Follow David’s progress as he follows the Seven Hour fitness plan from CW’s Health and Fitness for Cyclist’s magazine.

Apparently, Lance Armstrong used to refer to technological advances that gave him an edge over opponents as “the s*** that will kill them”.

What Lance didn’t appreciate is that this term more accurately describes the effect that his training methods may have when applied to largely sedentary mortals such as myself.

My life is now dominated by thresholds ? heart rate, lactate, garishly-coloured lycra. My coach, Oli, assures me that they are on the up but, worringly, my key life expectancy threshold feels under pressure every time I do an interval session.

Perhaps sensing the need to toughen me up, Oli recently decided to give me my first taste of competitive cycling: a 30 mile time trial. Having spent my early rugby-playing years in cold changing rooms surrounded by men slathering themselves in embrocation for no apparent reason, I was delighted to find that time trialling offered an entirely fresh sporting experience: a cold village hall surrounded by both men and women slathering themselves in embrocation for no apparent reason.

This is progress. As soon as I got underway, the reason for the embrocation became all too apparent. It rained sideways and blew a gale for the entire course. Trial was a fairly apt description but – unlike a large number of competitors – I did complete the course. And it didn?t kill me. Just gave me a rather nasty sniffle.


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