Peter White looks back at the lack of technology when racing as a junior as he takes the plunge and buys some power pedals
I was recently going through an old photo album of my mum’s from my cycling days as a youth and I came across a clipping cut out of Cycling Weekly of me aged 15, doing a spot of Cyclo Cross at the BCF Youth Week.
It was a week-long training camp where a group of between 20-30 Juniors stayed in Woodbridge College in London, at a halls of residence. We spent the days at Eastway Cycling Circuit in East London, training and racing before returning to the halls for a talk on training and tactics.
I must admit I don’t remember a great deal as it was over 35 years ago but I do remember it being pretty basic. But cycling was one of the least scientific sports around, it was all about getting the miles in.
Back then I was doing up to 300 miles a week. Road racing at the weekend and training and club time trials in the week. Also riding 10 miles each way to work when I was 16. Some of the races would be up to 80 miles, which was quite a lot as a 16 year old. In the winter I’d ride at least 2 months on a fixed wheel as I’d been told it would improve my pedalling style. I never had a milometer or speedometer back then, but I’d have a good idea of the distance of the training circuits I did. I do remember some of the more serious time trialists having a stopwatch mounted on their handlebars, but that’s about as high tech as it got.
It might have been low tech, but I was lucky enough to have a coach. A man called Ed Taylor. He ran Team Haverhill (I was in the Haverhill Wheelers club). Ed’s son Gerry Taylor was a very successful cyclist who had won a stage of The Milk Race. I also remember seeing him ride the Skol six-day with his brother Terry. Myself and a few others would meet up with Ed once a week and do some interval training and discuss tactics for any races that may be coming up. That was about as serious as it got.
Since my last blog I’ve stepped up gear or two. I’m now a member of British Cycling, have joined Brighton Mitre CC and entered my first sportive. I’ve also decided to go a bit more high tech and bought myself a power meter – a set of Garmin pedals. Having been pretty much out of cycling for the past 35 years I was totally unaware of power meters.
I took the plunge as I want to know how much progress I’m making, what sort of power I’m putting out, and how much I’m capable of. I did an FTP test and found it was 3.21 w/kg with a VO2 max of 54. I’m very pleased with that considering I’d not cycled further than 10 miles for 35 years and have been smoking for over 30. I’ve been nicotine free since Jan.
The riding this past month has been great with the feel of spring in the air and the days slowly getting longer. This means I can get out after work for a ride. I’ve managed to ride 100-plus miles every week since October except for last week, which was 94 miles due to the gusty winds and rain we’ve had on the south coast. I even did 10 miles of my turbo trainer whilst watching Paris-Nice; that’s 25 miles indoors this year and over 1100 miles so far.
The fundraising is also going well with over £900 raised so far and I’m pretty confidant of reaching my goal of £2000 by the end of the year.
I’m yet to complete either of this months challenges but plan to by the end of next week although I did take a great photo of the sunset over the Brighton beach but forgot to get my bike in it.
Roll on spring!