These inspirational words of Greg Lemond’s present the truth behind cycling. Some of us are born svelte with the ability to ride a bike fast, and some of us not. I personally have never been the quickest cyclist, and indeed most of my adult life I have developed the same rotund shape that has been in my family for generations. My natural body shape and propensity to gain weight will ultimately limit me. Indeed, most of us will find that we have a natural ability for speed that will ensure that we don’t become winner of the Tour. Most of us would never have the natural ability to perform as a cycling pro. To me it’s about personal achievement. When I time trial I don’t race anyone else except myself, and I think this is the great thing about time trials. It also applies to other challenges and long distance rides.
Does this matter, and is there anything that we can do minimise the natural affects and defects of our bodies? Ultimately, no it doesn’t matter, and yes we can do something to improve our ability: eat well; train well; and rest well.
It was 2011 when I got back into road cycling. I was 39 years old and weighed 100kg. I had been taken on a challenge to ride the Vatterrundan, a 300km overnight ride around Lake Vatturn, the 6th largest lake in Europe. I had 6 months training. In this time I went from my first training session which was 7 minutes on my old turbo trainer to riding my first century in over 20 years. I finally rode the Vatturnrundan in 13 hours and 39 minutes weighing 85kg. Over the following two attempts I kept the training routine high and got quicker and lighter. My third Vatturnrundan was 10 hours and 8 minutes at 78kg which I followed up with London- Newhaven-Dieppe-Paris in 24 hours five weeks later. Clearly putting in the miles pays off
More recently I have been delighted to see via social media that Chris Brewer has this year really applied himself to training. So far this year he has completed well over 3000km and clearly the results are paying off. Most recently we have seen Chris achieve two personal bests in his 10 mile and 25mile TTS. Again this is a clear testament to the fact that if you want to go faster and for longer you need to put in the miles. It’s not going to get easier, but you will get quicker!
To finish I have a little rhyme:
There was a “young” man named Chris
Who’s Strava went rather a miss
After 3000k it cause some dismay
Along with a couple of personal bests!
Well done Chris!
(This article was first published in the July 2018 Redmon Quarterly Newletter.)