Shaken to the core

2012. It hasn’t turned out to be the biking bonanza I had planned. Mountain Mayhem was, well Mayhem. Bontrager 24/12, Plympton was the epicentre of the bad weather of that weekend. SSUK cancelled, SSWC more than a pay cheque away. Every other inbetween local event happened to land upon some other family or otherwise-related event to cause an argument. I have just about given up and eagerly counting the months until I can start afresh. I want to hit 2013 with fresh legs, a revitalised mind and a positive attitude.

Ok, there’s a glimpse of fun in the form of the Bristol-held Oktoberfest, an 8 hour enduro that I’m much looking forward to. Any excuse to batter your way around Ashton Court at a million-miles-an-hour should be grasped firmly with both hands. And you’ll need those hands gripping the handlebars if you hit the trails at speed with the glorious flowing hard-packed sections laid in the last 18 months. It’s grin factor 10.


The only cloud hovering is the twinge in my lower back over the weekend. A stark reminder that the turmoil of the summer, recent working away during the weeks, a severe lack of bike time and the loss of any kind of exercise routine have taken their toll. Only last weekend, a singlespeed blast up-and-over the Malvern hills between a hectic work schedule feels literally as it has tore me a new one…


My core strength has gone.


So with a little under 4 weeks to go until Bristol’s Oktoberfest it’s all focus on re-building my core muscles. It’s the pillar of strength I need to do what I enjoy most – ride fast. My riding style is particularly demanding on my core muscles, climbing from the saddle rather than out – and any weakness is quickly exposed when saddled up on the Singlespeed.


If you find that you suffer from lower back pain or weakness in lifting then do investigate some simple daily core exercises – you will benefit hugely from it and in time feel and damn sight stronger. I include variations of the plank, leg lifts and sit-ups & crunchies in a daily routine, which never really exceeds 15 minutes and doesn’t require any equipment other than a bit of space to yourself.

Maybe you already have some simple exercises of your own – share them with us, I’m always on the lookout for a wider variety of routines to try out.