I thought it would be useful (bearing in mind whatever else this blog is for it’s to help keep me motivated) to summarise progress so far. The main objective of all this is to get healthy and fit enough to enjoy a long active retirement. Getting back on the bike is the way I will achieve this but also an important objective in its own right as hopefully it will be one of the major activities of my retirement, for leisure and as a mode of transport. Apart from exercise the other key component of the get fit and live for ever plan is weight loss through changing my eating habits and dietary regime. This amounts to cutting back a bit on alcohol and reducing my calorie intake by an average of 500 a day. This, combined with moderate exercise, should mean I lose between 1 and 2 lb per week. I started this in September, about 8 weeks ago, and I’m down to 16 stone 3 lb from 17 stone 5 lb, a loss of 16 lbs or 2 lbs per week, so this seems to be working OK so far.
My exercise/training regime started at the beginning of September. I got my old turbo rollers out of the garage, unused for over 30 years, and started doing 10 minutes steady pedalling, about 70-75 rpm, two or three times a week. I also devised an as flat as possible short road circuit I could ride regularly straight from home. Living where I do it is impossible to avoid the hills. The flattest I could find starts with a 1.5 mile uphill drag followed by undulating roads and a steeper half mile climb towards the end. The total distance is 6.5 miles which I did once a week in September and got the time down from 42 to 36 minutes. From the beginning of this month, October, I have extended the circuit , first to 7.5 miles and now to 10 miles. I’m averaging about 11 mph at the moment, an improvement on my initial speed of 9 mph that included a couple of stops on the hills to get my breathing back under control. Not very fast but it is hilly!
Also this month I have increased the turbo roller sessions to 20 minutes per session and to 3 times a week. I find this rather boring and, inspired by Richard Hall who I hope to do some riding with next year, I will be putting an interval training programme together that will help me extend the turbo sessions to 30 minutes alleviated by some variety and goals. I have a heart rate monitor and, if I can understand the instructions and set it up properly, I will be able to measure any progress I am making in terms of maximum BPS and recovery between intervals. Hopefully this will figure in a later progress report.
In addition to all this, I have been going on the Leeds Cycle Action Group’s (LCAG) social rides on Saturday mornings, starting on the 8th September. To date I have been on six rides. These tend to be between 12 and 15 miles. These run all through the year and I intend to go on as many as I can through the winter as the weather and other commitments allow.
As for the future, I hope to be able to join the LCAG’s fortnightly intermediate Sunday morning rides (30 to 35 miles) when they start again next March with a view to eventually being able to do the longer rides, 50 – 70 miles, on the alternate Sundays. I also want to set myself specific targets by choosing and registering for some Sportive events. I may be restricted in my choice for next year as these tend to be quite long and hilly. Another possibility is the annual London to Brighton Heart Foundation event. My old heavy hybrid bike would not be entirely suitable for this so as a further incentive I have promised myself a new road bike before spring next year, perhaps the beginning of March when I should be down to 15 stones if I’m on target. Who knows, I may even do the odd club time trial. And what better way to celebrate my 70th birthday in 2016 than ride La Marmotte!
Have you considered aiming for The Great Yorkshire Bike Ride next June. Its a 70 mile charity ride from Wetherby to Filey. Lots of LCAG riders did it this year, some of them doing that distance for the first time in their lifes.
Thanks for the tip Brian. This sounds ideal. Probably not quite as hilly as La Marmotte! And it’ll be great to do it with a group from LCAG. I’ll look it up and put it in my diary. I think I need targets like this to work towards.