Team Cycling Plus - Malcolm Ratcliffe

Malcolm's waistline is going down as his cycling is on the up!

Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. Despite the bad weather, Malcolm gets in some good rides...

Team member: Malcolm Ratcliffe

Malcolm from Erdington is determined to shed some of his 17stone before his 45th birthday this October. To do this he hopes to take his cycling to the next level with Team Cycling Plus, by extending his 10-20mile rides, and include a sportive or two in his season. As well as losing weight, his goals include regularly commuting the 10miles to work and doing a London to Paris charity ride.

One more week of travelling left and I will be free again to fit in some midweek rides.  It’s ok saying I’ll make it up at the weekend but family commitments, weather …etc can all curtail well laid plans.

I was due to get out with my dentist, Will, for a ‘quick’ spin up and around the Clent Hills today.  Unfortunately(?) for me I had to go and pick my son Kiaran up from scout camp so had to decline his kind invitation.  I felt bad as he has offered to join me on my first sportif, the Verenti ‘Flatout in the Fens’ www.kilotogo.com, in a couple of weeks.  Whilst only looking to complete the 100km route it will be the furthest I’ve ever gone on a bike in one day and having someone with me to take my mind of the miles will be a godsend.  It will also no doubt be useful to have someone to draft if the infamous Fenland winds pick up.  Although this is famed as a flat as a pancake ride I know from the experience of the blustery day a couple of weeks back how a strong headwind can easily be as hard if not harder to cycle than an uphill gradient.  At least with a hill there’s a top and, if required, a freewheel down to the bottom.

I managed to get out Saturday afternoon for a quite quick 20 miles.  At an average of 15.8mph I’m nearly topping the 16mph barrier.  Maybe not a big number to some but in my mind this would be a breakthrough and a sign of continuing improvement.  My average heart rate increased a couple of beats, but to be expected.  Although I tried to plan a route to deliberately avoid the ‘killer’ hill I found myself once more at the bottom of this demon and had to grind my way up before continuing on my way.

Today saw me take a ‘stroll’ through the park on the trusty mountain bike.  I’d persuaded a friend to accompany me but since he hadn’t done much cycling before it wasn’t speedy.  We managed 13 miles and one near disaster as my chain came off whilst attempting a short technical uphill on some loose gravel.  Miraculously I unclipped and dabbed my foot down on the ground to remain upright, but then had to then push the bike to the top to affect a repair.  Embarrassing moment averted but not the last I’m sure.  I was planning another ride out in the afternoon but by the time I got back from taxiing the heavens opened and it was set for a downpour of biblical proportions.  I even had to rescue my daughter Phoebe, who was stuck in a bus shelter half a mile from home waiting for the rain to stop!!  So deciding against putting my wetsuit and water wings on I remained indoors for the evening.

My weight is now more consistently reducing, albeit at a sedately pound a week.  So my goal is to now get under three digits, ie under 100 kilos, before the end of the summer holidays.  This means losing another 6kg, about a stone, but seeing it happen now week in week out I’ve not doubt I can hit this next target and maybe even better it?  People are now beginning to notice and are asking if I’ve lost weight.  I have to admit the scales don’t point to a huge loss but my body composition I guess will be changing alongside the weight loss.  Another notch tighter in the belt would also indicate some movement of body fat.

Who are Team Cycling Plus?

Team Cycling Plus powered by Verenti are readers Andy Ward, Kay Bowen, Malcolm Ratcliffe and Sam Shaw. We’ll be following them in the magazine for the next few months as they train towards their personal cycling goals under the guidance of Team Wiggle’s Ben Simmons and we will be publishing their weekly trials and tribulations here too. For regular updates check our twitter page twitter.com/cyclingplus and the Team Cycling Plus facebook page.

Cycling Plus - PPA Specialist Consumer Magazine of the Year 2010

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