CW5000: CW staff progress – Vern Pitt

First up it's News and Features editor Vern Pitt. Vern got back in to riding last year after a couple of years of little riding saw him put weight on and lose fitness. He's looking to get fit for some riding abroad but doesn't think he'll hit 5,000 miles.

Name: Vern Pitt

Job: News and features editor

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How many miles have you done so far in January and February?

I’m up to 543 at the time of writing (Feb 25), but I’m going to get out on the bike later today and tomorrow so by the time you read this it’ll have gone up. That said this week’s going to be a bit below my usual total as I’m off to the Track World Championships on Thursday so there won’t be an opportunity to get a bigger ride in at the weekend.

Are you following a training plan, or just riding?

Most of my riding over the last year has been about weight loss rather than fitness so there’s been no formal structure to it – I don’t feel you need that to burn calories, just make sure you go hard sometimes. I hate training anyway as it takes most of the fun out of it for me – I’m just not wired that way.

That said I have now started a training regime of sorts. Though this just involves getting my head kicked in on the CW lunch ride whenever I can, and clinging on to the faster group in my club at the weekends. I’m fairly confident this will result in me being faster at some point.

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What’s been your longest ride?

I had to look this up but it was actually just the other day. I rode 56 miles solo in the Welsh hills, in the rain and near gale force winds. It was pretty miserable for most of it but I kind of enjoyed it afterwards.

Have you suffered any setbacks?

I love going to races for work but they do always put a dent in my riding time, as they’re usually at the weekend. Even if I could take a bike (which you usually can’t), there’s often not enough time to get out on it for any decent mileage. Instead I usually take my running gear (that packs in to a suitcase) to keep my fitness ticking over.

What’s your ratio of indoor to outdoor miles?

It’s almost all outdoor. I guess it’s not surprising that the guy that hates training hates indoor riding too as the only way to make that bearable is to set some intervals.

However, I have done some Zwifting, which is better than staring out the garage door at my driveway, when the weather is un-ridable. A few of us from my club met on Zwift during storm Ciara and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had on a turbo. One hour and 40 minutes flew by, I was in shock at how enjoyable it was. So I may do some more of that in future.

Vern hit the Bwlch in South Wales recently. But the Bwlch bit back and blew him back down the hill. Picture by Dan Gould

What’s your main target for this year?

I don’t know if I’d call it a target, that sounds like something you’d train for but I’m off to do some riding in Nice in late April. We’re planning to hit a lot of the classic climbs around there like the Col de Madone, Col de Braus and there was mention of riding the 24km long Col de Turini so I want to be in decent shape for that. The guy I’m going with is a real mountain goat so I have to make sure I’m able to keep up with him – or at least not leave him waiting for 15 minutes at the top.

I might also look to do some big rides in Snowdonia in late summer. And, whisper it, maybe even ride a TT or two.

Are you doing more or less riding than this time last year?

It’s about the same to be honest. But last year was the most I’d ridden in years, as other commitments had taken priority. It’s nice to be back into it a bit more.

Confidence, out of ten, of hitting 5,000 miles this year?

Zero. As I wrote in the mag a couple of weeks ago – it’s just not realistic for me to set that as a goal, I simply don’t have the time. However, as I said there these things aren’t always about hitting the goal its about striving to go further – and that I’m definitely doing. I just missed out on 5,000km (3,100mils) last year so I’d really like to hit that and then maybe if I get there early then who knows.