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The naivety of youth and junk bikes versus new technology and an old fat rider

| Blog, What Mountain Bike | 18/06/2010 14:07pm

Clive’s been racking up the miles and smiles so much that he lays out his plan about re-riding an old adventure from back in the day.

Back to talking about weight loss today, or specifically the lack of weight loss and what I’m going to do about it. The last six weeks have seen me upping my mileage considerably; I’ve been putting in regularly over a 100 commuting miles a week, with the odd mountain bike micro adventure blast on the weekend – family duties allowing.

This has seen zero poundage lost. I am getting fitter, my clothes are still getting more baggy and I’m still having folks come up to me and compliment me on how much weight I’ve lost which is 4 stones 1lb since July last year.

But scales do not lie. Especially digital scales put in exactly the same place on a hard floor every week! So what to do? A new plan with more progressions is what to do.

The first phase saw me progress from a six-mile park and ride to and from work to a full 24-mile round trip from home to work. I’ve been caning that with absolutely no ill effects recently, which no doubt has held my weight loss up.

But I’ve seen remarkable progression. The first full commute home took me 1 hour 15 minutes and I could barely speak when I eventually got there, my record now is 39 minutes and I’m fine on arrival!

During the last few weeks of road bike commuting I’ve recced two 20-milers in to work, I’ve christened them the East Side Commute and the West Side Commute for hopefully obvious reasons.

The West Side Commute is far hillier than the East Side Commute, taking in Hagley Bank, up over the Clent Hills and Mucklow Hill, which is fairly notorious around the West Midlands for not being too easy to get up. The East side is pretty flat with only one climb of note in the Wast Hills.

As this is a marathon not a sprint I’ve broken down my commute into seven-week chunks; six weeks pedalling with one week rest then add a small progression for the next seven weeks’ chunk.

The phase 2 plan lasts 35 weeks. So five chunks then. The first chunk is a Monday and Wednesday East Side 20-miler with a normal 12-mile commute home, with a Tuesday and Thursday bog standard 12-mile each way commute. Driving in on a Friday.

There’ll be small progressions until finally I get to a Monday to Friday West Side commute with a 12-mile commute home. I’ll always be doing the 12-mile commute home as I do like to get home to the family. The bigger mileage will always be done in the morning. The reasoning for this is less traffic, I can spare the time by getting up earlier and anyway, I’m a morning person!

As I said I’m currently hovering around the 100 mile/week mark with my commuting. This will see me do a whopping 200 miles/week with the last progression. The mileage also doesn’t take into account my more important mountain biking and other jaunts I have planned too.

One of which is to recreate a journey I did back in about 1981 to Tywyn in Gwynedd. It’s roughly 120 miles from my house to my Mum and Dad’s. It took me and my brother 12 hours to do that on nasty 1970s iron-framed “racers” with steel chrome plated wheels and hub gears back in the day. I’m hoping me and my Giant Defy can get somewhere close to that time. The naivety of youth and crap bikes versus new technology and an old fat rider, what’s your money on?

The plan above and a stricter note of calorific intake should see me getting the kick start I need to crack on. By my reckoning I need to lose roughly 8 stones, which would take me back to my rugby playing and Army fighting weight of 14 stones. But as I haven’t really set a target I’m just going to crack on and see where this goes. I think I’ve mentioned before that a target achieved is my excuse to stop!

I suppose the last six weeks of treading water has been me getting used to this way of life and to be fair, maybe I’ve been guilty of taking my eye off the ball a bit. I’ve just been enjoying my cycling so much that I guess the main aim of this, kind of got lost amongst the miles of smiles. Especially the early jaunts over my local trails and very early commutes down the towpath. I mean, who cares how much good pedalling is doing you physically when your soul is uplifted by seeing the sunrise over the Waseleys or hearing the Dawn Chorus down the canal, or let’s be brutally honest, just by being on a bike? I know I don’t give it much thought, would you?

Clive Chapman Thursday, May 13

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