Wayne's story | Cyclocross

Wayne's been passionate about racing bicycles since childhood. Now, with the help of Nuffield Health's Fitness Testing Centre, he's pushing his bike and his body to the limit with cyclocross - an intense, off-road challenge requiring speed, strength and fitness.

When Wayne’s twin took up cycling in his early teens, naturally he went along to watch the race. More interested in sport and PE than schoolwork, a young Wayne was always keen to explore new activities. Watching his brother race was the beginning of a life-long obsession with speed on two wheels. “I thought, well, I can go faster than that.” From then on, it was all about bike racing, and it still is.

“After nine years of competitive riding in the UK, I race bikes to a fairly decent level. Though perhaps not to the level of Bradley Wiggins and co. I managed to win the National Masters Road Racing Championships in 2015. That’s the one I’m most proud of."

Not satisfied with racing on tarmac, Wayne decided to take things off-road.

“Cyclocross isn’t as well-known as road racing. It’s like mountain bike racing, but on what look like road bikes. There are always features on the course that force you to dismount the bike, get over, around or through the obstacle, and then remount the bike. And there are very technical features, such as off-camber pieces and really muddy sections. It puts a real emphasis on bike handling skills, all-round ability, and just plain suffering.

“I first heard about the Fitness Testing Centre through Vince. He seemed extremely knowledgeable and I was interested enough to come and do some testing with him."

Vince Christan is a Nuffield Health Physiologist, working at the Fitness Testing Centre located at Nuffield Health City Fitness & Wellbeing Gym.

“Wayne was already a very accomplished cyclist," says Vince.

"He was looking to make the most of all of his training and take the next step up in competition. Off the back of his initial test, we made a few changes to his training, in particular looking at the time he spent at a higher intensity in comparison to lower intensity. From that, he made quite a significant gain in some of his physiological markers.

“With cyclocross, there are lots of obstacles in the way which you would never get in a road race. So he’s also implemented a lot more strength training in his programme, which has made him more of an overall rounded rider.”

Even for a seasoned racer like Wayne, the expert advice Vince and his team provided made a measurable difference to his form. “The process of the fitness testing has been really good for me. It’s helped me to independently evaluate where I am and where I need to be. I discovered that I wasn’t as fit as perhaps I was trying to kid myself I was.

“A lot of people tend to want to spend a lot of money on bicycles, wheels, clothes, kit, but they don’t want to spend very much on understanding their bodies. When I won the National Masters Championships, I won on a broken frame that had been plastered together and a pretty ordinary set of wheels.

"But I won because I’d prepared properly. It proves that it’s the person. The person is the most important thing to get ready. Maximise what that person has, your personal performance, and you’ll do well."

Last updated Tuesday 7 January 2020

First published on Friday 27 January 2017