I had a routine - I got up, rode to work, sat at a desk then rode home. Thirty-five miles a day, nine thousand, five hundred miles a year with weekend jaunts included then all of a sudden it stopped. It’s amazing how quickly you can lose your fitness, especially after all of those years of spinning the pedals and now it’s time to earn it back. I’ve got a goal and everything.
For years, alongside reviewing products for road.cc I had a day job as a Draughtsman and 3D Designer for an engineering company. I hated it mind (the company not the job) but I loved the commute, I had up to two hours a day, guilt free on the bike. Come rain or shine, snow, fog, whatever the weather was doing I jumped on the bike and off I went.
Then the chance came to jump ship and focus more on the road.cc stuff, a simple decision to make. After all it meant more time to ride my bike right?
Well, not quite. Yeah I may work from home now and be surrounded by brand new bikes and cycling goodies on a daily basis but part of the package is looking after three young kids and their constant needs while the missus goes off to work. The eldest is at school but the other two spend their days bickering and squabbling over various toys and TV programs while I’m trying to work, tidy the house, cook etc.
Hours seem to disappear and my Strava timeline is beginning to look rather bleak but the worse thing is I feel really unfit, even the three mile a day walk for the school run isn’t helping.
After years as a competitive time triallist I’m finding myself without a goal and I think that’s the issue, I’ve never been the type of person who just goes for a ride, I need to ‘train’.
So, what do you do?
Well, enter a three day sportive for starters, three hundred and thirty miles overall with about two thousand meters a day of climbing – the Tour of Wessex. I’ve ridden the event on and off for years, the odd day here and there while only completing the full three days once. I walked Dunkery Beacon that day though which still pisses me off to this day!
Could I complete it with my current level of fitness? Well I'm not sure as I’m in a bit of a weird place at the moment, I’ve got the power (an FTP test a few weeks back revealed 303 watts) but I’ve not got the ability to put it out for any decent amount of time plus a steady consumption of Stella Artois means I’ve added a stone in weight – not ideal for climbing 25% ascents in the West Country over a bank holiday weekend.
Well hit the hills basically. Pair that with a sensible nutrition plan and hopefully over the next few months I should return myself to my former glory ready to not just complete the Tour of Wessex but actually enjoy it.
I’ll keep you posted on how things are going.
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.