Firstly thanks for taking the time to check out what I am up to. Here is a little background on me and what this blog is about. I am someone who loves health, fitness and competitive sports. Whether it’s playing it, studying it, talking about it, cooking for it or coaching it. My main interest is triathlon, returning to the sport for the 2017 season to take on some longer distances races. My first goal for 2017 is the Slateman Triathlon in North Wales in May 2017, and this blog is about how I am going to get there.
I grew up in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, and played all the normal sports at school, football, rugby and cricket. However I realised early on that team sports aren’t really my thing, I prefer to rely on myself for success, however this may have come from often playing for losing sides. At around the age of 13 my whole family got into white-water kayaking through the Scouts. This was a sport I excelled in, competing nationally, taking part in trips to the French Alps every summer and coaching new kayakers. The sport even lead me to picking where I went to University and what course I took.
So in September 2007 I rocked up in Bangor, North Wales to study Sports Science and be an awesome kayaker. Two things happened in North Wales, I discovered my love of Sports Science and all things health and fitness but I’d given up kayaking.
A Change of Sports
I headed to North Wales as it is somewhat of a kayaking Mecca in the UK, I intended to paddle the gnarliest rivers I could. However freshers’ week lead me to befriending a bunch of rock climbers, so for the first year I tried my hand at that, which I enjoyed but truthfully was never very good at, when compared to most of the BUMS (Bangor University Mountaineering Society). During my time climbing, in the spring of my first year I thought I could get better at climbing by getting a bit fitter. I’ve always been into bikes, being really into mountain biking as a kid, so thought I’d get fit by riding a bike. So after the Easter Holidays I brought my dad’s old Diamond Back, bought in the Le Monde Tour winning era, back to North Wales. My first ride was from my halls of residence to Llanberis and back to buy some climbing stuff. It was 35km and took me ages but I loved it. During the rest of the year I used that bike mainly to get about on, but when I got back to the flat lands of Peterborough I spent my summer working on a farm for cash, riding the bike trying to get faster, and as a uni student inevitably partying. But I was hooked on road cycling.
During University I took part in the few road races that my budget allowed and loved it, and my main interest was solely in being the best racing cyclist I could be, which coincidently isn’t that great. However in my 3rd year, just after British Cycling had stormed the boards of Beijing’s Velodrome Dave Brailsford came and spoke at Bangor University, his dad lives round the corner. I went to that lecture and was blown away by what British Cycling coaches were doing and decided that I wanted to coach endurance sports. I very nearly got a job British Cycling as a Go-Ride coach just before I left University, but missed out to someone more experienced. I decided that in order to succeed I needed more knowledge, so I decided to pursue a Masters in Sport and Exercise Physiology, moving to Leeds to do so.
During my Masters year cycling took a back seat, Masters are much harder than you expect. I did do one cool thing on the bike that year, Tour of Flanders sportive, an absolute must for any cycling fan. But other than that my cycling was just for fun. When I returned home after University I got a job in a local school as a Science Technician to pay the bills so my girlfriend, now wife, could do her PGCE and become the outstanding primary school teacher she is now. While this job wasn’t the job in sport wanted it did give me a hell of a lot of time. So for 2012 I decided I was going to commit to racing my bike. The start of the year went well, I was gradually moving up the pack in the local crits. However at some point in the spring of that year my right testicle swelled up to the size of an orange, which required surgery to correct. So my cycling season had to be cut short just as it was starting, having the surgery at the end of June. This had a slight upshot as I had a month off work to recover, which just happened to coincide with the 2012 Tour de France and Bradley Wiggins’ victory, so I didn’t get bored.
The Blog is Born
During my recovery I swam lots and did a bit of running, as I couldn’t ride too much. I really enjoyed a change of sports and decided that for 2013 I would give triathlon a pop. I found a sprint triathlon to enter, I looked at the times of the previous year, set myself the goal of winning my age group and set out my training plan. At the same time I managed to win a place on the Science in Sport Winter Academy, receiving nutritional support and guidance towards my Triathlon whilst in return blogging about my experience. And so this blog was born, you can read about my first, and to date only triathlon in the archives of this blog.
After the triathlon I decided to switch my focus back to cycling, missing spending lots of time on the bike. I also thought that after the success of that triathlon as a self-coached athlete, and having not found any opportunities for work in sports I decided to give coaching a go for myself and set up my own coaching business. This venture lead to some moderate success coaching a few athletes from first time century riders to winning a master national crit title with another. Trying to do both things at once meant that between now and then I have never had the consistency of training I had in early 2012 so have never got back to the level I was then. Along with all of this the blog fell by the way side too.
I spent 2016 having a go at time-trialling in the first half of the year, targeting the Tour of Cambridgeshire TT. Having missed my goals in this I decided to take a break from cycling and signed up for a half marathon, with the view in the back of my mind that if I could go under 2 hours I could probably complete a half ironman in the future.
So after a summer of weddings and little training I was left with 7 weeks to get in some sort of shape to run. Using MAF training to simply build a solid base of fitness I astounded myself and managed to complete my first half marathon in 1hr 41mins and 14secs. Having really enjoyed just seeing what I could do I have decided to return to triathlon for 2017, targeting the Slateman Triathlon back where my endurance journey began in North Wales. This blog will aim to document me progress towards this goal. I hope you enjoy my posts.