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The long awaited update.

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Hi everyone,

It's been absolutely ages since I last wrote a blog post about myself and what I've been up to. Indeed it is getting close to a year ago now. My blog in the last year has instead become an occasional site for a bit of campaigning, mainly to do with the current state of UK road racing (see here, here and here).

Anyway, my last "proper" blog was for Veloveritas in June - in which I explained that I didn't know why I had fatigue. Well, after many trips to various doctors and a ludicrous amount of blood tests I still never really got to the bottom of it and my fatigue got much worse. It's most likely that I had a virus that caused me to go straight into the post-viral fatigue phase - i.e. the sort of symptoms you get from glandular fever.

I had to stop cycling altogether as even 20 minute cycle rides left me so exhausted that I had to go to sleep afterwards for 10+ hours. The main way to describe it is simply as a lack of motivation, I haven't been so demotivated to do anything at all (like for instance to get out of bed) in my entire life. All my cycling mojo had drained out of me and I was basically pretty depressed. It was far worse than any other injury or illness that I have ever experienced and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Eventually, since I wasn't getting any better and realising that it had become partly (if not entirely) a psychological problem I got some help to plan my recovery, which began in about September 2012. It involved walking for short periods twice a day, I added 10 minutes to the daily walking time every week until I was walking for over 3 hours a day quite a few weeks later. Walking was great because it isn't strenuous and I have never been 'pro' at it so I had no expectations. To think that only a few months earlier I was riding 200km+ UCI pro races in Italy was, however, slightly demotivating again.

So then I began my recovery on the bicycle, which involved mountain biking and short cafe rides mostly, so long as I didn't think too hard about how good I used to be I was fine. The trouble was that I did slightly too much riding, although it was still a pittance in comparison to what I used to do I suddenly ended up getting very, very fatigued again, resetting myself back to square one, again. After more motivational trouble I steadily bounced back again in a similar fashion to before, then in February I did slightly too much (again) and so on and so on... By the time I went to Mallorca to help lead rides at the Perfect Condition training camp, something I had promised to do much, much earlier I had basically no idea whether I would be able to do anything or not. The week before I left I did two rides and spent the rest of the time not doing a whole lot.

Mallorca was really difficult but fortunately I had a great time and managed to ride almost every day, confirmation that I was 100% better. It was great to be surrounded by really keen cyclists again, a far cry from the far more serious ones I had been associating myself with previously.

However, I have decided to no longer try and ride full time as a cyclist. Looking back I am really proud of what I have done and how far I got. Some days I feel like I got further than I should have and should count myself lucky, on others I feel like I didn't get far enough. Either way it doesn't matter now, if pushed I'll choose to take the former view. It would have been really nice to race pro in Italy for a few years rather than have it all go wrong so quickly but I can't change what happened, I just have to be philosophical about it, I know I was good enough.

There are multiple reasons I have decided to stop: the main one is that I feel it is time to focus my energies and on other things, namely using my long neglected education to get myself a proper job, earn some money and finally move out. It's time to stop being a cycling bum. I start my new job as a programmer for Siemens on Monday.

I am currently on a racing sabbatical, I shall return to race but this time as a proper amateur, with a new approach/philosophy and only when I feel ready. I have some things I would still like to achieve on my bicycle and would also like to coach/help out as many keen cyclists as possible to achieve their goals.

See you on a club run or at a race somewhere.


p.s. If you haven't already then please sign the cycle petition to the PM:
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