When I returned to cycling in August of last year, after a 40+ year lay-off, I rode the Cuckney 10 mile time trial (TT) to get a baseline indication of my fitness levels. I suppose I shouldn’t have complained as I put in a time of 27:42 – definitely not fast by today’s standards, well by any standards really.
But perhaps a little history wouldn’t go amiss to explain my current attitude to cycle racing. As a 15 year old schoolboy (1972) I rode the Lincolnshire heats of the national schoolboy 10 mile time trial championships – and won in a time of 25:19. I rode in the finals and came 23rd (out of 120) with a time of 25:24 – good enough to get me selected for a training weekend at the National Sports Centre at Lilleshall Hall. This wasn’t for the national squad: it was to evaluate riders who may have had the potential to make the squad. So that gives you an idea of the levels at which I was competing back then.
Unfortunately, I gave up cycling competitively, due to parental pressure, to do my A levels, so I missed out on racing as a Junior (16-18). I made a comeback after that, but my times were well off the mark and I sustained a back injury, which took 18 months to recover from – it’s worst symptoms any way. And I’ve lived with lower back pain ever since, although mostly it’s just in the background and I don’t take much notice of it. Shortly after the back injury I picked up a knee injury, and the two combined resigned me to giving up cycle racing altogether.
Roll on 40 years and I’m separated and living with a friend who is a keen cyclist and persuades me to come out for rides with his mates. I’m hooked again. And when I move to Sheffield it’s not long before I find a club to ride with, Fusion CC. They basically only have 2 rules: Hard and fast and don’t wait for anyone. After I joined I discovered they have former national and international riders, so the pace is hot – often too hot for me. But I like that. I’ve had a history of riding with faster, fitter guys than me and it’s what makes me raise my game. Hence the title of this blog, “Don’t Wait For Me”. I don’t care if I get dropped, I’ll be back for more next time.
Sorry to have rambled on, but this being the first of my “cycling” posts I wanted to provide a bit of background to my enthusiasm for cycling. BTW, it won’t be all about racing, I want to get into touring in a big way, too.
Back to tonight’s time trial – I put in a time of 25:15, so between getting back in the saddle last August and tonight I’ve improved by nearly 2 and a half minutes. And it’s meant that in my age group (55-64) on Strava I’m top of the leaderboard for that ride. Check out the image below. Strava is brilliant for keeping a track of performance and also following friends, too.
What was a great help was having a Garmin Edge 200 cycle computer – a device that uses GPS to track a ride (or run). Mine was attached to the handlebar stem so I could see current speed, distance travelled, time lapsed and average speed – brilliant. But I’ll do an article about the Garmin Edge 200 in a separate post. I think this one has gone on too long already.