Silver Fox Cycling Club – Road To Recovery

Sean’s Journey (he’s on the right)

Just 14 short weeks ago I completed the final leg of a mammoth 1500KM cycle ride. Benny, (my partner in crime for two-wheeled adventures) and I had already ascended 5 classic mountain peaks from the legendary Tour De France calendar. In addition to the climbs, we had ridden a fair few miles to boot! As fate would have it though, this final day was to be a solo effort. I don’t want to put any spoilers here as that tale is for another day. However, suffice to say that on the morning of 2nd August 2017, I mounted my cycle and set off from Lyon in France. I covered 131.2KM in 4:48:42 – that’s an average speed of 17MPH. I finished that ride at a riding weight of 12 stone. Breathing was easy and unlaboured. My heart rate was down to an average of just 125bpm.

14 weeks later and I have just stepped off of the scales at Benny’s flat in Carbis Bay. I am 13 stone. I feel tired and listless. I am wheezing a bit, no doubt due to the half a dozen or so joints I have smoked in the last week. I am looking and feeling very unhappy. There are clearly identifiable reasons as to why I am in this current state when so recently I felt like a million dollars. At the end of #ride4five, I was riding in arguably the best condition of my adult cycling experience. So what are these factors that have rendered me immobile and so down? It is very important to be open and realistic when looking for issues in one’s life. I am going to list them below. The issue will be bunched into clear groups so that I can start thinking about an effective recovery plan. I see the main reasons for my current state being:

  • Stress: Allowing a stressful situation to dominate my thinking and then using bad habits to treat the symptoms caused. (Drinking regularly again – 8 to 10 pints a week, plus the more recent addition of Jazz fags).
  • Diet: A deterioration of the quality of diet as my fruit smoothie maker broke and I couldn’t afford to replace it. This has quickly translated into more bread and convenience foods. I am convinced that levels of lethargy and my overall mood are drastically affected by the intake of bread in my own personal case. The processed food is adding to the general malaise and exacerbating digestive issues.
  • Lifestyle change: An increase in sedentary work practices, namely, sitting for long periods at the computer.
  • Depression: And finally, no doubt to the combination of all of the above, a lack of drive and enthusiasm for exercise, leaning towards a low-level depressive mode.
  • A broken gear selector on my right lever.

These are obviously issues that need addressing. I have no desire to start smoking regularly again. Neither is the routine of drinking/hangover recovery, lost time, conducive to a productive life. This lifestyle is not serving me at all. It is certainly not fun.

Ever keen to make the best out of any situation, no matter how negative it may seem, I thought it might be nice to share the recovery plan and record the route back to fitness and wellbeing over the next few weeks. Perhaps you might be in a lull yourself in terms of mood or physical condition?

Perhaps you want to reach a personal goal of fitness for a particular reason? Maybe you just feel like doing a bit more on your bike? Whatever your reasons, I would love you to join me and keep me updated with your experience over the next few weeks too!

In order to help you keep up to date with my progress and also for you to be able to post and share your progress, I have decided to start an online club – “Silverfox Cycling Club” on Strava. Although the online club will be open to all, it may well appeal to more mature riders. For the record, I am approaching my 50th birthday. Ben is approaching his 60th and will be joining us for his own reasons whether he likes it or not! All the rides will be recorded in this club group.

Finally, to keep the diary notes and post pictures, relative content and updates I am going to use an existing Facebook Group @benandseansexcellentadventures – Please take a moment to like the page and share it with any who might want to join us on this little experiment.

I will post the first recovery plan blog at the beginning of January 2018 along with a short video. I look forward to hearing from anyone who is on board with this idea.

Here is to a successful January in the saddle.

Shiny side up!