Monday, February 15, 2010

It's Time For Me To Do Something Different

I started this blog at the beginning of 2007; the start of my quest to win some bike races. The previous year I'd participated in a couple of master's road races and a few club time trials, my competitive spirit had been rekindled and I was raring to get fit. I discovered the heart rate monitor, modern training techniques and the huge advances in racing cycle equipment. It was vastly different to when I'd previously raced in the eighties. I was 28lb heavier and just wanted to "solve the problem" of winning again.

At the end of 2007 I'd gained a silver medal in the season long LVRC national road race series and had won gold in the LVRC national championship time trial, not only winning my age category, but winning the event outright. Better still, I'd bought a power meter and was engrossed in trying to understand how to use it effectively. I followed up with a winter of hard training, overdid it, recovered and during 2008 managed to win silver and bronze national medals in the season long Rudy Project national master's series; this time it was for time trialling on sporting courses. The road racing didn't go so well however as I struggled to work out how to train for both disciplines simultaneously.

I approached the 2007/2008 winter quite differently and it went very well. Although my threshold power of around 315W didn't increase, my abilities over efforts of shorter durations saw great improvements. I even improved my sprint which was my weak spot. 2008 was to be my "swan-song". I'd worked out that I wasn't good enough to compete with the best riders on a week by week basis and win as well. I could be "up there" in the top 6 places for most races but that wasn't what I wanted. Instead, I only rode 11 road races during the season of which I finished 9, winning 5, coming second twice and having two fourth places as well. By the end of July I'd just had enough of road races and decided to spend the rest of the season time trialling. I had my eye on the over 50s gold medal at the British Championships but didn't make my intentions public for a while. After a couple of months of the most intense training that I've ever done in my life, with a new threshold power of 330W and a couple of practice events I got my gold medal and champion's jersey. It was one of the proudest and most satisfying moments of my life.

It's been an enjoyable 3 years, but because I'm not a naturally gifted athelete (whatever that means), it required a huge ammount of commitment. I have been very fortunate in having a partner who has never complained about my obsessive approach, continual tiredness and about the time I've spent out on the road. I've reached a point now however where I want to do something different and need to move on. I love riding my bike, in fact I like training as much as I do racing; perhaps even more! I want to go for bike rides, use our tandem and get out across the fields on my mountain bike. I want to continue my long term quest to climb all 284 Scottish Munro mountains before I get too old. And as a new project (which may last a couple of years) I want to produce a series of fine art photographs that portray Leicestershire's forgotten history.

This will be my last post on this blog and I'd like to thank all those who have read my ramblings and also left helpful comments. The blog has been a major source of motivation for myself; an opportunity to share what I've learnt and the mistakes that I've made along the way. I've had a lot enjoyment doing it. It's a wrench to stop posting every couple of days, but I've reached the point where I don't feel as if I've anything new left to say. I expected the blog to be read by a few friends, but never imagined that it would have attracted over 70,000 visits. I know that is not a high hit rate by internet standards, but this is just the account of one middle aged cyclist's very amateur quest for some personal success. 

Best wishes to you all in your own quests for success, staying fit or whatever it is you do on a bike.


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