|Need some motivation? here’s a brief story of why I got into Cycling.I was fast approaching forty and eighteen stone, the kids were growing up and I was feeling very unfit and carrying far to much weight! What to do?The big 40 arrived and I had still done nothing, I invested in a cheap leisure bike from Halfords which spent the first eight months of its life in the shed. It was Febuary 2007 when I finally got the bike out of the shed and set of up the Tissington trail, this proved to be a lot harder than I thought my first outing took me only as far as Thorpe!!My motivation was simple I just set myself longer distance targets along the trail and started riding three times a week each time going a few more miles, I started to keep a diary of my rides with brief details, distance,average speed. It didn’t take long before I was reaching the end of the trail! my problem was the bike just wasn’t up to it and was slowly falling to bits. I was now riding a regular circuit around Ashbourne at night, I was getting noticably faster and lighter,I was not recording my weight but could tell I was losing it.Progress was surprising I invested in a new bike from Samways, this was a cyclo-cross bike which would allow me to ride the trail and the roads as well. My new target was to ride the Brian Rourke Cat & Fiddle Challenge in October of that year, this was a 53 mile ride climbing the Cat & Fiddle and Axe Edge with a few little stinger climbs as well.With the support of my friend Julian (aka Pod) I did the ride, Julian’s rear mech broke about a mile in so he followed me in the car. A respectable time of 3hrs 17mins I was well pleased with this result and well and truly hooked on Cycling, my weight was down to fifteen and a half stone by now, I continued to train and entered Sportives to give me the motivation I needed.I had seen articles about Ashbourne Cycling but it took me a long time to pluck up the courage to join them for a ride, my first meeting with the group was at the Chesire Cat sportive in March 2008, this was a 100 mile challenge taking us up the 25% climb of Mow Cop which I somehow managed to climb! Next challenge was the Polka-Dot ride in June 08 which took in the climb of Winnats Pass which I failed to climb! (I have since returned and conquered this brute), a couple of days after this I recieved a phone call from Nick Moore asking me if I would be interested in a trip to France cycling in the Pyrenees, Nigel was sick and could not make the trip. So of I went to France for a baptism of fire!! You have seen these climbs on the Tour de France but OMG it was a real eye opener!!!!! We did three days climbing one day taking in the Tourmalet and Hautacam ouch!!!In 2009 I road the Dave Lloyd Mega Challenge in North Wales a 150ml Sportive taking in climbs such as The Shelf,Horseshoe Pass,Worlds End,Road to Hell,Blwch-y-Groes this was a real brutal challenge not helped by me missing a turn and adding another 12mls! So yes 162mls,5000mts of climbing, ride time 12hrs 3mins, average speed 13.4mph. A day I wont be forgetting.
I now ride three or four times a week and maintain a weight of thirteen and a half stone which although I would like to be a bit lighter seems to suit my build, I can honestly say that cycling has been a real revalation to me and I now find myself following racing and reading all sorts of cycling publications. Riding with the club helps with the motivation to keep training, its good to catch up with the others for chat and see what they are doing training wise, pick up some usefull tips and attempt to stay with the pace.
Climbing will always be my nemisis but I continue to work at it and this will always be a motivator, its unavoidable in the area we live in so you just have to get on with it!!