Body Fat 12%
An athlete of old, isn’t everyone(?), my last attempt at fitness was in 2010, my eldest had just been born and I finished that year 132 in the Marmot and a week later 512 in the Etape, should/could have done better, Wife then instructed me off the bike. Prior to that I lived off my achievements as a teenager, having been a middle distance athlete for county and country but come university I had a choice and it wasn’t athletics. In 2008 I had an accident whilst Kite surfing in Africa and managed to practically kill myself ending with two weeks in a Jo Burg intensive care unit, after having broken my leg, split my skull open, severely damaged circa 80% of my lungs with sea water and carelessly lost a couple pints of blood enroute from Mozambique. That accident spurred me onto the bike and the achievements listed above……. But I felt there was more, not least I was board of my own pub chat on sporting achievements, along with the rest of my peer group, as 40 somethings, we were all still talking about events /achievements of over 20 years prior!!!!
The Haute Route – Alps, “The toughest amateur cycle race in the world” or that’s what it purports to be, circa 900km and 23km of vertical height gain over 7 days, for some reason this seemed a sensible objective for my return to cycling. I gave myself 1 year to prepare, not that I would need that to complete it, but, I wanted to complete it at the front, or the closest to the front that I could achieve….. I needed help.
Max; we started in the Gym looking at core strength and advice on diet for weight loss that climbing up mountains requires aka cycling chic. I was also looking for a cycle coach and Max put his hand up for this also, so with a weekly training schedule, diet advice, training peaks as the medium to communicate day to day, we set off. The first 3 mths, it felt like little was happening, weight stayed more or less static, and the training seasons didn’t get any easier (they never got any easier). Then slowly things started to improve, power on the bike, average speed increased and weight started to come off, at 77kg’s and circa 3.85 watts/kg I felt I had achieve all I could, but we had 8 mths to go, the training seasons on the bike developed as did the gym work (twice a week, meeting Max twice a mth). Come Feb with 6/7 mths left, we increased the bike miles, and weight carried coming off in a controlled manor, hitting in April 73kg’s, 4.3 watts/kg, which propelled me to 6th place in the 272 kilometre Liege-Bastion-Liege amateur race of some 6000 participants (how many do the full distance I’m not sure, for sure it was the longest distance I had ever ridden in one go by almost 90km! and it rained the whole way). Happy with that I put head down and carried on, Max found more and more interesting and challenging training schedules, although also at this time I remember a prompt call to say stop cycling, take a rest!!! Max was right of course I had dug myself in to a hole of fatigue, but all part of the journey which I was still somehow managing to balance around work and family.
The final two mths; I have to thank my wife, as much as Max, as time with family did suffer a little, but that said it was great to see them all so supportive and good for the kids to see what dedication can achieve. After two weeks in Corsica where I cycled every morning approx. 200km (thank you Mark Warner kids club), I was flying, the Tour De France had been in Corsica in 2013 and I was posting times on Strava faster than the Tour riders!!! 63kg = 5 watts/kg, 6.7% body fat, domestic pro type status… I got a late entry to the Trois Etape pro/am cycling event, where I finished 3rd, beating all except one of the twenty pros, including Yens Voigt… I beat Yens Voigt!!!! And again posted times on Strava faster than some of the Tour boys.
Haute Route; circa 750 riders, would say some of the best amateur and semi pro riders in the world, arrived in Nice for the start, I wanted to finish in the top 20 and top 10 in the mountain time trail on the 3rd day, but on arrival, everyone was looking very very game… had Max and I done enough, I seriously thought we may have misjudged this, not least the pace they set off on Day 1. Day 3, my favourite day I placed 16th in the mountain time trial, but the first British Rider and when Emma Poole (yes Olympic Silver medallist and World Time trial champion) said she was very upset not to beat me…. I knew we had done all we could. Across the week I was consistently placed in the top 25 riders, riding in the front peloton (yes me, 42 yrs old and I normally sit in front of four computer screens for 10-12 hrs a day) and finished the week in 20th spot, the first British rider of some 300 Brits, and very very happy. Max, where can you take me next.