Testimonial: Jim Flynn

BY IN Exercise Institute News On May 27, 2016

‘The day I shaved my legs.’

Cycling has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I rode to school every day. I didn’t have a car at University so my bike was my main means of getting around. In the 80’s and 90’s every holiday saw me off on the bike, laden panniers groaning, to the Flinders Ranges, Zimbabwe, India, Europe, NZ, the outback, Malaysia, the Victorian Alps. Parenthood led to the touring gear getting packed away, but I still commuted on the bike as much as I could. A move to Perth in 2001 saw me introduced to the pleasures of group riding, starting off with a pretty gentle ride with a group of Dads from the local primary school. Baggy shorts & T shirts gave way to lycra, the toe clips became cleats, steel to carbon, peletons, racing, UWCT World Championships… The deterioration from a vegetarian eco-tourist riding in masseur sandals to hard-core racer was complete. Except for one thing.

Rule 33.[1]

The razor was, for me, an item that should not venture further south than the neck.

I had an amazing week of racing in the Pyrenees in August 2015.[2]  On return, I struggled for motivation.  Commuting wasn’t a problem (I would have my teeth drilled without anaesthetic in preference to driving my car to work) but I struggled to motivate myself for anything else. Crit season was on, but it didn’t tempt me, too scary, too many riders at high speed fighting for corners, I am too old for that.

My road bike languished, unloved, in the shed.

Waddabout TT??

ATTA is a great organisation, and I had dabbled with a few of their rides over the last 2 years with limited success. Last year I had just missed out on coming in under the hour for the 40 km at the state championships – maybe this is a new target???

So, what do I have to do.

New bike – tick. A Cervello P3 with ultegra Di2 – not top of the range, but UCI legal and simple enough for a mechanical ignoramus like myself to be able to tinker with the brake pads when changing wheels without having to completely dismantle the bike.

Skinsuit – tick.

Helmet – tick.

Coach – tick. Have been very impressed with what Brad Hall has brought to my cycling. He listened to my goals and structured a program that saw me training smarter – no more time on the bike, just more effectively & more efficiently. I had exposure to group interval training in Kings Park, with blokes ½ my age up the road as bunnys for me to chase. Throw in solo, power-based sessions, with commuting and social riding built in and regular, excellent, constructive and encouraging feedback. Thanks heaps, Brad – https://www.exerciseinstitute.com.au/

A week out from the first time trial, I was in as good as form as I was going to be in.

What more could I do.

The razor???

NOoooooooooo. Screamed my 19 year old son.

There are some things children should not have to endure. The sight of their 55 year old father in a skin-tight lycra onesy is one of them. But your old man in shorts with shaved legs on display?? NO WAAAY!

I kind of agreed with him. Cycle touring was deeply embedded in my psyche, it had taken years for me to cope with the thought of a frame without braze-ons for carriers and triple chain rings, and hairy legs was the signature of the cycle tourist (bonus points for wispy beards, helmet-mounted mirrors and a penchant for latte’s…)

But, in a time trial, seconds matter.

Data (albeit, I reckon, pretty dodgy) suggests that the increased resistance offered by hirsute legs added seconds to your time. And I was locked into a quest for seconds.

Cos last time I tried for the 40 k (ATTA state championships 2015) I crossed the line with an average speed (according to my Garmin) of 40.02 km/hr. But my official ATTA time was 1.00.06, given me an average time of 39.97 km/hr..:(


So, out with the razor. Hair on legs, begone!!!

The big day arrived. The ATTA Hearne Hill circuit isn’t an ideal place to chase a 40k PB– it sucks the morning easterly off the hills and throws it in the face of the hapless mugs that push themselves around the circuit.

My first lap was awful – a convoy of cars & motorbikes heading north on Campersic saw me sitting, waiting, watching the safety officer with the dreaded stop sign  facing me as I waited to turn left. 23 seconds on the Garmin @ 0 km/hr, an eternity in a 40 km TT. Was it all over???

The marshal flipped the sign to ‘go’ and I accelerated half-heartedly, but when I turned into William a slight tail wind aided by the gentle drop spurred me on, and I decided to give it a go. My average speed picked up. 3 laps to go. Every approach to the intersection of Oakover & Campersic filled me with dread but the traffic gods were merciful and I was flagged through each time without stopping. Lap 4 of 4, the legs were tired but the pain was bearable, the numbers were looking good & I had a comfortable buffer zone, no ATTA timer was going to take this one away from me. I crossed the finish line @59 min 35sec. My smile was a mile wide – I had cracked the hour for the 40 km.

Life was complete.

Was it the new bike??

Was it the skins suit?

Was it the razor?

Was it the intervals, the program?

Was it Brad Hall??

Who cares.

There was a ‘tick’ on the list of ‘things to do’…..

Dr. Jim Flynn, Emergency Physician

[1] http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/#33

[2] http://www.southperthrouleurs.com.au/2015/08/29/haute-route-pyrenees-2015/


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