Wednesday, 18 October 2017

In the last week, I have put in some hard training, including running, pilates,cycling on and off road, with some early morning and evening rides in the dark. The body is complaining, with a sore back and aching limbs, but there is no gain without pain!

I have decided to seek some professional help with my training, as clearly my body is in a different state now to when I was training at 18. Also on nutrition, things have changed hugely since the 1980's and I need to take a modern approach. More to follow on both these things.

Race 3 at Baggeridge near Dudley on Sunday, saw a big field of nearly 90 in the over 50's. The gridded start saw me only on row 4, which is quite a handicap, because it is easy to lose almost 30-45 seconds on the leaders quite quickly as you get baulked by other riders. 40 years a go starts were almost always in a long line, to give everybody a fair chance

I had no mechanical trouble in the race and in dry fast conditions, no bike changes were necessary. I did have a fall, which I only had myself to blame for and finally finished 20th, but physically I felt stronger and feel I am getting more used to the racing now.

It will now be a couple of weeks, before I race again, because I am off to Australia to see my son Sam in Melbourne and then on to Hong Kong to visit my daughter. Not ideal for my training, but will be doing my best to keep active while away! 

Friday, 13 October 2017

Post first race thoughts

Sorry not been blogging for a few days, must get back into the groove!
After my first race, I realised that I needed to up the anti a bit in my approach. The first race to be fair was on a tough course at Shelsley Walsh and it was my first cross race in 33 years, but even so, I felt some what despondent after the race.

Since then, I have trained more intensely and am seeking some training advice, as I realised that my situation now is very different to 40 years ago. Then I was naturally fit at 18 and had been training regularly for many years. I am now 58 and although I have been doing sport regularly, I have not been biking seriously, so I do not have a base biking fitness to build on. This season anyway is meant to be a try out and then I have all next year to hone my training and approach. I will see what a new coach can advise (other than forget it at your age!)

Saying that though, I have trained hard in the past 2 weeks, including going out on the Wednesday night chain gang with a dozen riders for a 40 mile burst round the Worcester lanes. I had forgotten how enjoyable (and hard) these nightly sessions could be! Thanks to Chris Edwards for organising and controlling these sessions!

My second race at Hengrove Leisure Park in Bristol last Sunday went much better. I was running 3rd until the last lap, when I slipped my chain and came in only 8th, which was disappointing! I had planned only to have a single chain ring  (which I always used 40 years ago, even though then you only had 5 or 6 gears) and  now you have 11, there seems even less reason to have a double ring. Unfortunately the single rings were not available when I picked up my bikes but it was changing from one ring to another, when the chain came off. Probably user error, but  it could have been avoided by having a single ring.

The other annoying problem I had was that my shoe cleats came loose again, so I could not clip my shoes in easily. This made for some challenging pedalling. I have subsequently found, thanks to some help from friend and local tech guru Ian Moseley, that the screws in my plates were too long for the Lake shoes, so they could not properly tighten :-(  Ian has now kindly shortened the screws and lock tighted them in!   Fingers crossed now for a trouble free next race, scheduled for Baggeridge near Dudley on Sunday.

A big thanks to all the family members from Bristol and Exeter who turned out in force to support me at Bristol, you made all the difference!

I picked up my new Secondwind www.rideforcharlie race clothing from Planet X last week and Jorge Jorvino has done a great job with the designs. The design followed on from the great bike graphics, including the monkey, Freddy  Mercury  images (my love of Queen) and the pigs!  Ever since I lived and raced in Italy, I have sworn in Italian, with the word porco featuring frequently in my vocabulary! My nickname Porco has been with me ever since, hence the pigs!

A big thanks to Dave Loughran and his team at Planet X for providing the clothing. Shortly team replica kit will be available through the Planet X website and in their shop and all proceeds from the sale will go to

I have now set up a justgiving page, so anybody who would like to support my efforts can make donations   

Thanks to those kind people who have already donated!

That's all for now, but do a bit of work in the office before I go out for some training later :-) 

Monday, 2 October 2017

First race

I rode my first competitive cyclo cross race yesterday in 33 years ago and to be frank it was a shock to the system.

I rode the under 50's race in the Shelsley Walsh event, part of the West Midlands league.

in a field of about 50 riders, I came about 20th (still not found out exact result) but I had forgotten how hard the sport is. The course was a tough one (even the current riders, who ride regularly admitted this) so not a perfect start to my comeback. The terrain was pretty relentless and I was pleased when it was all over!

I had not expected great things, as my preparation had been Ok, but due to travel commitments the week before, I had only managed 2 bike sessions in the week before the event. One of those on the Friday, was curtailed when I had a double blow out, when out on the Malvern Hills   (never happened to me before), which resulted in a 3 mile run back to the car, with the bike on my back! Blistered feet from the new shoes was one of the rewards for that.

I am  not deterred, but realise there is much work to be done and that I am going to have to sharpen up my approach if I am to achieve my goals.

My back suffered too on the hilly course, which is a concern, so will need to continue the training regime to strengthen my back.
Next race 8th October in Bristol!