Meet Daniel – A competitive road and criterium racing cyclist

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Urban Massage catches up with Daniel after a Deep Tissue massage. Here’s his story of how he got into cycling and his pre/post race routine.

1. Tell me about yourself

I am Daniel, a 33-year-old software architect living in East London. I moved to London 6 years ago to pursue my career after studying Computer Science at Brighton University. I’m an avid sports fan and player, having so far been a member of Sunday league football teams, and amateur American Football teams. 

Outside of sports I’m a somewhat typical software engineering type of guy; fascinated with science and engineering but also passionate about the social sciences of history, politics and economics. On the weekend, when I’m not bedecked in lycra on a bike somewhere you’ll find me reading something in a coffee shop. I take mine black with two sugars (or vanilla syrup when I’m going all out) 

2. When did you start cycling and why?

I’ve been cycling various bikes since I was a kid; only in the last few years has it become my main sport. I started cycling further and faster when my then housemate Martin asked me if I wanted to do a 50-mile charity ride with him. Not long afterwards I had an operation on my knee to repair damage I’d sustained playing American Football. I was told that I’d need to manage my knee and I should probably cease playing impact sports. I asked about cycling and the specialist said that should be fine so, afterwards, myself and Martin planned a cycling trip to Brussels and I was hooked.  A year later I joined East London Velo cycling club as I wanted to take it to another level and maybe compete in a race or two. 

3. What’s the most challenging thing about cycling?

The hardest challenge for me is motivating myself to lose the weight necessary to compete at the level that I personally want to compete at.  My original goal was to compete in an amateur road race, but this requires a blend of endurance, sustained power, burst power and the ability to recover from those huge bursts. As an avid gym goer and fitness sort of person I went into the sport with a lot of power but too much excess weight and not enough endurance! Getting the weight down was, and still is, the priority as it will make me faster no matter how I train. 

4. How do you prepare for a race?

Race preparation varies depending on the type of race. I mainly race Criteriums, or crit, and Road Races. A crit is short, usually less than 25 miles, on a closed circuit and requires short power bursts. I’d prepare by reducing my training load prior to the race, going on short rides with short hard efforts, sort of like HIIT. The day before I’d do a very short, maybe 30 minute interval session along with my normal commuting/riding. Preparing for a Road Race is a different for me. I’m very new to Road Racing so I’d have plenty of rest days in the week before the race and also much longer interval sessions. In the two days before the race I’d rest on the first day then go on a medium length low intensity ride the day before, maybe 30 miles with around a mile or two or hard pedalling, I’d aim to do that and give myself at least 20 hours before I’d need to race!

5. How do you recover post race?

After a road race, I’d take a day off then get straight back into training. I’d usually do a lot of stretching work on my roller and get a massage in if I can find the time. After a crit, I’d go straight back into training with no rest day. Usually the crits are on a Saturday, so I’d be out Sunday morning at 9am riding with East London Velo.

6. How was your Urban Massage experience? How do you feel after your massage?

 The experience was convenient and easy. I decided to go with the Deep Tissue massage option as it was the day after a hard 70-mile session on the bike so I was not entirely sure I could take the pain/pleasure of a full sports massage. Choosing the masseuse was a little bit more difficult as I wasn’t really sure whether someone was good on not. I found it difficult to make that decision based on a star rating but I decided to go with someone eventually. After that it was a breeze, Laura P. was very friendly and had the music selection sorted perfectly. She put in some serious work on my legs which released a lot of the knots in my quads, especially around my IT band, which made my legs feel a whole lot better. On waking up the next day my legs felt great smashing out the morning hard session.

7. What’s your next big cycling challenge?

My next big challenge is to compete in a 55-mile road race. They are really competitive and the average speed for the race can reach 25mph! I’ve a lot of work to put in before I can keep up with the guys at that level!

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