This Saturday coming I will turn 43. Not a special milestone birthday by any means and in the current world we are experiencing its likely to be a low key affair that matches the status of being 43. 42 did not turn out to be the meaning of life, the universe and everything as I’m sure many who passed through this particular age bracket found out, so the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy has gone down somewhat in my estimation.
However, reflecting on the year gone by, I find that it has been quite a year with a lot of highlights and many reasons to remember it with fondness (especially the 2019 part of it). From a cycling perspective I enjoyed trips to Sweden and the World Championships in Harrogate, I got ridiculously excited watching Mike Teunissen take the yellow jersey in Brussels on stage 1 of Le Tour and I completed Ride London for the second time (this time without falling off/getting knocked off)
It is Harrogate that will stick in my mind for a long time though. I got to meet a lot of excellent people from the cycling corner of Twitter, I got to meet a lot of excellent new friends at the Alpecin cycling ride out, I went and said hello to Mike a couple of times at the Old Swan and I was on the finish line to watch Annemiek van Vleuten raise her arms as world champion after one of (if not) the most dominant rides in cycling history. It was made all the better to see her, some hours later, ride back into the hotel with the rainbow bands on, medal round her neck taking the applause from the spectators and the Dutch team.
A downside that stayed with me on the long train journey home was how unfit I was and how disappointed I’d been with myself in the company of some very good cyclists on the Alpecin ride. Yes, there were national hill climb champions and very experienced riders in the group but I was annoyed with myself for letting myself get into the state I had, so I resolved to do something about it.
Fast forward 8 months and I am in a completely different place. I’m stronger, I’m happier and most importantly I am over 2 stone lighter. At the last weigh in I have lost 30lbs (13.7kg) and now weigh 11 stone 3lbs (157lb, 71.4kg). My wallet has taken a battering from all the new kit I have had to buy, at one point I bought some jerseys in the sales before Christmas but I never got to wear them when the weather came good because I’d lost more weight!
I did a comparison in January to the Alpecin weekend some 4 months previous, I’d already lost 20lbs by then…..
…..so, as I was trying on some new kit, I thought it was time for another before and after comparison. For reference, the photo on the left was taken in Sweden last July.
I’m not done quite yet, I want to get down to between 68-70kg, but I have no shame in saying I’m incredibly proud of myself right now. All of the early morning SST workouts, the weekend rides and the will power around food have paid dividends. I’ve not had to use the inhaler and my cycling has become more enjoyable, I can see continuous improvement in my performance on regular segments and I am starting to relish taking on new challenges rather than shying away from them.
Although the Etape looks as though it won’t happen this year I will be ready when it does come calling, I’m determined not to go back to where I was a year ago.