Michael H
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2014: my year of years

Michael H
Posted by
20 Jan 2015

December 13th 2014 is the day I collided with a hit and run driver.

The accident could have completely overshadowed my year but it DOES NOT DEFINE MY YEAR because when I looked around the spinal injuries ward, I knew was there with patients in far worse condition than myself. And having been involved with Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research for two years, I know just how lucky I am.

No, I will define my momentous year with, one by one, all the wonderful things I have experienced and shared with my wonderful family and friends. I started the year with so many special days ahead: London | Paris, our 40th Wedding Anniversary, my daughter’s wedding, my wife’s 60th Birthday (ooooppps sorry Jane), my son buying his first house at 37 and finally moving out for good (Yeeeeesssss! I love him, but come on...) and Land’s End to John O’Groats. (Jane would put our 40th Anniversary first, but it’s for LLR so the wry smile will be worth it ;-))

So the story begins on my route to Paris, and how I got there from the fitness level I was at. The following words and photos will show you step by step how you can become Unstoppable! 

How to do it

Your bike

Make sure your bike fits you well, as that'll make sure you don't get aches and pains.  If London | Paris is your only target for 2015, a decent shop or kind friend who knows cycling can sort out the basics. If you want to take cycling up in a big way I would definitely have a proper bike fit. Mine was by Mike Smith at Velomotion in Newport Pagnell and it made a huge difference.

The miles

Firstly I read about multi-day riding, and found it was straight forward really. I thought about how long I had to train, what kit I needed, and read about how I should eat and drink. In the end it was so simple. All I did was work back from the set-off day and increase the miles SLOWLY each week, up to half the distance of the event (165 miles over 4 rides, two longer ones at the weekend), tapering off the week before the event. The result: I was fine and enjoyed every mile with a smile on my face!

Friends

It's important to ride with someone if it's possible. Find a local friendly club (though some can be elitist if you're starting from scratch!), or try your council or Sky Rides as an example. That way when the weathers not too warm, or you feel not 'on it' that day, they will be expecting you and guess what -- when you get out you will feel so good! Also, when you get that "my bum's aching" moment as I still do sometimes, a chat and a laugh sees you through.

Working together can achieve feats far out weighing what you thought was possible and the feeling you have sharing those moments will live with you forever. The pictures are from this year’s Land’s End to John O’Groats. When I started training I was 3 stone heavier and very unfit and I have achieved with support from family and friends new and old along with event support.

Food & drink

I drink half a mouthful every 4 miles. Hydration is key - trust me. Your own hydration needs might be slightly more or less than mine, but  make sure you drink regularly and don’t wait until you're parched -- it's too late. Food: around 70-90g of carbs (not calories) per hour. Look at the packet details. It's more than you think.

Chamoix cream

It is your friend. More is better. I put some on (though not too much) even for 30 mile rides, but with multi-day events, I put lots on and every day too. Trust me, ask event organisers what the most common injuries are. I am sure it will be sore bottoms!!!!!

Trust the team at LLR

They are there to make your ride memorable in every way, from Bekah McDonald, event organiser, who has supported and encouraged me since I became involved, to Benjamin Wright, ride captain, a fantastic lad who helps you all along the route where needed, with humor. You will see that this ride is better than the dream you imagined.

My year

In January, I started training. Friends will make the training fun, even when the weather's cold and wet. If you're feeling uptight with the pressures of life, and you start riding and there is no sound but your thoughts, something magic starts to happen. Not straight away, but it starts when you start to hear nature, a bird, a river, a friend's laughter and before you know it you’re getting fitter, thinner (over time!) and having fun.

April saw me and my daughter Laura at our St George's Day LLR fundraising event which raised £900. Having fun and raising money is the way forward. Asking for money in sponsorship is great, but after a couple of years your friends and neighbors will start getting giving fatigue, so it’s much better to sell tickets for an event where people get something for their donation, not just an “I did it, could I have the money please?”

Training can be fun especially when you enter an event or sportive, and here I am in a pre-event at the Milk Race 2014 in Nottingham in May. (And yes, that’s Steve Reynolds -- he gets everywhere I know :-D) It was exciting to ride the same course as the professionals. Mind you, it was glorious sunshine for them.

In June I cycled from London to Paris. Trust the team at LLR. They are there to make you ride memorable in every way, from Bekah McDonald, event organiser, who has supported and encouraged me since I became involved, to Benjamin Wright, ride captain, a fantastic lad who helps you all along the route where needed, with humour. You will see that this ride is better than the dream you imagined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget your loved ones whilst you’re out training. They are supporting you to succeed, so make them feel special. This is Jane and I in Rome on our 40th Wedding Anniversary in July. Jane has been a fantastic support to me and it was wonderful to get a chance to make her feel special.

After London to Paris, I went on to cycle Land's End to John O'Groats in September

While you're training hard, don’t forget to make new memories with loved ones and friends and sometimes, like this year, you'll find yourself blessed with a very special moment as I did; walking my beautiful daughter down the aisle with my grandson; magical. Life; enjoy it as it comes along and year by year special moments come along that transcend all things like your wedding, the birth of your children and their weddings, and the birth of grandchildren -- the greatest gift of all.

London | Paris is about riding with friends and making new ones. If anyone is alone, come and find me - Mick Hobster - and Team West Bridgford Cycle Club. We are friendly and will not bite! Feel part of something truly special just come and say HELLO - don’t be shy. If you’re lucky, you will make friends for life as I feel I have. 

You can join in as little or as much as you like. When I started training I was 3 stone heavier and very unfit, and I have achieved with support from family and friends new and old along with event support. YOU CAN DO IT TOO. If you dare to believe, you can do it. Pedal one revolution at a time and you will get there. And don’t forget you are special, not just for being you, but for all those you don’t know and will never know that will be better because of what you did.

Ride from London to Paris and be UNSTOPPABLE.

 

 

 

 

Comments

Anonymous
20.01.2015

Fabulous blog Mick - 'pedal one revolution at a time and you will get there' - I couldn't put it better myself! That and your comments about being part of something truly special, the support from LLR being second to none making new friends and having a fantastic time! Roll on September 17 2015. And I count you as a good friend and hope you do me! :)

21.01.2015

Michael what an absolutely extraordinary year you had in 2014! Your tips for London to Paris are really, really useful and the enthusiasm with which you write makes me want and believe that I can do it too despite my horrendous lungs. 

The charity are so lucky to have supporters like you and as a blood cancer survivor myself I cannot thank you enough for everything you've done and continue to to to help ensure that people like me are able to enjoy a second chance at life. Good on you!

Are you riding London to Paris again this year or have you set yourself a different challenge? I hope that you've recovered after your accident and wish you all the best in 2015 - together we will beat blood cancer!

21.01.2015

Michael,

A great post, really nice to hear how much you managed to pack into 2014 congratulations for so many achievments.  As a Scot, I am glad that you had a midge free time, they can be a true blight and you got to see a part of Britain many folk don't go so far north to see.  Hope you are doing well and wish you every succes in raising your team for the London Paris ride.  all the very best Sandy

Anonymous
22.01.2015

Hi Sandy,

Thank you for your comments they are appreciated.

Scotland yes what a fabulous place to ride a bike not to mention the wonderful people too always friendly and kind. The scenery was just exceptional as we rode up though Scotland and I had planned a weeks cycling back down the west coast afterwards but I was a little tired and just rode 60 odd miles from Unapool to Ullapool and to be honest thats the best scenery I've ever ridden through. Like cornwall by the sea and yet with mountains and virtually no cars or people.

Come and say hello on the L2P ride I would enjoy that and good look on the ride. Do the training and you will be fine and enjoy it.

Mick :-D

Anonymous
22.01.2015

Hi Sheila,
Thank you I enjoyed writing it and after your wonderful issue I thought I would keep to the hows and whats of the ride. I look forward to riding with you and seeing you soon and hope you will be fine and at the bike in September. Sheila I also count you as a true friend and always enjoy speaking either in person or on FB. Mick :-D

Anonymous
22.01.2015

Hi Andy,

I am so pleased you enjoyed my blog and felt it useful.

My club and I are entering a team of 20 + in the 2015 ride to Paris and if we or I can help you in any way it would be an honour. I dont know the condition of your lungs but you must have contacted someone for advice and they believe you can do it so the next step is SLOWLY SLOWLY; it really is as pushing too hard is bad for morale. You will as many do including myself over the years ended up with a cold and that sets you back.

Also don't worry about cycling in these cold and often dangerous months there are plenty of weeks to ride outdoors from March when its safer conditions on the road. If its good outside fine but don't take risks

Good luck on the ride to Paris.

Thank you for asking about my back. Its far from right but I feel I am blessed as it could have been far worse and apart from not having and injury at all its as good as it could be. I cant ride a bike for 13 weeks out doors but my progress is going well and they have allowed me to ride on the turbo for short bursts to start with of 15 minutes and slowly build it up.

Take care and come and see me at the start and also if you want to have a chat on FB if you need any help or morale boosting.

Mick :-D

26.01.2015

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog and feel motivated and inspired by your energy and enthusiasm! It sounds like you have had an intense but incredible year and are keeping the momentum going! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us and thank you so so much for all your support of LLR.

I was so sorry to hear you had been the victim of a hit and run, and I hope you are totally better again soon, and not affected by it.

All the very best for 2015 - here's to another great and special year :)

Anonymous
26.01.2015

Hi Victoria,

Thank you your comments mean a lot .

The Hit & Run well you literally have to get back up and get on with it there are too many things to do and see and as I said in my blog there are those with these terrible cancers who cannot at the minute or may never experience those thing.

I feel such a feeling of being happy in my own skin on the bike and this man will not stop me.

I have three big projects this year Lake gard to Rome in June, The Alps up all the big TDF climbs in September and then back three days and the one I love London to Paris on closed roads; it magical and I enjoy riding in the social group.

Are you on the ride this year/

Mick :-D

26.01.2015

Hi Mick

Wow you are going to be extremerly busy this year by the looks of it!! I'm not on the ride this year, no, but will be cheering you all on from HQ and who knows...maybe next year...!

All the very best, and keep up your wonderful positive spirit!

Victoria