Fitness and Health in 2019


Over the years I have riden with people who, sadly are no longer with us, and I have often wondered if their final demise could have been prevented or at least delayed.
In late 2018 I met a group of people who convinced me that at least they could have been more aware of their fisical condition and been more cautious.

I am as guily as anyone of jumping on the bike, pedaling as fast as I can, for as long as I can, beliveing that I am still 25. Well, this year I am 36 years older than that and now might be a good time to have a look at my state of health and fitness, if I want to keep doing this crazy sport in to my late 60’s and beyond.

The guys I met last year are doctors, who have started a company called TrailMed, that, among other things, specialise in testing and preparing athletes for their next challenge, whether it is elite road racing, Ride Across Britain style events, or in one case, the attempt at the fastest south to north traverse of South America.

I don’t consider my self to be anywhere near the level of some of these athletes, but I know I put my body through its paces and the ideal starting place is the CPET, Cardio Pulmenary Excersise Test.

Direct from the TrailMed site:

Cardiopulmonary exercise testing measures the performance of the heart, lungs and metabolism under stress. You not only check the health and performance of your body’s systems you get numbers to help structure goal directed training.

V02 Peak:
Your peak rate of burning energy

Anaerobic Threshold:
Where your metabolism starts producing lactic acid.

Respiratory Compensation Point:
Where breathing rate is driven by acid levels and not CO2 like normal.

Work rates and heart rates:
at the different levels above, which can be incorporated into training.

p1050483What will the analysis show?

  • 12 lead ECG (Resting and exertion)
  • Lung function: Spirometry and lung volume flow loops
  • Oxygen Consumption during exercise · VO2 max
  • Anaerobic Threshold (Lactate threshold)
  • Metabolism during exercise (Fat vs. carbohydrate burning)
  • Cardiac and respiratory function during exercise

So basically this test will enable me to see if my cardio vascular system is functioning correctly, under stress, rather than sat in a chair in the doctors office.

This I think is key, as we know it is only when something is pushed hard that the weaknesses appear. I am sure most cyclists will ride on a heart rate monitor, and we have all had those occasions when we check our data and find the HR has spiked and we have just passed it of a hardware malfunction. The question this will answer is which piece of hardware, the Garmin or my heart?

It’s also going to give me an accurate level at which my body starts to move from fat burning to carb burning.

This is essential for any of the long distance days in the mountains, where digging too deep, too early, is just going to get you in deep trouble. We all develop a feel for this, but it will be good to know for sure. Who knows I might not be pushing hard enough.

The flip side of this is that I can discover where my levels are right now and what specific training would produce a key advantage to the type of riding I do.

Education Evening, 24th January.

p1050488We recently ran an education evening at Canvas Cafe, inviting the local cycling clubs and some of the local runners. A local time trail rider kindly volunteered to be the subject for the evening.

He gained an insite in to his current training methods and how it was impacting on his performance, but also how he could amend this to get more from recovery. He plans to have the test done again in the race season to see how the changes have affected his figures and fine tune further training.

I have booked in for my test and once that’s done and the results are back I will pop some details on the blog, hopefully identifying some of the things we have discussed and not a “red card” dismissing me from sports all together 🙂

To be continued……….

How my test panned out.