Cyclists of the World, I Salute You

cyclistsMy main cardio kick when losing weight was running. The younger version of me used to run quite a lot. Nothing competitive. Just the occasional five or six mile run in an attempt to generate and maintain a decent level of fitness. However, a change of jobs and location led to a change in my fitness regime i.e. I didn’t have one. I kept threatening to get out running again. When the light evenings return I’ll be out there losing the flab and getting fit again. Never happened. Well, it did eventually when I declared enough was enough and began the weight loss process which took up most of 2012.

The purchase of a treadmill really kick started the running bug again. Allowed me to get fit enough before I ventured out in public. As an aside if you are thinking about running and can afford to purchase a treadmill then do. Great piece of kit. There is an element of snobbery in the running community which likes to pooh-pooh treadmills but I’m not having that. Fantastic way to begin your path to fitness, especially in countries where it rains a lot! Anyway I digress slightly. Where was I? Yes, the running bug. It returned and along with my strict, almost obsessive, calorie counting I ended up where I am today. So thanks running.

Why am I rattling on about running when the title of this blog is saluting cyclists I hear you ask. Well this is the reason why. When out running I always used to look at passing cyclists and think to myself that they had it easy. They should try getting off the bike and running instead. No free wheeling for me. I had to earn every inch I covered. In December last year I bought myself a bike. I’ve cycled about a 100 miles or so since then. I now think differently about cyclists.

I was sort of right about cycling. You do get to free-wheel at times. However, it is usually required to get over the effects of that hill you just struggled your way up. Distance is another thing I perhaps didn’t take into account. I did 22 miles today. Not a lot to some but a lot for me in my rookie cycling year. That 22 miles included up hills, down hills, into the wind, wind behind, wind across, traffic to negotiate and so on. The very fact that you cover relatively large distances exposes you to all sorts of weather and road conditions. Your body is always having to react and get ready for what is coming next.

When I used to return from a 10K run I would be tired. Bit out of breath but never that stiff or sore. 22 miles in the saddle covering all sorts of terrain and you better believe I am stiff and sore. I have no idea how professional cyclists can knock out 200K in a day over multiple mountains in searing temperatures. Well, we sort of do know how some managed it, but in general it must take an incredible level of fitness and stamina to be able to do it cleanly. Despite what I used to think cycling is a very tough and demanding sport. Whether you cycle to work, are part of a club, like the odd pedal around country lanes or even just take the bike to the shops, I salute you.

ps. I also salute runners and anyone else who gets out and moves their body. Whatever works for you just keep at it. Every little helps.

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