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Fat mountain biker takes stock one year on

| Blog, What Mountain Bike | 12/08/2010 13:10pm

I’ve lost 4 stone 12lb, annoyingly just 2lb short of 5 stone, and I’ve pedalled a grand total of 3284 miles.

Clive Chapman

Those miles are primarily commuting miles but also mountain bike (MTB) miles and road bike leisure miles, so a bit of a mixture cycling-wise, which is good.

The benefits to me on the health front? Normal blood pressure, no more daily meds (although that’s under constant review), no more snoring, no more sleep apnoea, less aching in my joints, although I still get achy joints due to my past activities. Also, more energy, I’m less self-conscious about how I look (but I still am self-conscious though) and a general feeling of wellbeing.

What can’t be measured is my new outlook on doing day-to-day stuff. Before I’d say, “Maybe tomorrow,” now I say, “Let’s crack on!” I’m doing more things with the family, I’m walking the hills again with wifey and the hounds from hell and I can buy off-the-peg clothes – that’d be due to a 10in reduction in my waist size.

I had two challenges in June: cycling 100 leisure miles off-road on my MTB – I did 163 so I succeeded there – but I failed on reaching the 5 stone lost mark by 2lb, as I said above. A bit peeved but I’m not going to get hung up on 2lb. At the moment I’m at a scheduled rest period, so no cycling for a week. I am doing upper body and core work though. Rediscovering stomach muscles is a bit of a painful shock!

So a year ago it was a very slow six-mile towpath commute into work, and a six-mile commute home that left me totally knackered and virtually unable to speak when I got home. Now I arrive at work after an extended 20-mile loop in on the road bike, or an extended 16-mile route in via NCR5 and the canal feeling totally okay and wishing time would allow me a longer jaunt.


Last weekend I did a 43-mile route with my mate along the canals of the Midlands with no bother at all. Obviously some high-mileage cyclist reading this will be smiling and saying no big deal, but it is a big deal for a still obese 46-year-old. If you think pedalling 17 stone 6lb around is easy then load a rucksack up to that weight and try it!

The year, while very successful, was not without its dark moments, with a mystery malady in February that kept me from pedalling for about two weeks. It may have been the demons playing up rather than any illness; it’s hard to know, as this is more of a mental battle than a physical one. I also had an injured calf muscle that stopped me commuting while it was treated.

But the biggest battle was during the worst winter in years just getting out on my bike to commute to work. Nearly every morning I’d lie there arguing with myself about driving in or cycling in. I am proud to say I pedalled nearly every time – the wimp demon in me won only twice I think.

My battle with food is going my way too. I am still eating sensibly but am aware that the abuses of the past are only a weak willed moment away, and in its own way this is the hardest battle of all. It is just like alcoholism – perhaps I’ll always be an addict in relation to food and it’s something I’ll have to live with and control to the best of my ability.
So what’s in store for year two then?


I’m going to be pretty boring here and just say more of the same. This is a life thing now and I’m just going to crack on. But I do have some rides planned. The Snowdonia MTB loop that I did 15 years ago is scheduled in for September and the big road ride to Gwynedd – all 120 miles – is going to happen before that, dates to be confirmed. I will be going into all of the gory details here of course!

The article above so far is, quite naturally, pretty much me me me. But don’t think for one moment that I did this alone. Not a bit of it. I had and still have great support from my family and real world friends; I certainly couldn’t have got this far without them. But also don’t underestimate the power the internet gave me. I wouldn’t have started this without it, that’s a cold hard fact. And more importantly the support I have received and the words of encouragement I have had on here and my own daily blog have made this battle just a bit more bearable.


So to you my dear reader, a heartfelt thank you – you did more for me than you could possibly know!

Clive Chapman

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