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Conditioning

Back to earth with a bump

Since the beginning of April I have been trying to get back into shape. I started with some unfocused riding, just riding for 40k "easy" tended to hurt. I am terribly out of shape.

More importantly being yet another fat middle aged man on a fancy carbon bike with a power meter is frankly embarrassing. I am quietly ashamed at what I have become. I don't want to ride for fear of my old riding partners seeing this big, fat wobbly 93kg 6ft tall man struggling to maintain 190w on the flat.

Worse, towards the end of every ride I experience all manner of aches and pains in my upper and lower back, my triceps and even my calves. It is depressing. Back in 2007 I weighed 73kg and could  ride the 110km Tour of the Surrey Hills in under 4.5 hrs. Now I couldn't face the first climb.

But I comfort myself with the fact that I am actually doing something about it. Buying new clothes with a larger waistline is not an option. In fact, Andrea Morelli who is Cadel Evans' coach and a long-time supporter of Golden Cheetah sent me some top line Assos bibs and jersey. Trouble is, getting into it I really do look like the only gay in the village.

So, need to get into shape and make that stuff look good on me. In fact, when I hit 80kg I'm going to get myself a tailor-made suit, to reward me and remind me what shape I should be.

Mix it up

So if riding around is no fun then I need to look at other ways to help me get back. My wife Samantha and son Harry have been doing the Surrey Fitness Bootcamp. So I tried it. Holy crap, it hurts. Basically it is 1hr of circuit training. In the first 2 minutes you develop the mother of all oxygen debts and then carry that through for another 58 minutes.

It was wonderful. 1hr of pain worse than any FTP test followed by a virtuous feeling. I like that. So started looking for other things to do.

I used to have a multi-gym at home, but sold it to my Dad when I realised it was just taking up space. But I kept my free weights (a few dumbbells from 5kg through 20kg). So I started to do some every 3 days or so. Mixing up an arms and shoulders day with a chest and back day and finally, I got myself a bar bell and some bumper plates and do an 'legs plus' day which is basically deadlifts, squats, farmers walks and romanian dead-lifts.

I started to feel stronger.

Back to the bike

So, I mix in bike riding with strength and circuits. I am not really any stronger, 190w on the flat is about  all I want to do. But my CV system is tense rather than working overtime and the aches and pains in my back have gone.

I got my C2 rowing machine out again today. I forgot how hard it works the CV system and after 3k was spluttering.

Gonna stick with this conditioning for another 6 weeks, mixing it all up and slowly increase the elevation gain on my rides. I reckon by the summer I might be ready for some base training!


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