A Pint of Boddingtons Sir?

Who would have thought twelve months later and 13,000km of cycling. Anything is achievable.

In March 2010 I contacted Karl Murray (Exceed Coaching), cycling coach extraordinaire, asking for help to reduce weight. I have always liked cycling but never really given it a good nudge until now. I sent the photo on the left to Karl showing him what he was up against. So with a $450 Trek 1000 bike off Trademe, one pair of Cycling shorts and a tight jersey I went round to Karl’s studio for a bike fit, even that made me puff. After some frank home truths about eating and drinking and the Taupo cycle challenge as a target, Karl set me a new program which did not include drinking beer. This was a big ask. So with a new program and an offer from his good friend and fellow cyclist Marion to ride around the water front on Friday morning away we went complete with a Training Peaks package, there was nothing stopping me, all I had to do was focus on the cycling.

During my bike fit, Karl provided me with a new San Marco seat which is more comfortable than the one I had on my bike to start with. First month of my new training regime we were all go six days per week.

After a few weeks training the agony was still there but the weight was starting to come off, I was venturing outside more, away from the indoor trainer, but the winter months were beckoning and I had little cycling gear to cater for this. I spent a lot of time riding on my own as I was way too slow for any riding groups. In late April Karl suggested I join the Manukau Veterans cycling club Inc, this was a brave move for me, but one hat turned out very beneficial with lots of support from fellow members who are now very good friends. The first ride with the club took us up Hunua Gorge on one of their regular Sunday 64km rides. I am pretty sure they wondered what they had taken on as a new member, I was so slow up the gorge I finally fell off in the ditch, heaving with exhaustion.

Another month went by, finally broken my first ride of 100km, did it again and again, my weekly hours on the bike were moving past 10 hours sometimes 14 hours and the weight was definitely coming off.

The Manukau Vets club had an individual time trial event (Handicapped) and I entered with in trepidation. Much to my surprise I came 2nd, this felt really good. Two months later there was the two man time trail, came 1st on handicap and 5th overall.

Winter soon turned into spring and the progress continued. I was getting more confident about Taupo, and my average speeds on rides was increasing. I was also starting to target a time of 6 hours 30 minutes, and my friends had decided we were entering the Nelson 40/50 Tour two weeks after Taupo. Before I knew it I was taking my last bit of advice from Karl prior to Taupo and feeling a little daunted about Nelson

I finished the Taupo Cycle Challenge in 6 hours 40mins, quite pleased given how hot it was on the day. Also picked up a trophy from the Manukau Vets as “Most Improved Cyclist New Member” for the 2010 season. Two weeks later it was off to Nelson, Karl had briefed me well on this and the ride lived up to everything I had been told. Very much up hill, and yes I did get spat out in the neutral zone. My goal was to complete the ride 356km up into the Southern Alps and back. I came last in every stage but the last full stage before the time trail. I was very pleased about completing this event.

Rolling into 2011 I recently entered a 5 man Italian Pursuit at the Manukau Vets. We came 1st on handicap and first overall. I rode this event on my new Eddie Merckx EMX1, but I could never sell the trusty Trek 1000, she has retired to the wind trainer.

Thank you Karl for believing in me. I am very happy with the results 30kg lost in under 12 months. I am a regular social cyclist now and all the better for it. As Karl said to me “you can’t buy what I have achieved”


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