Returning to Racing

Cyclocross racing isn’t usually at the forefront of many women’s mind shortly after giving birth but it is something that I love and thoroughly enjoy, so it was fairly high up on my list of priorities. Well you know second to nurturing my child obviously.


I was keen to get back on my bike asap after giving birth well that was until the epidural wore off. Yes I had an epidural I had 36hours of labour and that epidural was almost as good as acutally giving birth to a baby. Once the poor anaesthetist has sited the damed thing (on the 7th attempt) the relief was overwhelming and after a cup of tea and a packet of chocolate fingers I was ready to push that baby out! Enough of birth stories no one wants the gorey details that I have banished to a far away dark box in my subconscious.


Chris and I arrived home with our perfect bundle and I set about working out how on earth I was going to get my fat, flabby post baby body into some sort of shape for racing a bike in Oh! about 4 months times.


Thankfully the breast feeding seemed to assist with the weight loss. I do not believe in diets, I think you should eat a healthy balanced diet with a little bit of what you fancy every now again. When you are breast feeding and up every 2 hours in the night you need a little bit of what ever you fancy pretty much every day to keep yourself sane and prevent terrible sleep deprivation/hunger rage. So I did not put myself on some sort of ridiculously strict diet no mega Kim Kardashian transformation here. The last consultant I worked for gave me some postnatal advice “it takes 9months to get your body into that mess for god’s sake give it at least 12months to get out of it”. There is far too much pressure on ladies to transform. I certainly felt that pressure and a great deal of it I am sure I put on myself. Every woman’s pregnancy and baby is different and we all need to do what we need to to get through!


The first few weeks after giving birth there was little physical activity. I managed a few pram walks round the village but I have to say I felt pretty exhausted. However I’m sure the fresh air did me good, and I have to say I did underestimate how much pain I would be in having pushed a baby out. Again I wont go into details but I took a lot of pain killers and I obviously complained an awful lot because as we all well know complaining in itself is excellent painrelief. About ten days after I rode my bike on the road. (I checked with the midwife that this would be allowed and she told me to go for it!) Chris watched sabi and I managed 45mins round the block on a beautiful sunny evening. I arrived home beaming from ear to ear but man I felt slow. I didn’t touch the bike again for another few days I felt like maybe I had overdone it and gone for a bit too much too soon. My core felt wobbly and I ached a great deal afterwards. So I returned to the turbo as this was less strenuous than the mega hills of the peaks that surround our house. Bit by bit I managed to push myself a little more and ride a little longer with each session. With sabine snoozing in her pushchair I could manage 40-60mins on the rollers, I think the noise would sooth her, maybe she was just used to it from so many sessions whilst she was in the womb. Gradually I began to feel like maybe I could ride out with some of the other local ladies (these ladies are all pretty fast!). About 8 weeks after giving birth I gave our local chaingang a go, I survived and it looked like my legs seemed to remember what to do!


This weekend marked the start of the cross season for me with a local NDCXL race at alfreton park. It was warm and dry (my least favourite conditions) give me knee deep mud and sleet any day. I was so nervous I could barely sleep the night before. I wanted to race but I know I’m not really race fit but why let that stop you I told myself. I spent hours deliberating silly thoughts such as people will ask why Chris (my much more talented husband) is standing holding a baby whilst his silly slow wife bimbles round. A few times I thought to myself I would just hide under the duvet and not go, make up some lame excuse. Then I realised that I am a mum now (cliché I know!) but I’ve got to set an example. I know Sabine hasn’t got a bloody clue whats going on but I promised myself I would l get back on that bike and repeating the mantra “no fucks given” I told myself to pull myself together and forget what people thought of me and race my bike. So I did, admittedly I missed my warm up as I was breast feeding instead but at least offloading some milk probably made me a bit lighter. So many of my friends had supported me getting back on my bike, Di and Nat have constantly encouraged me. So many of them have kept me company out on the road or in the garage on the turbo, I couldn’t let them down. I think I had used up all my energy being nervous and my legs did feel a bit blocked but I got round and I wasn’t last and now I’ve got something to improve on.


img_6385During my pregnancy I became so aware of the negative comments people make surrounding starting a family. So many “no more sleep for you”, “no more fun”, “no more mad nights out”, “no more bike racing”. It often seemed a bit doom and gloom. Now don’t get me wrong it ain’t bloody easy but come on! having a baby is brilliant. There is nothing like it, if like me you weren’t that keen on the idea of having a family. I can tell you its so bloody worth it – now I won’t bore you with mushy details but bottom line – babies and children are brilliant! and when they are small they are portable you can just shove em in the pram or carrier and away you go (admittedly with a large back of spare outfits and nappies! I’ve dragged Sabi on 3 holidays already). Anyway back to my point the more people told me I wouldn’t be able to ride/race my bike the more determined I became to do just that.Chris and I worked out a bit of plan. Chris and I take it in turns to ride out and I sneak on the rollers/turbo when Sabi is snoozing. It seems to work for us and gradually I can feel my legs improving. People have been asking me if I get tired, of course I am knackered I haven’t had a full nights sleep in 4 months but I am less knackered than when I was working. The emotional and physical stress I put my body under as a junior doctor in paediatrics was unprecedented and it was has been a huge relief to decompress and enjoy some time at home with my baby (although I am looking forward to returning to work, I am a glutton for punishment). The past year has been the toughest of my career – working in paediatric oncology dealing with extremely unwell and sometimes dying children, seeing the devastating toll a cancer diagnosis has on families, as well as being permanently short staffed and the axe of the new junior doctors contract hanging over my head – riding a bike and nurturing a baby at home has been a delight and now the cyclocross season has started things could not be better (well they could I could obviously be fitter and stronger but lets not dwell too much on that, and of course Jeremy Hunt could resign but again I’m not dwelling on that either).



Exercising in Pregnancy

There has been a recent article by the BBC on exercising in pregnancy – so I thought I would share my personal experience, having given birth 3 weeks ago.



Pregnancy is different for every woman and therefore everyone’s activity levels should be tailored personally to them. I feel that the age old advice of siting on the sofa with your feed up for 9 months (albeit very tempting) is the wrong advice and is somewhat out dated. We know that if you are used to exercising there is no reason not to continue this through your pregnancy. If professional athletes can keep up their rigorous training without too much bother, then the rest of us can surely keep up a bit of running, swimming, zumba, cycling, yoga or whatever else you enjoy. Labour is a physically demanding feat of endurance (mine was 36hours long!!) as is caring for a newborn baby and lugging a gravid uterus and fetus around for months on end. So why not keep yourself in as good a physical condition as possible?


I discovered I was pregnant at the start of my cross season. It came as a bit of a shock. I was overhelmed with mixed emotions – mainly fear. I’m a paediatric doctor,. I am very aware that a child is a gift not a right. As my husband quite rightly pointed out there is never a good time to have a child, you will never feel like you have enough time or money, you’ve just got to get on with it. And I suppose it is with that attitude that I tackled my pregnancy. I had worked hard to be fit for the cross season and I was determined to get some racing under my belt before a bump appeared. I’m sure some of what I did during my pregnancy wouldn’t come highly recommended in the current medical advice. I however discussed with my midwife at my first appointment my intentions to stay as active and as fit as possible. She was overhelming in her enthusisasm. She felt that if I was used to exercising and pushing myself there was no reason to stop during my pregnancy all she advised is that “I listened to my body, did not overheat and remained well hydrated.” All good advice. So with her blessing I raced my bike and carried on training as usual for the first trimester. I say as usual I have clearly already forgotten how sick and bloody knackered I felt. The first trimester (for me) was definitely the worst. I was working long hours and night shifts at work and racing at weekends. I realised it was important not to get run down. I ate what a wanted when I wanted and I rested as I needed. So perhaps not training as usual perhaps training at 75%. But I found it helped. Certainly getting out in the fresh air on my bike or for a steady run definitely eased the nausea dn lifted my spirits when I felt shattered. I was at the time working in paediatric oncology during which I carried a huge emotional burden, the physical activitiy saved my mental health I’m sure of it.


As my pregnancy progressed I had to somewhat adjust things. The front of the bike was raised to accommodate the bump and I took up swimming in my second trimester. I am not a swimmer, I had some vague lessonas at school and that is about it. I had no idea how comeptative a public swim session could be at our local pool or how much equipment people take just to swim up and down in a lane. Once I had managed to settle in with a friendly bunch of swimmers and with a few helpful tips from best mate and team mate Diane Lee (who is a super duper pro triathlete and expert swimming instructor) I was soon bashing out 80-100 lengths of front crawl in the early mornings. I wasn’t fast but it was enough to get my heart rate up and it helped with some minor backache I had been getting from spending 13hours on my feet at work. I ran a bit during the first trimester but as I developed more of a bump I struggled with running. I think if you are a keen and dedicated runner your body probably copes with the bump and extra weight better. I am used to sitting on a bike saddle so I didn’t find it that comfortable and instead replaced with running with long hilly dog walks.


As the second trimester progressed I found cycling out on the road more uncomfortable. I needed a lot of wee stops and as it was winter the weather was bloody awful. I switched to the rollers and then the turbo trainer as the bump progressed. I missed being out in the fresh air and so I walked and walked with the dogs. During my second trimester we also went skiing for a week. I’m a fairly confident skier and there was no way I wanted to miss out so I skied with everyone else just slightly slower and perhaps more cautiously that I would do normally and had a fabulous time. I have to say the après ski was slightly marred by a lack of jaeger bombs, but the good company made up for it.


During my third trimester I needed to sit an important professional exam. It was n’t something I was planning to do this year but as I found myself pregnant it made sense to try and pass it before the rollercoaster that is parenthood began. I therefore took things a lot easier and spent my spare time revising. With the exam under my belt and maternity leave approaching I was able to really enjoy making the most of my time. I swam more than I cycled but I still tried to do two good sessions on the turbo each week. Theses were focused on sub threshold efforts and strength work (hard gear low rpm).


With my due date approaching I spent that last week relaxing and putting my feet up. Sabi arrived the day before she was due. Labour was a lengthy process but the act of actually pushing her out was relatively straight forward. We went home the next day and have been gradually finding out feet. I gained weight during my pregnancy I was 58Kg pre pregnancy and weighed 71Kg at the end. Three weeks later I weigh 61kg. I am a bit squashier round the edges than I was before but otherwise I seem almost back to my normal self. I have been lucky to be able to breast feed and that has definitely helped.


On reflection I was very lucky during my pregnancy, yes there were days when I ddin’t want to venture out from under the duvet and so I didn’t. If that was what my body was telling me to do I tried to listen to it (even though I found that quite hard). Yes there were tears when I wanted to be out on my bike and I couldn’t be. I know not every woman will feel up to doing lots of exercise, but what I want to demonstrate is that if you do feel up to it, do it, get out there, get the blood flowing, get a bit of a sweat on. You will feel better, you and your baby will be healthier for it. In the UK half of women over 35 are classified obese, a lot of these women felt they gained the extra weight during pregnancy. We need to be sending out a message that the activities you enjoy need not stop. And for God’s sake don’t forget to do your pelvic floor exercises.

Can I hibernate now?

2012-british-nationals-ipswich-33-p-sneddonAnother 4 month medical rotation has come to an end. Just as I am adjusting to a noctural way of life and 70 hour weeks, I have been thrown into my new job – General practice. I am ready to hibernate.I feel like I haven’t had chance to catch my breath for the past 4 months but I am actually going to really miss A&E. I loved the staff, the fast pace and variety. I enjoyed whinging about all the shitty situations we had to deal with because deep down they made me piss my self laughing (when the patients werent looking). I mean how else do you cope with an irate patient swearing at you with a deoderant can shoved up his arse (I probably should add he wasn’t swearing at me because I put it there). The incredulous story that accompanied this presentation had me struggling to portray my ever professional exterior. In the end, of course we sorted him out and packed him off to the surgeons to have it removed (not without the entire department having a good look at the xray). I’ve learnt a great deal in A&E not, just about medicine, I mean thats the boring bit but mainly about confilt resolution, drugs, sex and certain echelons of society. I have also learnt that I bloody love old people. I hated my health care of the eldery job – I dont love crumbly old zombie pensioners. I love old people in A&E because they always come in following an accident and they have often been attempting to do something they shouldnt at that age. For instance climbing trees to trim over hanging branches, salsa dancing, drinking too much alcohol and falling over. These are proper old people and it gave me no end of satisfaction to fix them up and send them home.

I have done 1.5days in GP and I can tell you its not been good. Some of you will know that “cock of the moment/year/lifetime” chris whom I now live with is a GP. I am not allowed to see any patients yet. I have to pass a 2 week induction process before I am allowed near a patient. I have spent the last day and a half learning how the fire alarm works, learning how to take blood (I’ve only been doing it 5 years), watching nurse receptionists code patients and I have endured a 30 minute lecture on how the air conditioning working in each room. Im pretty much ready to commit suicide. Bring back working every weekend – I cant take the boredom. To make matters worse my placement is 40miles from my home. Today I will have driven 80miles and achieved nothing (I wouldn’t mind if I could have cycled it). I haven’t even met the other GPs yet. I have met my mentor GP and he seems lovely. I have to sit in and watch him work until they feel I am confident enough to see patients on my own. I sat in with him yesterday and I was reminded of the absolute drudge people come to the GPs with. I do believe that the general public are now devoid of all basic common sense and medical knowledge. I still do not understand how after all these years people still think they need antibiotics for a cold. I am also amazed that people will seek medical advice after having the slightest twinge of pain for less than 24hours surely you give it a few days see if it settles, try taking some painkillers for fucks sake! (yes I’m an unsympathetic twat – I like to save my sympathy for when it’s really needed).

Being a doctor is all about being a good actor and nothing about knowing loads of stuff. I me an thats what google was invented for. Obviously we are all “thirsty for knowledge” and we like to learn snippets to allow ourselves to look bright infront of our colleagues. But the main bread and butter of being a doctor is to listen carefully to what the patient is saying – decide if its a serious problem or not and then portay a calm and caring exterior without shouting “are you fucking kidding me?! this is fucking ridiculous!” or in the acute setting still portray a calm and caring exterior without shouting “holy fuck this guy looks like shit. please dont fucking die on me!” Thankfully I have passed my advanced life support course so this skill in the acute setting has been extensively tested. In the GP setting not so much, but I’ve got 4 months to practise.

The one good thing about this change of jobs is the hours – I have reduced from 70hours to 40. Unfortunately this does mean my pay gets cut in half. Already I have noticed a change, sleeping at night rather than in the day has boosted my energy levels and my legs feel much better from sitting down all day rather than running around (no wonder chris is so bloody fast). I am struggling with the choosing of what to wear in the morning – no more green pyjama uniforms. It should mean I can do a bit more cycling and racing. Hopefully I can do enough training to not completely embarrass myself at the national champs in january. Luckily the Mule Bar girls have been extremely supportive and forgiving of my lack of effort over the past 4months. I have tried to race even after working all night and 1.5hours of sleep. I can assure you this did nothing to improve my performance, it was like pedalling through treacle and my reactions were so slow I feel off numerous times. I was just becoming so frustrated about missing races. Training has becoming increasingly difficult. There becomes so much pressure on my one day off per week that I would try to fit in as much riding as possible and then rest days would be 12hour shift days when training would just not fit in. It is not long before you start to feel pretty run down. Thats why I chose a bike free holiday and when and played in water parks in Dubai.

Many people have made comments along the lines off – if its so hard do something else, if it makes you miserable blah blah. Medicine is meant to be hard just like cycling. The training is hard and its tiring and it can reduce you to tears – after a 12hour day in the dark and pissing rain trying to use your ID card to swipe into your own house because your brain can’t comprehend that you need to use a key! but when things come together it is worth it. Plus I don’t actually have any other career options, from age 6 when I spent my spare time dressed in a back to front dressing gown operating on teddy bears its been my only career choice. That is of course unless anyone wants to pay me an extortionate amount to be a general party girl about town…..?

A&E – accident and emergency NOT anything and everything

It has come around to that time again when I feel the need to blog – so very self indulgent. I have started my new job in emergency medicine in a new hospital. I don’t think I have ever felt so out of my depth. When I first started as a doctor it didn’t seem to matter if I didn’t know what I was doing. I could always use the excuse of just getting started. Now I have moved up the ranks the pressure is on to perform and I have the new power to send people home. This has caused no end of anxiety as I assumed all the nondescript mild tummy aches I casually reassured and discharged would return the next day with rip roaring appendicitis or even worse dead! This so far hasn’t happened. I’m sure at some point it will. i’m slowly getting to grips with the fact medicine is a fluid being and we cannot be right all of the time no matter how angry that makes the general public. 

Anyway my worries and anxieties are boring. What is far more exciting are the patients. I work in a fairly deprived area. We see a huge amount of drink and drug related problems every day of the week. Friday and saturday nights are no longer the busiest nights of the week – every night is busy. We have patients queuing out into the car park most evenings. They are nearly always angry about waiting. There is usually a domestic argument in the waiting room which ends up with husband or wife beating the other up. The police are always there and we have a fantastic drinks cupboard stocked with all the special brew and cider a human could consume confiscated from intoxicated patients. I’ve been sworn at hundreds of times this month, spat at, threatened and seen a drunk woman pissing on the floor because she was angry. Also the smell! this is something I am struggling to come to terms with, how badly people smell. I have to keep alternating cubicles and the smell lingers. I can still smell it at home. Its a strong musk – a mixture of fragrances from alcohol, fags, stale urine, BO, dogs and general dirt. It is a stench and these people are oblivious to it. Its not just your common garden alcoholic that smells – LOADS of the patients smell. I need a nose peg. 

The drunken young girls that come in unconscious, vomit stained and make up smeared make me laugh. THe doctors often argue with the nurses whether or not to give them IV fluids which will reduce their hangover (so they wont suffer) but it does mean we can get them turfed out quicker. I wish I could take a photo of them like you get at alton tower on a hospital trolley with the caption – LOOK what a discussing mess you’ve got yourself in!! try eating before you go out. Mind you most of them look like they’ve eaten a whole other person I think we have some sort of record of having the fattest people in the midlands. You try putting a 25stone vomit stained girl in the recovery position. i could barely lift on bingo wing. And its not just the young girls these days I see plenty of 50y old birds who get sloshed on red wine fall over and knock themselves out. Jelly spining about the department with pickle stick eyes and designer handbags.

Trying to explain to patients that we are an emergency department designed to give life saving treatments not a hotel for drunks or a cure all service for people with toe pain for the past 4 months or a bruise on their left shin or a place to come when you’ve lost your house keys is like trying to count grains of sand. Honestly the things I see are absolutely ridiculous and whats more disappointing is that in my first month I haven’t had any patients with any objects stuck up their arses! I have seen the odd 50 shades of grey injury though🙂.  On the other hand we do get to see people on the brink of death and the guys I work with do an amazing job of stabilising these patients. And I do love all of the nurses – there is nothing they haven’t seen, their stories are amazing and their black sense of humour is hilarious. 

I’m pretty good at hiding my emotions at work. I can usually cover up how terrified or sick I feel. If things seem to be getting a little out of control and I can usually put up a calm front. However during long relentless shifts it is now becoming apparent I cannot cover up how irritated I feel by some of the patients. A recent example was of a young patient who had downed 4litres of neat vodka for a bet and come in with tummy ache and burning in his chest. He had alcohol gastritis. He explained to me he was homeless and hadn’t eaten for days – despite throwing up a large amount of food. When i asked him where he got the money to buy the vodka, drugs and viagra he was taking he explained he”did a lot of robbing”. He had a child. I asked him how long he wanted to live for and what age he thought he would die. He said about 60. I explained he would be lucky to see 30 carrying on the way he was. I gave him some tablets to improve his stomach and tried to arrange a place for him to go and stay. As thanks for this he took all of the tablets I gave him in one go and returned as an overdose the next day. Thankfully the worst effect they could have given him was a bit of diarrhoea.

We see a huge amount of ODs and deliberate self harm. I do feel for the patients. They lack the coping mechanisms many of us take for granted. Most of the time its a drunken argument – an impulsive shit vengeance filled decision. At first I really felt for these patients but when you see the same faces week in week out you become on autopilot. The people I really do feel sorry for is their children. 

I have spent every weekend in august in the emergency department (thats what we call it nowadays – no more accidents). I think its to discourage people from turning up if they’ve had a minor accident as you should go to a minor injuries unit where you wont have to wait 3hours to be seen. No one knows that of course. I have also spent just about every week day there aswell. I work a roughly 70 hour week be that days or nights or evenings and then every once in a while i get an easier week so that my hours conform to the 48h rule. Doctors are deemed to tired and unsafe if we work more than an average 48h week. I know this because I struggle to drive to and from work without my eyes closing. I recently found a doctor asleep in one of the cubicles – he nodded off doing some paperwork. 

Working this much teaches you a great deal about yourself. I enjoy the work when I’m there and Im sure i would consider a career in emergency medicine if I didn’t have to work such crazy hours. I have tried to find some of the positives in what I have learnt. I now know I could probably do a 12h solo riding event albeit slowly but I now have confidence in my ability to stand for 12 hours and run around and still have the energy to perform CPR at the end. I now if I go more than 6 hours without eating I start to slur my words and the patients think im drunk (more drunk than them). I know now how to treat most cycling related injuries – I think ive seen them all and I feel confident I could suture myself back together without local anaesthetic just to avoid ever being a patient myself in the emergency department. I love using glue to close wounds and I love seeing elderly people who have had a fall and putting them back together. I had one amazing old boy who tripped (too much red wine) and scalped himself on a door frame. I huge piece of skin was lifted off his with an ever expanding haematoma underneath. I dont think ive ever seen a wound bleed so much. I was told to just get on and sort him out. a nurse and I frantically cleaned him up so we could just work out what was going on with he wound. The skin was clean off his head in a big flap. I ran my gloved finger underneath to check his skull felt intact. I wanted to suture it all back together in a neat way but there was too much bleeding. My collegue one of the senior doctos explained we should just staple it. I frantically stapled this poor old chap back together whilst he told me all about his exploits in the war. It wasnt a pretty job but the bleeding stopped. I saw him week later for a staples to be removed and he looked good as new. 

In the mean time I have tried to prepare for the cx season. I did a bit of mountain biking in italy with chris. We got lost on the 4th day I crashed had a tantrum because we’d ridden 4.5hours without a stop and retired to the sun lounger for the last 2 days. I’ve ordered some new cx bikes. The joy of working all the time is that i haven’t spent any of my wages so I thought i would treat myself to something I will hardly use. If you see a tired lost looking very pale mule bar girl at a national trophy – it will be me – give me a push or some encouragement I’m going to need it. 

And people think before you take all those neurofen and rennies in a drunken rage – hopefully they wont kill you but they will end up causing us a lot of work and you will feel very silly in the morning!

The floods of summer – tears and rain.

It has been a long time since I blogged. I think partly this is due to having a pretty tough summer so far and I have struggled to get the words out. There have been rivers of tears, frustrations and sometimes a little bit of fun (mainly induced by one J hand and one lawrence, he likes to be known as troy pussypounder in the blog).

I am coming to the end of my first year of being a doctor. These last few months have been pretty grim. I have had to kiss good bye to most of my dreams of road racing this summer as work, on calls, crashes etc have just taken over. I have still been training as much as I can without burning myself out (a tricky balance I have yet to master) and my last power test showed a 17watt increase in threshold power over 2 months. Im pretty pleased with that. Naturally being the person I am it isn’t really good enough I would have liked 20. Team Mule Bar Girls have been amazing supporting me and not pressuring me to race and not being angry when I’ve had to go into the hospital to work a 13h shift instead of going to a team series race. 

my final job as an F1 doctor has been in health care of elderly. This has proved to be a lonely job. I seem to shoulder more responsibility as there is little to no senior cover. I spend a  great deal of my team discussing end of life decisions with distraught relatives and this has taken it’s toll on me emotionally. I have also had to deal with the ever frustrating hospital politics involving bed pressures and outliers. Each day is a constant battle with managers (not doctors not nurses no medical training no fucking idea!) who need us to discharge patients and make room for the over flowing in flux of patients we have every day. They are people who crunch numbers and I feel more often than not the idea that the patient is a human, someone’s relative gets lost. It my job to make sure its not lost on me. So I spend my days sticking up for the old biddies who don’t known where they are, who they are and what they are doing. Dementia is a terrible thing. Perhaps the most frightening part of it is when we have patients in the early stages of the disease. You can tell that they know what is happening and the anxiety they show as their brain function slips aware is heartbreaking. And something there is very little we can do about. 

The hospital is in a constant state of crisis. We as a nation cannot cope with the health of our general public. I flew to mallorca for a few days sunny training and in the airport as I waited to board the plane I realised that my friends and I were the only thin people there. I keep wondering what the fuck do these people eat and how the hell do they not realise how big they are? I do my on calls in the medical assessment unit which is full of overweight over indulged fatties with chest pain. After a run of shifts compassion fatigue steps in, there is no hope. It has become acceptable to be fat, it is the normal. I cant be bothered to list all the things you will die from if you are fat its too bloody long. I spend a lot of time pondering the psychology of it all. Have we lost the appreciation of the beauty of the human form. If the fat on the back of your arms is over hanging your elbow and your knees aren’t visible put the can of coke down. If not for your own sake or your children’s sake how about for the doctor’s sake we work hard enough as it is. I see women of 48-55yrs old with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver, gout. Their bodies are ruined. I hope when I’m that age I want to be fit, lean athletic. Running about with my children. These women will be lucky to see their children get married, but its like they don’t believe that that will happen, not to them anyway. PLus its still a bit taboo to comment on people’s weight even as a doctor. Often the indian doctors do it best – my favourite example “you’re too bloody fat you look pregnant sort this out or you’ll die young”. Perhaps not the best way to communicate to the patients. 

Anyway I will stop rambling on about my fattist tendancies. Bike racing. My reason to not be fat. I raced mountain mayhem that I did manage to do. My nighttime lap took 2 hours in the pitch black and knee deep mud, mentally probably the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do. My team were marvellous and we pushed on through the conditions and secured 6th or 7th place I cant remember. We were well prepared at mayhem we have 2 jet washes working overtime and I ran very narrow tyres to reduce clogging. 

Having pretty much written off the road season, I am now looking to the cross season. Proper racing. I’ve ordered some new bikes. I don’t get to do much else with my pennies so I figured I might as well blow the lot. For my first job as an f2 doctor I will be working in A&E many of you will have a better idea of what this involves. However many people won’t understand the hours we put in. My new rota shows 7-8days straight at work with 2 days off. Mainly 70 hour weeks with the odd easy week to conform to the 48h working week average junior doctors should work legally. Some of these shifts involve the dreaded 5pm to 5am shifts!! and I get roughly 1 weekend off a month, with a couple of extra ones thrown in for annual leave. So basically my cross season will start in decemeber😦 On those weekends I do get off I intent to race and do my best. But At the back of my mind I cant forget the kind of exhaustion you pick up doing 12 hour shifts on your feet through the night, day in day out. All going to plan you will see a tired pale looking version of me at some of the national trophies. 

To aid in me in working and training, I have moved in with cock of the moment. I will have to give him a more permanent title eventually. He has been looking after and helps me no end with my riding and my work. He was once a junior doctor to. Although i regularly scream at him “you don’t know what its like you don’t understand” deep down he does and i know he does. Which why tea is so often on the table when I get home. And he doesn’t want to risk the wrath of someone who suffers with appalling hunger rage. 

I wish I could write about lots of hilarious things that have happened and witty anecdotes but at the moment I feel weighed down. Sometimes you shoulder a lot of sadness at work and its difficult not to bring that home with you. Hopefully when I start in A&E and the drunks, trauma and sex related injuries roll in I an give you the lighter side of medicine. 

PS we have got a new addition, pedro the springer spaniel. He has ignited a passion (passion in the wrong word a liking would be better) for running in the woods which I hope will help with cross. And he is very good at helping me relax.ImageImageImageImage

long time no blog!

I haven’t blogged for a while! I have had to keep my head down since BCgate! I fled the country for a week of snow, cheese and jaegerbombs. Aw it was such a perfect week only slightly blighted by J hand breaking his collar bone in some sort of furious bedroom antics with lawrence frost – I mean he told us he broke it skiing but he definitely can’t ski fast enough to sustain an injury.

I have been continuing my work as a junior doctor in paediatrics. Still playing the guess if Dad is the real dad game, it still provides hours of entertainment. I do enjoy paediatrics. I like the children they can’t pretend to be unwell like adults and they complain far less. Sure they do occasionally shit and vomit on me but on the whole they are far superior to adult patients. In april I move on to health care of the elderly, this is a specialty my housemate is currently working in. As much as it amuses me to hear her tales of the demented elderly running riot in the hospital I’m not sure I’m ready for it.

I have been riding my bike most days and i’m starting to try and convert my cyclocross legs into road racing legs. I was chatting to a few friends about how they have found starting work and there seems to be an on going theme! everyone is tired! I thought  i felt tired most of the time because of riding my bike. It would appear working in a stressful environmnet for reasonably long hours takes some getting used to. I noticed this last night. I had had a particularly fraught day at work. A patient had died under tragic circumstances, I was not involved but the mood had changed throughout the department. It was busy and I was feeling overwhelmed with jobs. I finished, ate and went out on my bike. Despite my best intentions to thrash my legs, they just wouldn’t work. I ended up plodding round listening to my ipod and going over and over various issues from my day at work. It dawned on me that when you are mentally and emotionally exhausted it is veryhard to perform physically. This got me thinking about tiredness. I know many patients and friends who have felt tired, too tired to ride, too tired to work. This feeling has taken over. I was recently asked for some advice about feeling overtired. I thought I would put it in a blog and see what others thought about it. So if anyone is feeling a little jaded and worn out it might be worth a read.

Tiredness is like pain it is a very personal symptoms and not something easily described to other people. It can often feel very frustrating trying to explain how you feel. It can also be extremely difficult explaining that kind of fatigue to someone who doesnt exercise or understand the feelings that exercise gives to you. The symptoms people describe are commonly felt when pateints have perhaps had a viral illness or a particularly stressful time that has then hightened their awareness of pain, illness and fatigue. Sometime even a low mood can do this. Often in these situations something happens which means you become more aware of how tired you feel, such as a viral illness that really knocks you off your feet. This causes you to worry about your levels of fatigue which in turn again increases your awareness – it becomes a vicious cycle. Before you know it you are worried about doing activities which might make you tired and because you think you might feel tired then you are tired.  Often themore you rest the worse you feel. It is sometimes recommended to gradually increase the level of activity after a period of recuperation.  It is important to try to differentiate between tiredness that you can push through and ignore and fatigue that requires rest.

 Anyway as I’m a junior doctor I am not allowed to feel tired! if you even mention the  word tired in the hospital some crusty old consultant starts harping on “we used to work 72hour shifts! a 72 hour week would have been a luxury!” Sometimes I feel like turning round and saying “shut it old man! the reason they changed it is because you killed loads of patients, you don’t know your children’s names and you’ve been divorced 3 times!” Naturally I laugh and smile and acknowledge how luck I am!! HAHA the sarcasm!
I would also like you all to know that I have been a doctor for over 7 months and I haven’t even smelt the faintest whiff of a sordid affair! non of my colleagues have run off with their consultants and I haven’t cause anyone shagging a nurse in a store cupboard. Honestly my job is absolutely nothing like ER, and I’m pretty sure I only became a doctor for all the hours of ER I watched as a child. This is  a bitter disappointment. It is also nothing like house! I had a patient recently and I was so excited that I thought I had managed to diagnose something weird and wonderful. The first test I did hinted at the diagnosis so I sent the send test that should confirm it. Each day I checked for the results before impatience got the better of me! I phoned the lab – the result will take 30days! I will be on a different job by then, no high drama house moment for me😦 All in all this doctor business has not delivered, however I have no other career prospects so I’ll continue checking in the store cupboards and eyeing up the consultants.
PS if you haven’t seen it yet check out the rapha website! – I’m famous

Ramblings!! BEWARE! BC ARE EVERYWHERE! (ps please don’t sue me)

Some of you reading this may or may not know about my run in with British Cycling. BC are very frequently criticised like most things these days I suppose, we do live in a very critical society and I love to criticise.  So I was lying in bed last night dreaming of Liam Killeen’s chassis and reading my twitter feed when I noticed that BC have decided to restrict some races from 4th cat riders.  I am a 4th Cat road rider.  I’m a 4th Cat for a number of reasons: I started road racing last summer, fairly casually. I presumed it would be more important to get some good experience on the road than chasing points to work up the cat system. It seemed unimportant last season when I could enter the races that I wanted. I live in the East Midlands there is virtually no women’s road racing here. This was a little tricky. Unsure of how to get into road racing (having very easily ridden a full season of cross- racing locally every weekend) I considered my options.

1. Go to london and ride some of the crits down there – quite a lot of faff considering there was a risk I could be dropped within the first 5 mins.

2. Enter a more local but much more hard core open road race for women involving E1234 rides.

3. Enter a local 4th Cat mens race.

I chose 3. Sheffrec put on a mens race on an open road triangle circuit just up the road from my parents. It’s an evening race. I emailed them to see if they would mind me having a go and they were more than happy.  I turned up I rode my heart out, I was dropped I spent a lot of time out on my own and I worked with a dropped group of male riders. I lasted the full 2 hours and finished. I even won a combativity prize for trying so hard. It was a great experience everyone was really encouraging. So I rode a few more mens races and a couple of crits in london. Not enough women’s only races to get me my cat 3. Did this concern me? No. I had worked hard enough to be able to ride with Mule Bar Girls. I was confident in handling my bike, I can sprint out of corners with the men. Road racing – easier than my cross season🙂

So I was a little upset when I realised my season was going to be limited. Living in the east midlands is a disadvantage we only have 2 women’s only road races between feb and june. So I had a little rant on twitter about the things that piss me off about BC. Firstly I have to pay the same licence fee as the men despite there not being anywhere near the same amount of opportunities to race and secondly this announcement that they were limiting these races but no explanation of what us lowly new to road racing bike riders would get in return. I work as a doctor, I’m fairly used to giving bad news and I know that it is always helpful to follow it with some sort of positive. And thirdly they seem intent on promoting women only rides and sportives but the racing seems to get pushed to one side. So I rant on twitter and head off to sleep.

UP at 6am and off to the hospital to cure the poorly children. I’m just about to start the ward round when my phone rings. VOICEMAIL – “This is Jenny from BC calling to discuss your comments on twitter and let you know what BC are doing to improve women’s racing!” Off to the naughty step I go. Bloody hell Ive complained about BC loads they’ve never called me before.  I was a little anxious BC did not seem very happy but I was kind of impressed they had bothered to call. I’m a customer of BC I pay the membership and race licence fee, they must be calling to listen to my feedback and see how they can help improve my BC experience. Unfortunately that was not really the response I got. I spoke to Jenny Gretton who does seem to be working hard to improve women’s road racing and has been involved in establishing the team series events but clearly did not appreciate my comments. I was met with a defensive bombardment of information about all the things they were doing to help women’s cycling. I will summarise the conversation as it went on for some time.

4th cats cannot ride the national series races for 2 reasons. 1 safety – these races are not for inexperienced riders and last season there were loads of crashes. There were 7 4th cats in the Cheshire classic RR – “none of them finished in the top 20”. (I’m not sure what the point of that comment was – I didn’t finish in the top 20 at the CX national champs but I hope they let me ride it next year) I wasn’t at the Cheshire classic RR so I don’t know how those 7 4th cat riders feel about this and I wouldn’t like to speculate. The other reason for not allowing 4th cats is that it then raises the profile of these races and gives women something to aim for! (make of that what you will) and will make the women’s cat system more valid.

In return for having your already limited race calendar reduced BC will be putting on more road racing opportunities for the inexperienced rider, but these haven’t been confirmed on the calendar yet and more information about this will be put out in a press release some time soon. None of these extra opportunities are in my area they will still involve going to london or the north-west.

I did question why it was so difficult to put on women’s racing and intro to racing sessions, the answer to this was that BC relies on volunteers to put these things on and so if the volunteers aren’t willing to do it, these events won’t happen. Which I feel is precisely why we should be so impressed by the London women’s cycle league who do a huge amount for women’s cycling down in london. I did ask if there was any incentive or could there be any incentive to encourage clubs to hold road racing skills sessions or women’s road racing (no real solution for this).

I do feel it is a bit of shame that BC have yet again struggled to portray women’s racing in a positive light, by announcing this restriction with no positive spin on it whatsoever and making out 4th cat riders cause loads of crashes. Look at the tour de france those lot crash all over the place. I hope they can turn this arround and I look forward to reading the press release and attending some of these new opportunities.

I do feel very strongly about the women’s road racing as I think it is such a shame that it doesn’t live up to the CX and mtb side of things. During the CX season I can race locally every weekend sometimes twice a weekend. I can turn up and ride a national trophy and I can line up against some of the best CX riders in the world at our national champs.  You only have to look at this years start sheet to see how fast women’s cycling is growing. I think we must have had approximately double the entrants. At our local NDCXL races we have had up to 22 women racing. what do these women do in the summer – would any of them fancy road racing? If you can bust your gut for an hour on a cross bike and handle the slippery conditions, road racing is not that daunting.

Improving safety in road racing is clearly very important and it is also clear that it is not just a problem in women’s cycling. It will be interesting to see if cutting 7 4th cat riders from a race means no crashes. I hope there are no crashes – doctors do not need the extra work. I feel a better way to do it would be to improve rider education. If you are a 4th cat why not send them a road racing handbook detailing the skills you might need should you want to enter a road race.  For example, cornering and descending at speed, group riding, holding a wheel, cornering in a bunch. You could even suggest ways to get these skills – join your local bike club, ride the group rides, ride the chaingang, come to one of our road racing skills session, etc etc. Perhaps you could even offer an incentive to cycling clubs who encourage and bring on female road racers. There will always be someone who panics slams the breaks on and takes a few people out every now and again.

I do however appreciate that sitting at my laptop and suggesting these things is easier said than done and I’m sure things are greatly improved. I have been told by BC should anyone ask me about the 4th cat restrictions to tell you all that there will be other racing opportunities that will be announced at some point!

I would also suggest that if you enjoy a quiet life, do not complain openly on twitter as you will receive a number of phone calls and text messages informing you quite why your opinions are wrong.

I would love nothing more than to see some evening circuit races and road racing skills sessions for ladies just like they have in london and the north west all over the UK. I would love to be able to see more and more women able to road race, so many women that we could have separate 3rd and 4th cat races. And that way being introduced to cycling, riding a few sportives, having a go at your first road race, becoming a regular on the circuit – is a natural progression.


Next week more rants about life in the hospital!!


IT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN RELEASED! – random rants from a sleep deprived doctor attempting a national trophy CX race

This is the blog I thought I shouldn’t really publish, but I wrote it, it seems a shame to go to waste. I’ve censored it a little. It’s from the past so it may seem a bit random. 

POSTED IN RETROSPECT some time in November.

This weekend I thought I would have a go at my first national trophy cx race! It’s quite a big deal to a chopper like me so I decided I had best get some decent training and race prep in. I managed to train fairly well even the odd double day. However the race prep all went tits up when I realised on that very same weekend I would be working the twilight shift (4pm-midnight) in the surgical assesment unit all weekend. After a long week of standing in the operating theatre occassionally sewing someones breast back together and dreaming about being in exotic hot places with smooth tarmac roads, friday arrived. Starting work at 4pm meant I could have a leisurely morning and a frantic turbo session before heading to work. There is nothing worse than driving into the hospital car park seeing everyone else heading home for their weekend. I strolled into the unit ready to just crack on, I arrived to complete chaos. The boys on during the day had obviously decided to do absolutely no work, there were irrate nurses, fuming patients and millions of jobs to be done. Resisting the urge to have a complete melt down before the weekend had even begun, I started my nazi style dictatorship to try and regain some law and order. The day team swap to the night team at 8pm and the night registra who is in charge arrived. I made her a cup of tea and tried to prepare her for the pile of shit that we had to shovel. I was met with “this is not happening tomorrow night! I dont take any shit, I’m having those boys’ balls on a plate!” this is what it takes to be a female surgical trainee! I merrily carried on amusing myself with the painful castration that would take place the next morning.
Saturday was pre race day, a bit of a cross ride then off to work. Less chaos! the castration had worked.
Race day arrived I was shattered bed at 1.30am not much to eat, disturbed sleep and then I was on the course warming up. I was pretty bloody nervous. Absolutely convinced I shouldnt be there and that all the spectators were laughing at me. I quite enjoyed the race in the end, except for my appallingly tired legs and a crazy wind. I finished I wasnt last, I was vaguely satisfied and shit before I knew it  I needed to go back to work. By now all my enthusiasm had run out, I hated the hospital, I hated the patients and I hated myself for picking such a ridiculous career. Dressed in a pair of extremely large blue scrubs and my compression tights and armed with a packet of cookies, I started seeing the patients. God I was hungry and thirsty, You know when you are thirsty when you catheterise a patient and the urine flows in to the a bag and all you can think of is a nice thirst quenching glass of orange squash! It was busy and the patients were poorly.One poor chap, a recovering alcoholic was shaking with withdrawal and rolling around on he bed in agony. I’m usually quite cold hearted to those that self inflict ill health and disease, but this chap was in a sorry state and not a dissimilar age to me. I was asking him about his drinking and what had brought on the binge that had ultimately ended with his hospital admission. He announced “the worst thing in the world happened to me!” I was thinking perhaps a berevement or some such awful tragedy! Nope his girlfriend went on holiday with another man. “O for goodness sake!” again trying to be kind and patient I filled him full of drugs.
The highlight of these shifts in the hospitals have to be meeting some of the very worst people you could ever imagine. One a female prisoner, chained to two prison wardens . She was quite possibly the rudest most foul person I have ever met. After being constantly abused, insulted and spat at – for trying to make her better and prevent her from dying from sepsis. I gave up! she wanted to leave. I told her I was more than happy for her to go back to the prison she wasnt being forced to be here. I left her to get a drink and contemplate cutting her arm off and shoving it down her throat so she could never speak to anyone ever again. Trying to remind myself Im here to HEAL the patients and not cause them excrucitating discomfort like that woman deserved, I was disturbed by another patient shouting. Some woman was going mental in the waiting area. THis happens all the time. People seem to forget that if you are shouting and screaming you probably arent that poorly and we are quite busy treating the semi comatose patient who is peri death. This patient wouldnt let up they was going to report us to everyone they could think of. The nurses were getting increasingly upset. FUCK! all i wanted to do now was make this patient wait as long as possible but as she was starting to disrupt the rest of the ward i thought I had better see her. Turns out her gastric band was too tight and she hadnt had anything to eat for a whole week. By the looks of her this had done her no harm what so ever! This was also all our fault. I again wanted to point out that if the “stupid woman hadn’t eaten herself in to such a disgusting state, she wouldnt have needed the band and she wouldnt be in this mess” but obviously I promised to do everything I could to get her band deflated as soon as possible as it must be very distressing for her……
11.45pm only 15mins to go before I can finally go home wash properly and lie in my bed. 11.46pm call from theatre, they need the other doctors to go and perform a appendicetomy on an 11yo. Bollocks! I cant just pop home and leave all the patients waiting to be seen whilst the seniors go and operate. Left on my own with the instructions make sure no one is sick and go home! you are probably thinking PHoebe this is a hopsital everyone is sick! WRONG! everyone thinks they are sick, the majority are mildly unwell and could probably go home if the medical staff werent so afraid of being sued!
Finally my work is done nearing 1am when a little old woman appears. She is beautifully dressed with a lovely hand bag, I reckon shes about 80years old. I was beginning to think I might be hallucinating (post race and no proper food for 8 hours!) and that she was my fairy god mother, come to feed me and tuck me into bed. Turns out she is the wife of a very elderly patient with dementia. His dementia is so bad that his mind and soul appear to have left some years ago and he is now just a husk of a body that once was fully functional human. He was unable to communicate and his wife had waited to tell us what had happened to him. This broke my heart, she was a practical woman she told me she had managed with him at home for a number of years until his confusion had worsened to such an extent that he had started lashing out at her. How on earth was I going to get this lady home at 1am! After working out if I was allowed to take her home on my way back from work, we decided the best thing to do was get her a taxi as I still didnt know when I would be leaving. I packed her off home asking her to call the nurses to let them know she had arrived safely. at 2am I also left knowing full well in 4hours time I needed to be up dressed and ready for a 13hour on call day shift, O how I was ready to find a new job. (I also nearly needed to find a new boyfriend as arriving at his house at 2.30am with the most appalling hunger rage, he has left me nothing to eat! but he had cleaned my bikes.)

Guess who’s back? Back again!

Apologies for not blogging sooner. I wrote a blog in November and saved it to my email. When I came back to read it I realised it was far too angry and scathing to publish ( I may publish some highlights), such was my bitter and twisted life at the time. I have subsequently finished my job in the cut throat and depressing world of general surgery, this does mean I have survived my first job as a junior doctor! I believe I have just about survived it unscathed, I’m sure various friends would not agree. For those of you who have are not familiar with the book House of God, I will explain. The foundation programme – a training scheme for the first 2 years of your junior doctor life, is a factory. It takes youthful and cheerful medical students who pass finals and beats them to a pulp, sleep derives them, feeds them toast, biscuits and quality street and churns out bitter, miserable lonely frumps! For this reason it is imperative to maintain a certain degree of work life balance. BLAHBLAH (basically don’t get fat and or suicidal)


I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be all that difficult if I wasn’t also trying to balance cycling and a crazy desire to be less crap at cycling. There have been many evenings during 2011 when I would arrive home, emotionally and physically drained and somehow crawl my way on to the bike, rather than lying on the sofa and eating my weight in ben and jerrys! (a well known pass time of junior doctors). I’m not sure how much my cycling gained from training when this exhausted but it eased that little voice in my mind saying “you need to train!! you will always be rubbish! TRAIN!”

But this is good! Exercise is good, it helps you feel less stressed. It means you can eat lots of cake! YOu tell all  your patients to exercise! – well yes I do and obviously exercise is good and I’m sure a leisurely swim or a nice yoga session is good for mind, body and soul. However thrashing yourself on your bike night after night leaves you grumpy because A. you are constantly starving and no amount of white toast and nutella will curb your hunger and B. running for cardiac arrests, kneeling down to take blood and stairs all make you feel like you want to cut off your legs and sit in a wheel chair. But such is my desire to be marginally less shite at cycling – I do it and then I spend large amounts of time complaining about how hard my life is and how no one understands! HAHAHA.

So I have finished one job and moved to my next job, which is paediatrics – a rather stupid friend of a friend asked me if that was care of paedophiles! I would just like to clarify that no it fucking isn’t! It is the care of all creatures under the age of 18yrs. As you can imagine (well those of you that do not have children) this is a shit scary job. Poorly adults don’t really bother me a great deal anymore, I know roughly what to do, who to call and how to do it. Poorly babies on the otherhand scare the living day lights out of me. My first really sick baby was struggling to breath and looking a little blue around the mouth. My stomach seemed to drop right through my shoes. Nothing I seemed to have learnt in the past 4 months seemed appropriate for a person smaller than a handbag. Thankfully everyone else in the department isn’t a total idiot and they stepped in and it turn out the patient only had the baby version of man flu and was well in a few days. Paediatrics is a very different department to work in and being as junior as I am, I am trusted to do very little – which I enjoy immensely. I have therefore invented a few games to keep myself amused. One is viewing the mother of the child and trying to work out if I have seen her before on Jeremy Kyle (highly likely) and then trying to work out how on earth she managed to find someone to reproduce with. It is an absolute mystery, I “shudder!” to work out how they even manage the logistics of it. The other game that amuses me is when I meet the so called “father” of the child, I spend a great deal of time working out how much I would bet on that man being the actual father! Often the man isn’t even the same shade as the  child.

This concerns me even more because it means the mother has actually found more than 1 person to reproduce with, such is life in our ever morose general public. But I like seeing the children and they aren’t half as annoying as my previous adult patients  and are often quite amusing.

So in between running around and saving babies lives (screaming for help and then crying in a cupboard), I have been racing my bike. I have good days and bad days I struggle sometimes on the weekend after long shifts. But I enjoy the racing.

I have entered the national champs, not because I perceive myself as good enough to ride but cock of the moment is going down to race and I’m not going to just stand there and pit so I’ll have to have a little go and try not to embarrass myself. I have struggled reflecting on my cx season so far as it hasn’t been what I would have wanted, but it is only my second season. I have to accept that choosing the career I have chosen and working 70-80hour weeks sometimes does not always bode well for great athletic performances.
However there is no way I’m giving up thrashing myself on the bike – because that would mean giving in and becoming a boring medicine obsessed frump and there is no way people like that make it into the cyclepassion calender.

Have you ever drunk baileys from a shoe?

Sufferfest- hell hath no fury! The review

This morning I was a little short on time and therefore couldn’t manage my usual long Sunday ride. I decided instead to opt for a short intense turbo session. But I get so bored on the turbo, I can manage an hour tops and most of that is spent sitting on the bike whinging about how much I hate the turbo. What better distraction than the Sufferfest films. I used these last winter and have become a big fan. The good chaps at Sufferfest sent me their latest film, dedicated to female cycling. I’m a female and I love cycling, it sounded ideal.

With the turbo set up, fan on, drink at the ready, I pressed play. Im not sure I had quite mentally prepared myself for how hard this session was going to be. As usual the introduction set the scene and geared me up for some hardcore racing. The race face was on, I was going to ride these pro ladies into the ground. The warm up is fairly short so you might want to prepare your legs as it goes fairly hard from the off. I was soon in there with the pros spotting my favourites. Once the first 20mins interval started the race face soon dissolved into the big ugly pain face, how was I going to keep this going for 20mins? A further few mins in and chris stuck his head round the door “how you getting on?” cluthing the bars, sweat dripping off my chin, ” terrible they just keep attacking, why are they attacking?” the changes in pace are fast and furious and there is no let up, before i knew it a mad sprint for the line. I was so engrossed i was going win, hands in the air! The rest interval seemed far to short and again I was doubting my ability to do it again. The second 20mins had some great chaingang style efforts, more short climbs and more bloody attacking. Voss was dishing out some serious pain! Just when I thought I could do more we lead into the sprint. A short rest interval and with some extremely sore legs, I join team HTC TTT this is an absolute leg breaker. Chewing the stem, praying for the end, it was finally over. I try not to fall off the turbo with relief.

To finish off there is a reflective cool down, which I at first scoffed at believing it to be rather cheesy. However when I concentrated on the soothing voice I realised how useful it would be to reflect on my training not just my racing.

The footage for this film is absolutely superb and I much preferred it to some of the others. It focuses on one race so you can really loose yourself in the effort and the racing, which allowed me to forget about how long and painful 20mins would be. The changes in pace are unpredictable and leg breaking but absolutely fantastic training. I would thoroughly recommend this especially when the weather is grim or the snow comes, it is the ideal way to get the most out of using the turbo and prevents mind numbing boredom. Well done Sufferfest!!!