My new career, driving HGV’s as an agency driver had me working Wednesday – Sunday nights with, 10-12 hour shifts being normal. This would mean that I would finish work on a Monday morning at about 6am go home, take my wife to work and look after my son. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday would be child care days and back to work at 6pm on a Wednesday night. My wife doesn’t drive so on my work days I would take her to work and my son to nursery, collecting them a few hours later, meaning I got about 5 hours sleep per day. Any spare time at weekends would be the only time we would have for family time. So as you can see riding my bike was pretty much out of the question! On my days off I was just trying to rest and recover from a very tough work/life balance. In the summer of 2013 my daughter came along, meaning that this lifestyle carried on.
I have no complaints about the above as it gave me more time with my children than a lot of working parents, which was the reason I made the career change. I do feel lucky to have spent this amount of time with my children whilst they were so small.
Even though I wasn’t riding my bike I did manage to keep the charity sportive going that I started with Paul Carvill and Steve Clark of Lincsquad in 2011, the Paul Kirk North Lincs Sportive. My love for organising events was growing at this stage although frustrating that I wasn’t able to ride myself. This frustration eventually led to me forming Sportive HQ, thinking that it would eventually give me more time to ride within my current lifestyle, thinking that the HGV driving would continue.
Sportive HQ was in full flow by July 2015 when I took up a contract with Rider HQ, the online entry company that Sportive HQ uses to process entries. This contract allowed me to do less hours driving HGV on night shifts and introduced me to some very influential people within the cycling industry, again increasing my involvement within the events industry but I was still driving HGV’s at weekends and looking after my daughter during the week, my son started school last year in September.
In January/February this year I was given a contract by Arete, Mark Cavendish’s agency, to act as Event Manager for his Sportive – the Rise Above Sportive. I now also work for Velo 29 Events helping with their Sportives and Race events and for Ride Timing, a chip timing company, so I am now very busy within the cycling industry. I also help many different individuals, clubs and charity organisations in producing charity events. This is all for my love of cycling events and encouraging cycling at a grass routes level.
At this point in life, I am finding the time to get out on my bike a little, about time I might add for someone so heavily involved within the cycling industry! It is really frustrating coming from a background of riding some very heavy endurance rides for charity, such as 400 miles in 5 days, 190 miles in 1 day, 90 mile commutes to work to find it challenging enough to manage a short sportive myself! Last year I did ‘Spadger’s Ride’ a short local charity event in memory of Lewis Barry. Tt was only 53 miles but I managed it!
I am now managing to get a couple of 10 mile rides in during the week and a longer ride on a Sunday. The Sunday ride is pretty much dependent on what time daybreak is as I have a personal limit of being home by 10am so we can have time together as a family, which with most families is very limited. This said some Sundays, I manage my bike ride come home and then go out for a family bike ride, my son at 4 can ride a bike without stabilisers!
I am being helped being helped by a couple of friends along the way, Adie Turford our event photographer who lives close to me and is my physical and at times virtual (Strava) training partner. Steve Clark from Off That Couch Fitness using his recipe book and inspiration and supplements and Jono Frary of Blizard Physiotherapy who using very scientific methods, is helping me with the correct placement of training zones, encouraging me to get my turbo trainer out again and do things properly!
The idea of the blog this year will be following my progress back to peak riding ability that I once had!