A 3 part series dealing with the topics of body image, emotions and maintenance. Check it out.
Harwoods Jaguar, Ride Like a Pro Event, West Sussex
My story of fat to fit by bicycle
Friday, 4 April 2014
Tuesday, 18 March 2014
The day was held at the Virgin Active club in Aldersgate Street, London. The gym was underground and much bigger than I was expecting. It was very modern and posh looking.
The Vitality day was a mix of fitness bloggers and competition winners, about 20 of us in total. One of the bloggers I met was Rebecca who writes about weight loss and fitness from a female perspective. Check out her blog at weightwars.co.uk.
At the start we were split in to two groups. My group started off with an introduction to the Vitality product. It's essentially health insurance which rewards you for choosing a healthy lifestyle.
We had a talk from a nutritionist who spoke about the basics of nutrition and what foods fit into each category. I was familiar with most of what she said but it was good as it reinforced my beliefs. There was then a selection of healthy foods for us to try and I also got to have a go on a smoothie maker bike. If you've not seen one before, it's essentially a stationary bike that powers a blender. The smoothie was good.
Next up was a short talk by Dr Paul Brice, Senior Biomechanist from the English Institute of Sport. He's the one that analyses what Jessica does physically and works out how to make her better. His team films athletes in slow motion to asses where maximum efficiency gains can be made. This can often take the athlete up to 18 months to get maximum advantage though by retraining how they do things. It was a fascinating talk and I could have listened to the subject all day. You can see footage of Jessica in action at London 2012 on the BBC website.
It was now time to swap groups. The group I was in went into the next room. It was time for my fitness assessment. I had my height and weight measured so my BMI could be calculated. I had a basic fitness test. I had my blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol tested too. I've never had my cholesterol tested but it came out at 4.10 which I was told is very good.
After the barrage of tests (they weren't really that invasive) I had a neck and shoulder massage and then some lunch. I then was interviewed by the PruHealth team for their website/YouTube.
It was then time to meet and train with Jessica. She came across as very down to earth. She put us trough our paces with some balance and core exercises. We didn't do that many but it was enough for me :-)
We then had a question and answer session with Jess and I couldn't think of anything useful to ask but I did ask her one question.
Once the Q&A session was over we all had our pictures taken with Jess and collected a goodie bag which included a signed copy of her book. A great day and I'm still smiling :-)
Saturday, 8 February 2014
Monday, 13 January 2014
2013 was one of my toughest and most rewarding. Here’s a summary of my year.
The year started with me over eating a little. I'd also set myself the target of cycling 6,000 miles for year. I'd set the same target for 2012 and fell very short of that target with just over 4,500. With the weather being pretty poor and not having anyone to cycle with, all my mileage was commuting.
Commuting: 280.28 mi
Leisure: 0.00 mi
Total: 280.28 mi
February continued as January had begun. No leisure cycling and only a few more commuting miles than January.
Commuting: 298.57 mi
Leisure: 0.00 mi
Total: 298.57 mi
It snowed in March and I wasn't expecting it as I'd already swapped my winter bike over for my main commute/training bike. I got caught out one day when it started snowing once I was at work. The snow was getting heavy and I was urged to go home early. The ride home was fine for most of it. Braking and turning was a little dodgy and at a mini roundabout, the bike slid out from under me when I dabbed the brakes a little hard when I thought a car wasn't going to stop in time. No major injuries. Just a little bruising and a bent dérailleur hanger.
A pattern was beginning to emerge with my mileage though. With the weather still not great and my leisure mileage for the year was still at zero until my anniversary ride on 13th. It was my 3 year anniversary. Having ridden over 13,000 miles in the 3 years since I started cycling was a pretty impressive achievement.
Commuting: 292.69 mi
Leisure: 2.83 mi
Total: 295.52 mi
April was when my mileage started to pick up. It was 30 Days of Biking so a good excuse to get some leisure miles in on the bike. My youngest son decided to join me so we had some quality time together. I was pushing him a little and by the time the month was over, my 9 year old had ridden every single day in April and a total of 108 miles.
My son was given an award for his achievement which was presented to him at school by his headmaster.
The last day of April was also the last time I used my car for any of my commutes. I never intended to cycle the rest of the year but once I got to 3 continuous months my goal was to keep it going as long as possible.
Commuting: 326.33 mi
Leisure: 173.68 mi
Total: 500.01 mi
The weather was a little better in May. However, my only ride of note was on the Enigma Open Day in the first Saturday of the month. Ex-pro and ex Team Sky Directeur Sportif, Sean Yates was in attendance as special guest. The weather was not kind but the day was a good one.
|Sean Yates' Pinarello Dogma|
Commuting: 348.09 mi
Leisure: 100.98 mi
Total: 449.07 mi
The weather was starting to be regularly nice. The first weekend was the Eastbourne Cycling Festival. I took part in the 50 mile sportive in the morning and then the mountain bike ride in the afternoon.
On Fathers Day I took part in the BHF London to Brighton Bike Ride for the 4th consecutive time.
A few days later I was privileged to ride with Sir Chris Hoy at Box Hill thanks to Evans Cycles.
Commuting: 274.89 mi
Leisure: 189.01 mi
Total: 463.90 mi
July was the toughest test I've ever had and it wasn't even on the bike. On 2nd July I took part in the National 3 Peaks challenge. The challenge is to climb the three highest mountains in Britain within 24 hours. We drove up to Scotland on Monday 1st and at 4pm on 2nd July we ascended Ben Nevis. We were greeted with snow at the top but there was no time to admire the view (not that there was one due to cloud) as we had a deadline to meet. The descent was tough on my knees and I was the last down from our group of 4. We were a little behind but we got straight in the car and headed to the Lake District. We arrived there in the early hours of the following day and proceeded to climb Scafell Pike. The climb was a little tough but the descent was tougher. We then headed straight to Wales to climb Snowdon. The climb was the most technical in terms of climbing rather than trekking. Once at the top visibility was very poor and the combination of strong winds and rain made it very cold. We got to the bottom with only 22 minutes to spare. I was so physically and mentally exhausted having had no more than 4 hours sleep since we started the first climb. It was definitely the toughest thing I've ever done but don't think I was as fit as I needed to be.
On the way back from Wales I had to head straight to London for my interview for the Cycle Show on ITV4. I was absolutely exhausted.
I arrived at the Red Bull studios and hung around in the green room whilst waiting to be interviewed by the genuinely nice Graham Little. I was a little nervous and wasn't sure what I'd be asked but I think it went OK. I also got to meet Rob Warner, Magnus Backstedt and Alex Dowsett.
A week later and a new twist to a ride I love. The BHF London to Brighton Night Ride. The ride takes a slightly different route to the daytime ride and is 60 miles in total. It's a strange feeling starting a ride in the capital at midnight and riding through the night. What was even more strange is that the night time temperature was warmer than when I did the day ride a month before. It's nice arriving at the coast as the sun is rising.
At the end of the month I got to take my new 29er mountain bike to Devon and Cornwall. I expored some of the National Cycle Routes and found a trail I fell in love with, NCN 27.
Commuting: 272.14 mi
Leisure: 158.07 mi
Total: 430.21 mi
August will be the month of cycling I will never forget. I pushed myself harder on the bike than I ever thought I would with little preparation. It all started with a Strava challenge, the CTS Bucket List. The challenge was to cover 574 miles in the final two weeks of August. I knew it was near impossible but I was going to try anyway. The plan was to cover 150 miles in the first week of August and 200 in the second to make sure my legs were up for the final two weeks. The only way I could get the extra miles in was to extend my commute in the morning or on the way home. Getting extra miles done in August was easier than expected as the weather was good and the days were long. As I was nearing the end of the first week of the challenge, I realised that I wouldn't be far off completing 1,000 miles in a month. As I'd never achieved this before I knew I had to go for it. I ended up doing two century rides within 6 days, my longest ever ride (117 miles), my longest ever week (399 miles) and finished the month with 1,002 miles completed. And yes, I completed the challenge!
In August I also became a brand ambassador for Dare 2b. Dare 2b saw me on the Cycle Show and thought I'd be a good person to showcase their brand.
Commuting: 591.93 mi
Leisure: 410.26 mi
Total: 1,002.19 mi
I didn't slow down too much in September and after my 1,000 mile month in August I realised that my original 6,000 mile target for the year was actually a possibility.
I took part in two more London to Brighton bike rides. The first was the London to Brighton charity ride. The second was the BHF London to Brighton off-road bike ride.
I also got to ride in the New Forest for the first time, taking part in the Garmin Sharp Ride Out. It's an invite only ride that Garmin organise every year to give something back to the riding community. It's a 50 mile sportive where riders get to meet and ride with some of the pros just days before the Tour of Britain.
|The Garmin Sharp Team bus at the start of the Garmin Sharp Ride Out|
Commuting: 330.34 mi
Leisure: 291.93 mi
Total: 622.27 mi
With 3 months left to go I worked out I had to complete 553 miles a month to hit my 6,000 mile target. With the weather set to get worse, this could prove to be a real challenge.
I signed up for the Jaguar: Ride Like A Pro event in West Sussex. Not only did it give me a chance to enter a competition to win some great prizes, it also gave me a chance to get more miles in.
The weather for the month was pretty good so I managed to get all the required miles in with a combination of road and MTB.
Commuting: 341.12 mi
Leisure: 207.93 mi
Total: 549.05 mi
With only 1,100 miles left my target for the year was looking achievable however it was still a little daunting. The weather may have other ideas to try and stop me.
November saw me take part in my first ever mountain bike race. The Merida Brass Monkeys. It's a 4 round winter enduro series and I took part in the 2 hour race. I learned a lot that day, but most of all, the 29er is king.
Commuting: 388.29 mi
Leisure: 204.12 mi
Total: 592.41 mi
It was going to be tight for me to finish on target but I knew I had to do it. I commuted every week day and at least 50 miles each weekend. My last day at work was Christmas Eve. I had 21 miles left to go. I had permission to ride on Christmas Day but I thought I'd better not. Instead I did the final miles on Boxing Day morning with my mate Matt. I was so relieved and pleased at the same time.
Commuting: 313.95 mi
Leisure: 217.88 mi
Total: 531.83 mi
2013 was my best year yet. Most miles, most time on the bike, longest ride, biggest week and biggest month. I also did 8 months straight without using my car for the commute.
Weight wise, I'd started gaining after such a successful finish to 2012. However, in July I was refocused and losing again. At my final weigh in I was my lightest ever at 77.3kg. I also finished the year fitter and stronger than in previous years.
looking on to 2014, my goals haven't changed much. On the bike I'd like to at least match my 2013 mileage. Weight wise, it's just a number. My real target is body fat percentage. I'm still trying to get to 15%.
Total rides: 497
Longest ride: 117.57 mi
Total time: 450h 18m 47s
Elevation Gain: 30,935m
Max Elevation Gain: 1,303m
Avg Speed: 13.4 mph
Max Speed: 48.4 mph
Calories burned: 335,414
Bikes owned: 6
Commuting miles: 4,058.62
Leisure miles: 1,956.69
Total mileage: 6,015.31
Total days driven to work: 11
Total car mileage: 5,555