-20mph on the road bike.

I retested again with Garry in the spring of 2015 and the results were clear.

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Note the blue line. It’s firmly above the red even at 220w. Further more, on the ramp test look at how much longer it took me to get to anaerobic threshold! Just over 28 minutes as opposed to just over 24. That equates to around 70 watts.

I had entered a few open time trial events with one big aim of getting under 2 hours in the Beacon Little mountain Time Trial. My favourite event. I’d done this event a few times before with mixed success, I love the course but I had crashed there in 2011, didn’t enter in 2012 and in 2013 did not finish (due to my dreadful aerobic fitness resulting in crippling cramp).

I was pleased with how I was doing, come the Beacon LMTT I just missed out on my goal of sub 2hrs but came 5th in the ‘biggest improvement to PB’ prize.

I knew things were going well in 2015 when I beat my PB on the local Macclesfield Wheelers Gawsworth course from before I broke my back with a 22:44. I got under the hour for the first time on the local 25 Time Trial (J2/9 for you geeks) course in the Stretford wheelers open with a 59:17 which was such an amazing feeling. I also knocked 6 minutes off my 50 time on the same course as last year. I was feeling great.

National 50

National 50

I also did a couple of ‘fast’ events, recording a big 25 PB of 55:42 and 10 PB of 20:58.

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On my way to a 20:58 ’10’

But. By the end of the season I was getting bored of it. The training for time trials was very monotonous (if effective) and I was just chasing times. Even the racing was a little dull. I needed something new.

In the autumn it was time to sit down with Garry again.

This is where it was all change…

Pt 2 and 2016 coming soon.

This latest post is about a trip to PedalPrecision.com

Long post…
Bit of background

In March 2009 I broke my leg quite badly and it really affected my cycling, over the months I was struggling more and more with various niggles and pains. Through the Bikeradar forum I heard about a small fledgling bike fit operation – Adrian Timmis (Cadencesport) and took the plunge. That was early in 2010 and since then I have waxed lyrical about the service he provided and the difference it made to my cycling. This is well documented already.

In short, during this fit I had angled wedges placed inside my shoes and under my cleats, also Adrian found a leg length discrepancy, so I had a 1cm stack on right shoe. The front end was sorted and some gems of advice imparted.

The biggest thing with Adrian’s fit were the moulded footbeds, they had such a profound effect I spoke to my GP who referred to a podiatrist. The podiatrist found very quickly that I needed inserts all the time and I had some custom inserts made for my shoes.

In 2011 I broke my back and collar bone, changed my bike, have bought new cleats a few times and I had slowly ‘unfitted’ myself. Furthermore over the last 2 years I have developed pain at back of knees, ITB issues, lower back problems and a distinct loss of motivation.

I have had the leanest few months of cycling in years, I’ve not even managed 300 miles in 2013, including turbo mileage. I was doing that much a week before.

Decided it was time for another bike fit…

Due to the increased cost of the fit at cadencesport (was £100 3 yrs ago, now £180 but it’s now in a VERY nice shop, if you’re in the area, it’s well worth a visit not least for all the Tour memorabilia, classic bikes on display and all the lovely kit to buy. Nice coffee too!) and travel distance I decided to try Pedal Precision (Pedal Precision) at Manchester Velodrome.

I contacted Richard by email and an appointment was made. There are three levels of fit, I opted for the middle ‘Pro’ fit.

Today I entered the hallowed entrance to the world hub of track cycling and was met with Richard’s friendly face, taken to his office and given a nice coffee while we chatted about my cycling, my issues and my goals.

Richard started from scratch, he looked at the way I walked (he could tell by the way I used it I’m not a woman’s man) and looked at my mobility/range of motion. This took about 30 mins. Richard found that my ‘leg length discrepancy’ was not in fact an actual discrepancy but appeared that way due to a mechanical issue with weakness in my right hip. The mechanics of it were all explained to me in detail using a diagram.

Ditched all the cleat wedges and the stack but kept the footbeds. Kept the angled insert in the shoe and bolstered it up slightly.

Then I got on the bike

My Knee/ITB issues, I was told, were due to muscle weakness in certain areas. Turns out I’ve hardly ever used my glutes whatsoever, for anything! Once these start joining in I hope to be getting some more power out. It appears I’ve not been using the outer part of my quads either and my ITB has been working overtime to correct this. This has then caused ITB tightness. I have been given exercises to address these, thus I will eventually sort the root cause of these weaknesses rather than deal with the end result of them through use of shims/wedges. This should make me a stronger cyclist and be less sensitive to changes in position.

Whilst on the turbo I was filmed from various angles and examined in slow motion, and of course watched ‘live’. Looking at my rear on the screen you could see the weakness at the bottom right of my back. It was also a big fat ass. Need to do something about that.

Adjustments were made to my saddle position and explanations given as to what was being done and why. For the record I was moved a fair bit forward and a little up. The saddle was tilted slightly forward but not that you’d notice to look at. My legs immediately felt more comfortable and due to the change in angle I could feel my glutes firing without having to contort myself or compromise the power from my quads. I was riding very smoothly with no ‘grabbing’ which had been causing the substantial pain at the top of my calf on longer rides. There were no issues with the front end fit at all and no adjustments made.

Richard will be sending me an email with all the exercises detailed and all the bike measurements on a diagram.

I was glad I had the footbeds from Adrian, maybe it is something Richard could look at (unless he does them already, I never broached the subject)

In all an excellent, very detailed service with a full and open explanation of what was done at every stage. No hidden secrets here. Learnt a fair few things about my body and I have come away with a very positive outlook about my riding again…

Richard is a really nice, relaxed guy. Very easy to get on with to and interesting talking to him about his background and his life changing events.

I have said this before and I’ll say it again, people don’t baulk at paying out money for upgraded components that don’t acually improve anything but bragging rights (I’m as guilty as anyone) so in the grand scheme of things, a bike fit is peanuts. I’d recommend to getting a good bike fit to anyone who cycles. I’d highly recommend both fitters I’ve been to, they both have different approaches, but I was really pleased with the results from both.

I will post an update in a month or so with how I’m getting on having done the exercises for a month. Unless no-one’s interested, then I won’t bother…

Most blogs start this way and mine is no exception….
“It’s been ages since it was updated and it’s about time I did it.”

A little update before the meat and bones-
Following my accident in May the healing is going steadily, my back is a little stiff but I’m certain it’s going to be OK, my collar bone is still not fully knitted in yet but I have a good range of movement. It’s plated up with 7 screws. In short, I’m bloody lucky. I’ve been able to get out riding but being in pain, unfit and overweight is not a good combination. Mentally I’m a lot better, I was somewhat fragile following the crash as I had a lot of other stresses at the time especially as I had bitten by HIV+/HEP C+ drug addict.

I had decided to give up road racing as my current job was in jeopardy and I didn’t want to take too many risks especially now with 3 kids to feed.

I thought I’d stick with time trialling until my Wife and I heard the terrible news of Karl Austin being killed. Karl was very well known on the local time trial scene and his death, well, it’s just incredibly sad, so pressure from my wife made me decide to stop TTing too. Karl’s Funeral was very moving and there was a tremendous turnout from the cycling fraternity. I’ll never forget that day. It was my first ride out on the bike since the crash and the physical pain was forgotten about. It would be a while before I was able to ride again.

I’d had to stop being coached by Adrian Timmis in the short term due to financial constraints however the lack of racing meant that this sadly became a long term thing. However he had opened a new shop, Cadence Sport in Barton under Needwood in late May/Early June so I went along to see him there.

The shop itself is very nicely appointed, he has some really great memorabilia on display from his racing days and (worse for me and my wallet) some very nice bikes and kit for sale.

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We had a good chat, comparing injuries (Ada had broken his collar bone and elbow 18 months ago but had lots of problems with it). It was then he advised me to sell my Powertap, ride on feel and most importantly to remember why I started riding in the first place.

The decision to get rid of the powertap was pretty easy due to the financial issues of being off work however I then had to get to grips with the idea of training without power. This should not be an issue whatsoever but I had become mentally reliant on those figures. However my reliance also translated into misery when my numbers weren’t what they should be or I was hoping for. For a rank amateur this is not a good thing.

I don’t miss it. Not at all. Having used power for every session and in particular doing intervals my legs have learnt how each effort should feel. I’m pretty confident that when doing intervals I can be pretty consistent.

But that’s not important anymore. Here’s the crux- I’m just riding for the sake of riding. I’m not ‘training’. It’s incredibly liberating and in fact the thought of not racing has been almost like a weight off my mind. I still get pangs when I think of racing and look at my trophies but I also feel my wounds and look at my kids, they soon go. I’ll still do my turbo sessions due to time/family constraints though, an addiction to The Sufferfest will ensure that. (New video out, review to follow)

Last Friday this liberation hit me enormously. I possibly had the best ride of my life. I was in full summer gear as it was beautifully warm but the autumn colours added an extra vibrance to the peak district. I’d picked a great route and there was no pressure for me to ride at a certain speed/heart rate/power output. It was, quite literally, just a bike ride.
I even didn’t mind stopping to take a few snaps, here’s my favourite of the day, you can see the road going back over the hill in the distance-

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One thing that struck me was that I was able to ride several hours now without back pain. Thinking back to all the niggles I used to feel, one of the biggest factors in the enjoyment of the ride was the fact my bike fits perfectly. You can’t enjoy that ride if you are in pain or have niggling soreness. Bike fit and riding enjoyment go hand in hand.

Forget spending any money on new bike bling, the most important purchase after a bike, in my opinion, is a bike fit from someone who knows what they’re doing. The biggest ‘upgrade’ you’ll ever get. Even if you don’t get any ‘niggles’ or discomfort, you could be losing power through an inefficient position. That’s free speed. Racing or not, free speed is nice.

This brings me back to Adrian Timmis. You owe it to yourself to pay him a visit. Then get out and REALLY enjoy your riding…

Went to see the surgeon today to discuss whether or not I have a plate put on my shoulder. I say ‘discussion’, the consultation lasted about 3 minutes as we both wanted it!
I’m going in on Thursday.

Update-

I had a marvellous plate put in to stabilise it…

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Raced yesterday at Birmingham Circuit races.

Fantastic circuit and great organisation.

Big field of about 60.

There had been a few squirrely moments with people braking for no reason at all. Saw a particular lad cut people up at one of the roundabouts a couple of times and doing the dreaded bombing down the inside on the approach to a corner.

1.5 laps to go I was feeling really strong, ready to sprint. I was keeping out of trouble near the front, on the outside of the bunch (exactly where I wanted to be) and I saw same lad do his stupid bombing down the inside on the approach to a left hand bend. He had no room at all and knocked into two others.

I thought FFS, they are going to crash, thank god I’m over here.

Cue one of the riders shoot out over to the right on the ground, right in front of me.

Cue me going over the handlebars right up in the air.

I landed on my head/left shoulder/back

I felt my helmet explode as I landed and as soon as I got up (lucky I wasn’t hit from behind) I knew I’d done my collar bone.

The lad that in my opinion caused it said ‘never mind your shoulder, this is the first time I’ve used these wheels and they’re wrecked!’

Anyhoo, I’ve got 3 fractures to my left collar bone and a compression fracture to my T11 vertebrae.
I’ve got a career that relies on me being fit and healthy. I have 3 kids (one of whom is 10 weeks old) and a wife to support.

For that reason, I’m out.

From now on I’m just training on the turbo to keep fit and *may* do local 10s.

As an aside, I had a crash in Dec where I banged my head and was concussed. My helmet was ok but a little cracked. Obviously you are supposed to replace as they won’t work properly but I had just been thinking ‘sod it, I’ll be ok’ but after Wouter Weylandt’s crash, even though it didn’t help him. I discussed it with my wife and despite being skint I thought it best to buy a new helmet, so on Thurs I got one.

I’m sooooo glad I did. It really did it’s job.

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My club 10 TT times this year have been getting better and better, the start of the season I was at 26.12, last week was 23.32. I’m hoping for a miracle on Wednesday and getting into the 22s, hopefully this will secure me enough points to win the club handicap championship… We’ll have to wait and see!

I ended up doing a 23.21. I also ended up winning the club handicap TT championship and 100 quid too! Very happy!

Before Cycling (BC)-
Sweaty fat boy.

Beached whale, 17st 10lb...

Nice Pits - 17st 12lb

After Diet (AD) –

Still a way to go… But 4 stone lighter. Been on Barry’s nutrition plan just under 6 weeks, Adrian’s training plan 8…

Should have put my shades on...

I did this fantastic event on 2nd May after being hoodwinked into it by a forum member from BikeRadar…

http://www.beaconrcc.org.uk/open_races/lmtt/index.html

The organisation was excellent and the route was fantastic, challenging climbs and some great descending. The scenery was beautiful (when I could actually take time out to look!)


There were loads of marshalls and quite a few spectators cheering on too.

I will definitely be doing this next year…

There are seperate competitions for overall and road categories as well as women and men. There were also prizes for best in category, best in age category, best team and the fastest overall climber of the two timed climbs.

This was at the top of a very steep hill. Honest!



I finished the 39.5 mile course in 2.13.14 as a ‘Road Man’ (Normal bike / wheels / helmet), not bad for an overweight asthmatic! I was about average in the road category, coming 18th out of the 35 road entries. The overall was won by Richard Bradley of Shorter Rochford RT in 1.43.56 in full TT regalia.

I managed to speak with the organiser – Ruth Eyles – she looked rather intimidated by a 6’2″ tangerine overstuffed sausage but she coped I think, she was a very pleasant person indeed.

There was a field of 82, weather held off just enough but it was still bloody cold. Nice home made cakes and a cup of tea at the end.

The event was well sponsored so all entrants were provided with a Torq bar and a bottle of ‘For Goodness Shakes’ milk shake.

Right – Training update!


Start of coaching
Weight 92kg, quite high body fat %
Functional Threshold Power (FTP) – 271 (2.94watts per kilogram)
Peak 5 min power – 341 (3.7w/kg)
Peak 1 min power – 516 (5.6w/kg)
Max (Quad) power – 1109 this season. (Before I broke my leg it was approx 1200 I think)
All from road bike
Races – 3, did crap in them all!
Club 10 mile TT best – 26.14


After 6 weeks
Weight 87.5kg, lost a lot of fat, put on some muscle. Muscles much more defined.
FTP – Due a test…
Peak 5 min power – 361 (4.12w/kg)
Peak 1 min power – 518 (5.92w/kg)
10s Power 1018
Max 1180

All above done on TT bike which I have been having power issues with!!
I think I am approx 5-10% stronger on the road bike.

Races 1 – Came in top 10 and scored 1st BC points
Club 10 mile TT best – 24.12 (2min 2s better)

Power for the last TT was 302watts… My Previous best 20min effort was 281, this was for 24.12!


It’s been about 12 months since my last update and I thought it was time I wrote on here!

Since then I have passed my Inspector’s exams, got a new job at Manchester Airport, got two new bikes, have raced and have an even bigger penchant for cycling.

Rides like a dream!

Comfortable all day long!

I recently had a bike fit from a guy called Adrian Timmis at Cadence Sport.

Adrian is was a pro cyclist at the highest level and he exudes experience and enthusiasm.

The tweaks on the bike were fairly small but the revelation was the introduction of moulded foot beds and cleat shims. The foot beds are moulded and produced there and then, plonk them in your shoes and prepare to be shocked. A comparison with the shoes without footbeds was a real eye opener. My feet rolled around in my shoes without the beds in and this was causing discomfort and eventually pain over longer rides, as well as causing power loss. Adrian also found that I had one leg longer than the other. This was corrected through the use of cleat shims which also had the benefit of correcting the poor tracking my leg went through. The result was instantly a smoother, more efficient pedalling action, and a big smile on my face!

The club TT season is very fast approaching and I recently tried a ride on my TT bike to try and get some miles in on it. I felt so uncomfortable on there and I couldn’t get any power down at all! So…

I went back yesterday for a TT bike fitting. The result was the same as the previous fit I had, magic! Rather than having to sit up every two minutes I was able to stay in the aero position for a full hour of intervals, unheard of previously!

The biggest change for me though is during this fit, I also had my initial consultation for coaching.

I had been umming and ahhing over coaching for a while, I thought it seemed expensive but when you put it in to the context of all the cycling bling it seems very good value. The clincher was when I raced, I realised I was a million miles from where I want to be and I was obviously not training effectively.

I will be documenting my experiences on here so people can see what, if any, benefit it brings me and may help people decide whether it’s for them.

One of the big things that Adrian has impressed on me was the importance of nutrition. I will be seeing a nutritionist he recommends in due course.

So, current stats as of 30/03/10 –
Weight 90.5kg, quite high body fat %
Functional Threshold Power (FTP) – 280 (3.09watts per kilogram)
Peak 5 min power – 363
Peak 1 min power – 516
Max (Quad) power – 1109 this season. (Before I broke my leg it was approx 1200)

Races – 3, did crap in them all!
Club 10 mile TT best – 26.14

Occasionally something comes along that changes your outlook on life. When you first hold your newborn child and, even though you’ve known them literally seconds, you just know you would do anything for them. Anything. When you have a major accident or get over a serious illness, a new mantra, carpe diem, becomes an integral part of everyday life. I have been fortunate enough to experience the first scenario and unfortunate enough for the latter two.

I had another mini-epiphany whilst devouring the mountain of literature I had bestowed upon me by the very kind visitors I have been receiving over the last few weeks. Most of the books have been cycling related and I still have a meaty stack to get my teeth into however, one of the books I read, which had absolutely nothing to do with riding a bike by the way, was possibly one of the best books I have ever read. It is called ‘Star of the Sea’ by Joseph O’Connor and the premise is very simple. It is about a voyage on a ship from Ireland to the US set in the mid 19th century. My Mum recommended it to me and my initial thoughts were that it looked somewhat dull but seeing as I had so much time on my hands I thought I may as well give it a go.

I was hooked from about the 3rd page, O’Connor’s writing is sublime, the book  devotes half it’s time showering the reader with juicy details the protagonists’ personal history and some of those backgrounds are very interesting indeed. I’m no book reviewer, all I can say is the book was a marvel, the characters had been brought to life and consequently the ending was excellent but what really struck me was how little I knew about the famine in Ireland. I was privately embarrased about my ignorance and consequently read a little more about these rather horrendous times .

Learning about the blight really made me appreciate how good we have it nowadays. The news today is full of doom, gloom and miserable facts however this all now seems irrelevant. Here is what I thought – I’m here, alive, I can provide for my family and life is all, thankfully, a million miles from Ireland in the mid 19th Century. I think more people need to think like this rather than spend their entire day complaining about the state of the economy and ‘tutting’ at the latest bit of bad news that doesn’t, in the grand scheme of things, make a jot of difference to their existence.

This unimaginable suffering so close to home and not too long ago also made me think about the state of some of the people I have met at work and furthermore the state of many teenagers I see coming out of the nearby comprehensive school.

The ‘obesity epidemic’ has been well documented in the UK and the US but I seem to notice it more now. There appear to be more than a few rather portly schoolchildren, part of the reason has to be upbringing, part advertising but also the fact that we are so well off. What I mean by this is eating for a lot of people is not about simple sustenance but some simple pleasure to gorge on. I know of children who ‘will only eat sausage or burger with chips or potato shapes’, Jamie Oliver has tried to remedy this in the UK through education, shock tactics and a rethink on school dinners but the rot has already set in for several generations. Junk food looks exciting, is easy to prepare or ship in and kids love it. Especially those that have known nothing else.

Surely the parents must see what they are doing?

Surely the parents must see what they are doing?

At work I often go to families’ houses and see that the kids there are out of control. The parents frequently put it down to ‘ADHD‘ however when I see how the kids are brought up and the sheer amount of rubbish they eat and drink it’s no wonder they appear hyperactive, I’m sure a change in lifestyle would be much more beneficial than taking medication. I see a huge difference in my kids if they have had sweets or a bottle of pop. I don’t stop them having it, it is just always given in moderation.

Then there is the other side of the coin, there are some kids, particularly girls in their late teens that are shockingly thin, again, this has been well documented in the media. This is possibly more difficult to control for a parent due to the immense psychological issues surrounding illnesses such as anorexia and bulemia, it is also easier for a sufferer to avoid eating or regurgitate their food. There is help out there but the bottom line is the sufferer must want the help.

It is said that cycle racing is a very expensive form of anorexia – cyclists become obsessed with weight. Every calorie counted in order to improve the power to weight ratio. I got swallowed up by this whilst training and did notice an improvement, mainly because I had plenty to lose. However, for a more accomplished athlete there is surely a trade off here too? Lose too much and there will be a reduction in muscle power, furthermore the body requires some fat, some reserve of energy after 4 hours in the saddle otherwise the body will start to feast upon the cyclist’s muscle, or just stop.

Compare Bradley Wiggins, Double 2008 Olympic Champion who since eschewed track racing in order to concentrate on the 2009 road racing season now and how he was last year…

Looks lean but powerful

2008 - Looks lean but powerful

 

2009 - Errrrm

2009 - Errrrm

 

I was quite shocked when I saw the second picture, I can’t help think the mud accentuated the emaciated appearance but still, his body fat must be ridiculously low.

Weight has been of concern for me which gets back to the kind visitors I’ve been having. I’ve been trying all sorts of novelty biscuit selections and concoctions of confectionery. I spent the whole winter trying to lose weight with both eyes firmly focused on getting down to 85kg before the racing started. I had an excellent training programme that was giving me fantastic results. I was highly motivated, I had the right equipment, I had challenging but achievable goals and everything was going right.

Since the accident 6 weeks has elapsed and my recovery is going well. I am hobbling around the house with one crutch, I have been on the turbo trainer and today I actually got outside and managed 35 minutes on the road. It was a wonderful feeling. I have obviously lost all my power and fitness and I have put on a fair amount of weight, I was being overtaken by a variety of slow-moving cyclists and I didn’t care. I was cruising at 9 mph and I was having as much fun as I do in a group ride at 25mph. In fact today has been a great day, forget the economy, forget not knowing about my position at the airport, it will all look after itself. I’m going to enjoy the small pleasures. For today not only have I ridden my bike, Jenson Button has won another GP, one of my favourite riders, Andy Schleck won a great race today but above all that I was able to sit in my lounge in my underpants and have my 2 poached eggs on toast without any real care in the world and, get this, one of those eggs was a double yolker! Sweet.

I don’t regret the weight gain one little bit. The friends visiting and bringing me treats has been integral to my recovery. I am never going to be a top racer where 0.1 watt per kilogram will make all the difference. Why sacrifice social booze-and food related engagements that I so enjoy, or those occasional little cheeky treats for what is a hobby, not a profession, when one incident can undo all the hard work? 

Yes I will be training hard, yes I will be watching what I eat, but I’m going to bloody well enjoy myself too, I have come to realise I just plain and simple love riding my bike!

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