It’s April 2023, I’m 38 and I am the heaviest I have ever been. I am also the unfittest I have ever been.
Over the current years and months I want to change that. Injuries have started to linger longer than usual. weight is taking longer to lose than usual. I am more tired than usual. All in all, I want to get back to place where I can live a healthy, active life and be strong for whatever the future holds.
I can’t do that sitting on the sofa eating ice cream so something needs to change.
I have flirted with various methods to keep fit over the past few years, but since 2006(ish) one activity has been pulling me back in, which is riding bicycles.
Back in 2006 I was watching the Tour De France on the TV and had recently just discovered downhill mountain biking, so my interest in cycling had exploded. I went to Halfords and bought the cheapest, shittiest bike I could find – a €99 Apollo Slant.
I mostly rode it on the road, but then when I started taking it to some trails that were near my house. It took about 3 weeks to snap the joint between the headtube and top tube… aaaand so began the collection of bikes. I yoyo’d between a mountain bike and a road bike, before eventually realising I needed 1 of each.
Fast forward a few years and I joined a mountain bike club and was regularly training on my local trails as well as the mountain the club used for their rides. I really loved it, but my final year of college, followed by a master’s quickly sucked up all my time and I drifted away from regularly cycling.
But even today, I watch a lot of cycling on the TV. My love for bike racing and the adventure side of the sport has never really left me.
Starting all over again.
Today, I am the heaviest I have ever been. My body fat % is the highest it has ever been. To a lot of people that might not mean a lot so to put that into context, on a BMI chart I have crossed into obese. (Not a concrete guide I know, but it helps illustrate my point).
Last year I injured my knees, which very slowly came back to life with the help of a summer off exercise and (somewhat) daily rehab. It took months but I felt like I got back to about 75% of where I once was.
I started cycling up and down to my office which is about 10-15 minutes each way to get back into the saddle. Everything hurt. EVERYTHING. My wrists were numb, the area under my sit bones was swollen and my shoulders were locked up. Not to mention a sharp pain had returned in my left knee.
I have a long way to go.
The first real cycling I did in many years was only recently when a friend of mine was visiting and rented a bike for a weekend. We went out for a cycle on Saturday morning to do a slow 30k-ish ride. It was a relatively flat loop mostly on a cycle path. I was worried about how the knees would fair, but knew it should be manageable.
For my level of fitness, weight and injury history… we absolutely flew around. Zero pain from my knees, even on a semi-hard drive up a few small climbs. My wrists were still killing me, probably from leaning too hard on the handlebars when I would normally take some of that weight through my legs.
This gave me the confidence to start back more regularly. Especially on this new 30k loop.
So this is it, the place where I will document what I learn along the way, how my injuries develop or disappear, what training blocks I’m doing and maybe some bike nerdery I learn along the way.
And coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.