So every day or so I'll complain about weight or looks blah blah blah! So as ever one for a challenge, I decided that in January I would hit the health hard and spend a little money from the pot of 2011 none existant holiday and delve head first into a personal trainer.
From the free induction it was clearly obvious that I don't use about 85% of my muscles as by the end of the forty minute session I woke up in agony the next day, crippled like an old grandma making her way to Aldi at the crack of dawn.
But still, I have found the whole thing quite remarkable and with 5 sessions of intense circuit training, education, and a new outlook on healthy eating I am starting to feel the burn... literally my "Glutes" are killing me as I sit at my desk.
The biggest challenge for me is my job. Taking up a large percentage of the day with many a "yah yah" occasion on an evening, the battle is and always will be drink and socialising...
... you see all these gym buff bodies, but then really do you ever see them out at all! I presented this to "Enrico" and his reply was simple... don't go out.
Its a fine balance and actually if that the case, I should probably settle for being a bit bumpy as to be honest enjoying life and its moments now are probably more important to me than slogging it alone in a gym.
And if I didnt have the weight I'd have nothing to talk about :)
After months of training, cycling to work, to Windsor, to Brighton, around London, getting lost, changing tyres, going swimming for something else to do other than cycle… I was now stood outside The Clarendon Hotel Blackheath at 6am waiting to cycle to start the epic journey to Paris… with a puncture. It HAS to be a first to wake up at the beginning of the Macmillan Cancer Support London to Paris cycle ride with a puncture before we have even started. So after solving that problem and being more than a little embarrassed in front of my soon to be cycling companions, the 49 of us formed from across the UK set off on day one with the mission to reach the hotel bed waiting for us just outside Calais, France.
What was amazing about such a trip is the sense of team work, and meeting people whom all have a reason to be there, and all wanted to do something about it. Wake up calls at 5-6am each day were a challenge, let alone tackling the gruelling Kent countryside and weaving through idyllic, yet suspiciously empty French villages. What I did find incredible is how well I adjusted to long days in the saddle tackling some 80+ miles each day in order to reach each check point. There are numerous things to mention about the trip, from the blistering 35 degree heat in Paris, to views that just stretched for miles across farmlands. So many stories to share about punctures, accidents, and general banter with the team leaders to the delight of a well-received carrot cake, I cannot possibly mention them all, but was events like these that throw away any pain in the knees, or any uphill struggle and spur you on for another day.
With the journey and meeting new people making the trip fun the overwhelming support from friends, family, colleagues, the community, and incredibly the support from complete strangers, really helps you pedal that bit more. It is quite the running joke with my peers now that after five months of constant pushes for sponsorship through twitter, facebook, letters and general conversations in the pub, that now it is all over I have nothing to speak about… but I do. I want to thank every single person who sponsored, supported and sent the most amazing messages, texts, and phone calls, that is what really spurs you on, and I cannot thank people enough for the overwhelming support during the ride.
With this is mind a staggering £2200 has been collected in sponsorship which is incredible. The group that I cycled with to date have collected over £52,000 which is outstanding and comes from the generosity of people who want to change things… so from me and Macmillan I want to say thank you!
The cycle was incredibly tough in places, and still a week on I am dealing with leg cramps and discomfort in my knee, but in retrospect that isn’t anything to what people go through when battling cancer.
A special shout out must go out to my amazing friends Kim Savage, Ryan Macaulay, Sarai French, Steven Chinnery and Lee Redpath who not only sponsored me but travelled out to Paris to be waiting for me under the Eiffel Tower at the finish. To cycle that last corner after some 330 miles and see banners and more importantly champagne with some friendly faces was really something and again thank you…. I couldn’t have done it without you!
If you have read this and fancy taking a challenge but are perhaps a little unsure, do it! I never in a million years thought I’d of cycled to Paris, let alone enjoy it, but within a group of people of all abilities, ages and fitness, every single person crossed that finish line and cheered under the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Another weekend and another cycle, this time tackling Chelsea to Brighton.
Now technically this is only 9 miles longer than the London Bikeathon but my goodness the terrain on this run was exhausting. It made me realise quite quickly that unlike the Bikeathon, the world outside zone 5 is full of HILLS!
After crawling over underlating countryside the final approach to Brighton saw a huge looming BEAST of a hill appear before us and the coast. Ditchling will strike fear to most cyclists and after cycling some 80km it was not a welcome sight! A huge, ridiculous hill that nearly had me give in the whole bloody trip... except there was no train home or pint waiting.
All in training, but its all good prep for this mad challenge to Paris!
Last year on the hottest day, 30 degrees I took part in my first organise bike ride the London Bikeathon. 26 miles.
A year later and I embarked on their challenge route doing 52 miles on what has been recorded as the hottest day of the year again. Bizarrely I completed the route which took me from The Battersea Power Station to the Thames Barrier to Ham House in Richmond to Battersea Power Station, in just 3 Hours 31 minutes which was just one hour more than when I did 26 miles the previous year! MENTAL!
But despite the intense heat, I had a great day and saw a whole lot more of this amazing city! Bike is definately the best way to get around and some 5,000 people of all abilities proved that!
The scary thought is that this mileage is around the amount I will have to do PER DAY on the way to Paris... I just need to remember I don't need to go so fast!
CyclingPosted by Pete Jun 19, 2011 21:16 in order to get a few miles in this week I took a few hours out of my Saturday to head on down the London cycle network to Greenwich. Within five minutes I had to pullover after getting caught on Westminster bridge in a huge hailstorm (great British summer). After ten minutes soaked to the bone I set back off! Taking in some lovely sights round many of Londons docklands I made it to Greenwich. Taking my bike under the Thames at the Greenwich foot tunnel, before setting thru the city back to Chelsea totally some 33kms! All in all a nice ride. Next weekend is the London BIkeathon in which I will cycling 56 miles across London. All in time for Paris? www.justgiving.com/peter-holland We shall see! X
Thanks to the wonder that is my Iphone, this is the route that I and my friend Bess took on our bikes to get from my home in Chelsea to Windsor Castle.... all 64kms of it!
Needless to say, it was an energetic ride, but minus stopping, and take note of the extra 6kms we added by getting lost in Windsor Park...(that place is huge), we made it eventually in just 3 hours 40 minutes. We were also on two very different bikes.
Why do this to yourself? Well this is because I am going to have just over this for four days each day in order to get to Paris. So do expect more of these kind og rides in the coming four months. It's scary to think that this only just begins to scrape the barrell.
I've done it again... I've signed up for something again and after I've done it think "Oh Pete why!"
Next Saturday I am taking an EXAM!! I haven't taken an exam for over three years and even then it was for the "Arty" degree I did! *flails arms" The exam is to become a qualified cycle leader for the organised Sky Rides. The qualification, endorsed by the British Cycling organisation, will see me able to take groups of people on cycle rides around London and get PAID for it!
Now we all know I get a bit excited about cycling and getting people involved but as of yet I am unsure that me leading groups of fifty people around the city is a good idea.
Time will tell, but first I have to get the qualification, I am a bit scared and nervous but its all part of me and my two wheeled mission...
Did I mention that I'm cycling to Paris?
For more information about the British Cycling Organisation and the Sky Ride have a look at their website...
Reading through everyone's stories, I find it really quite amazing that where stories differ, they all share the same passion and love for the bike. Believe me this wasn't me over a year ago. A firm lover of the car, in which I miss my dear GTI greatly, but moving to London, it's just not possible so this was the next option.
My Story is as follows:
I started London cycling as a result of immense jealousy! A girl in the office over a year ago started cycling to work, she would turn up feeling good and fresh for the day… having got up much later from bed! It was also clear she was saving a tonne of money as her sandwiches were getting bigger, a sort of reward for burning off the calories pre-work.
The new Year (2010) came around and I thought Ill give it a go… knowing from my track record of Trapeze/fencing/gym lessons this would not last very long and I would revert back to crampt sweaty tube changes at Victoria to then be crushed at Oxford Circus (why do people do it?).
With my pride in not being able to commit to anything past a couple of weeks, I bought myself a cheap halfords bike roughly a £100…
and LOVED IT!
There really isnt a better way to get around the city, I am by no means a fitness fanatic, but the energy from cycling is really something else. By April I had started reading blogs like London Cyclist and by June I was cycling the London Bikeathon much to my friends amazement and raising a whole load of money I’d never normally part take in.
By summer enough was enough and I needed speed and wanted the look of a pro, so using the Cycle to Work scheme I bought a beauty of a Specialized road bike and that will take me to Paris this summer… the whole 220 odd miles! (London to Paris)
I’ve been riding now for over a year and am so pro cycling its unreal, I sold my old faithful just the other week for a cheap price in order to inspire a friend to share my passion… he is already browsing the catalogues for his first upgrade!
I sound like a geek, but I am a firm believer that if I can do it, anyone can, and with weather like this there really isnt any excuse.