Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In August 2012 I cycled 500 miles - I'm as surprised as everyone else!

I've always loved cycling and (in my mind at least) my childhood was spent almost entirely in the saddle roaming the countryside of Suffolk in search of Famous Five style adventure (that we never found), but other than a few minor injuries cycling never had much of an impact on my body, until now...

When I first met my wife I was a ten stone waif, but a fondness for ale and a decade and a half working in the IT / Interwebs field added an additional six stone to my frame.  My wife assured me that being twice the man I was when she met me wasn't an issue for her, and I'd like to think that I'm not the sort of fellow who is obsessed with my body image, but over the years the weight related jibes from friends started to annoy me.  Some folk weren't quite so subtle; my doctor said something along the lines of 'you've gotten huge' and my mum (upon hearing that I weighed nearly 16 stone) said in a quite matter of fact way that I was much too heavy.

My year so far.
Until August 2011 I worked for myself, and worked at home, which somewhat narrowed the opportunities to cycle my morning commute.  Over the years I enjoyed the occasional tootle around on my shit-heap mountain bike, and I even managed a few long bike rides, but in May 2011 I bought my first 'road bike' (an old Claud Butler Dalesman) and everything changed.  To be fair by May 2011 my wife was very heavily pregnant with our first child, so my life had already changed a great deal, but finding out that I could actually cycle up hills on this road bike was also a revelation.  The other big change that happened was that I got an actual proper grown up job, and a job meant a commute - huzzah!

I didn't commute at first, in fact borrowing my mate's van seemed like a reasonable cop out for travelling the three miles from my house to work, but in March 2012 I decided I'd had enough of paying silly money for diesel and got back on my bike.... and here I am six months later three stone lighter and much fitter and happier.  The commute is now often much more than three miles and the weekend rides are getting faster and longer.

To be honest there's not that much of a story to tell, I have always eaten well so I guess lack of exercise was the missing part of my lardy puzzle.  I've had a LOT of advice from the good folk of http://www.cyclechat.net/ and fallen off a few times, but on the whole commuting to work and getting out on Sunday mornings has been a total joy.  I guess if you view weightloss as painful and daunting then the chances are you'll find it painful and daunting, I appreciate that I already loved cycling so I've been very fortunate to be able to shift the flubber doing something I love.

500 miles in a month!
Targets are useful, if nothing else they stop exercise being mundane, so at the start of this month I decided to set myself an unreasonably high mileage target - 500 miles!  I'm quite shocked that I've managed to achieve this seemingly insane goal!  The charts below show some of the geeky stat data from the last month - I track all my rides using Strava and Endomondo on my phone and using my Holux bike GPS.



P.S This is my Endomondo profile - http://www.endomondo.com/profile/4626205

P.P.S This is my Strava profile - http://app.strava.com/athletes/596232

P.P.P.S  August 2012 isn't over yet...