I was heading to 30 years at what felt like an alarming rate. Looking in the mirror I did not see the person I imagined I was. Overweight and completely out of shape. It was an occupational health hazard. As a web developer there is little need to do anything remotely exerting. At 15 stone and 6ft 2inches I wasn’t obese but I was on the segment and on track for a KOM. Something had to change, I was going to be fit for thirty.
Growing up I always seemed to be a little bit quicker than the other kids when it came to things like running. It was pointed out to me at the time that I had longer legs than the average for my class which gave my an unfair advantage. This was obviously cheating so I did as little running as possible so as not to get found out. Despite my efforts I was chosen to run the Cheshire County cross country race in which I crossed the line for 4th place.
Despite my running speed I was not good at PE. My hand eye coordination is poor to the frustration of my friends, who in my teens seemed to effortlessly knock a tennis ball back and to. Whilst I was using my long leg advantage to fetch the ball from the other side of the court. Football was a little better, I was good at getting the ball, but had zero skill once I had it. During my time playing for the local kids football team, Cranberry Royals, I was shouted at by the opposition parents for my long leg advantage “he shouldn’t be playing in this age group”. In receipt of the ball their heckles turned to that of glee and some pitty, only for the heckles to be taken over by the parents of my own side.
Growing up sport wasn’t my thing. My hobby was music. My dad was playing in brass bands throughout my childhood. This influenced me to learn the cornet and join a youth band from an early age. I never wanted to be a soloist but wanted to be heard over the cacophony so I switched to the Soprano cornet which allows you to be a show off whilst staying seated. I didn’t want to be centre of attention, but I wanted to be heard and receive recognition. I guess this hold true in the very isolated sport of time trialling.
I also learned the keyboard piano and in my teens the guitar. To show off, I can’t remember my exact age, but I was quite young when I passed my music theory exam which was of GCSE level. Learning these instruments had me seek out and appreciate music far from the mainstream for my age group. My CD collection was eclectic with Bob Dylan, Metallica, Alan Parsons Project and Bread featuring heavily. In my twenties I moved on to an obsession with David Bowie collecting all his albums up until it went very wrong for us both.
Along side music I was spending a lot of time trying to set up an Internet business. I was learning programming and web design to back up my ideas. Unfortunately many of my ideas although later proven to be good by others were just bigger than me and the resources I had at the time. Some ideas I had in the late 90s early 00s…
- a mobile version of the Yellow Pages
- takeaway taxis, order your food online and have it delivered
- text message alerts from estate agents
To fund these projects I was helping other businesses set up online and it quickly became that working on other peoples business ideas was taking all my time and was more profitable. Much to my frustration.
So this brought me up to 28 years. Gaining weight and being less of the ‘ideal’ I wanted for myself. After yet another failed attempt at running, my ankles didn’t like my BMI, I dusted off an old mountain bike. Wow cycling was difficult. All these old guys on their bikes were flying pass effortlessly. I quickly realised that to go fast on the road you needed a road bike. After a brief misguided spell on a hybrid I got my road bike. I watched the Tour of Britain pass through still high from the Olympic Games. I decided at that moment I wanted to find out how good ‘I’ could be.
A few months later I joined Congleton Cycling Club and entered my first time trial. Since this I’ve dedicated myself to learning and applying as much as I can. It’s an obsession I admit but nothing has given me more purpose, confidence and general well being as my cycling obsession.