It’s about time for me to address a subject that’s been dear to my heart - or maybe that should be stomach - this year.
Yep, it’s time to turn my blog over to Fat Andy.
Anyone who follows me on twitter will know I have had a bit of fun this year by tweeting out a photo of me as an overweight kid once a week - “Fat Andy Friday” as I came to call it.
To be honest, it’s been a bit of fun but also there is a serious point to introducing Fat Andy to a wider world. Whenever I do talks to groups, like the one I did recently at the Rapha store in Manchester, I show slides of myself as a very overweight teenager and use them to break the ice, give everyone a laugh but also make a semi-serious point about changing your life and lifestyle.
The simple fact with me was that from Year 7 to somewhere around Year 10 or 11, I was a lazy, sedentary kid with a lousy diet who weighed a lot more than he should.
Luckily, for me, I discovered cycling so, instead of spending an hour or two after school - or all day at weekends - sitting on a sofa, watching TV and eating junk food; I would be out exercising. My diet got better so I lost weight; I exercised a lot more, so I lost weight.
Around that time - when I was 14 - I also had a heart problem which has been well documented. I think people assume that I put on the weight because of the heart condition and not being able to play sport. But, believe me, the two are unconnected. I was just fat!
Mum likes to say it was just “puppy fat” but the simple truth is, I was a fat and lazy kid.
But, as I hope my story shows, it is often possible to change your appearance, your health and fitness, for the better.
Of course, I went the other way once I landed a place on the GB Academy in Italy and, for a good 18 months or so, I was pretty much anorexic which was equally unhealthy. I become obsessed with my weight and I remember, at one stage, seeing 71kg on the scales. For those wondering, today I’m 84kg so you can imagine how unhealthy I looked then.
Anyway, Fat Andy Friday seems to have been well received by friends and people at work and, to put a cap on the ultimate Fat Andy story, I have a special treat in store for the end of the week, so stay tuned to my twitter feed!
Onto more serious matters and last weekend was the Beaumont Trophy in the north-east which went well for Team WIGGINS with young Liam Holohan coming second, winning a sprint which, he won’t mind me saying, is hardly his speciality.
We had a six-man team and five of us finished so it was a good day for WIGGINS though about halfway in I realised that I haven’t ridden for more than a couple of hours since I got back from California nearly four weeks ago. I missed one move that got away and just didn’t quite have the legs to get over to it. But considering all the training I have been doing recently has been on the track or gym and I was in the gym the day before, it wasn’t too bad even though I was struggling a bit by the end.
This week, Thursday is the National Championships time trial in which I’m riding for WIGGINS, again in the north-east, in Stockton.
My good mate Alex Dowsett is, quite rightly, red hot favourite to win but I’d love to medal. If I have a good day and go well, I possibly could but I’ll have to see what the circuit is like and I’ve done no special training for it.
Alex and I go way back but he’s in Europe most of the summer now, with Movistar, so it’s rare we get a chance to catch up. I’ll make sure I go and see him at his hotel while we’re up there … I might even show him my Fat Andy pictures!