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Derrick Woodings - My Cycling Career (Chapter 6)

We hope you enjoyed Chapter 5 of 'Derrick Woodings - My Cycling Career'

Here is the next chapter from Derrick's memoirs:

Chapter 6 - My racing career Part 3 - Racing as an ex-professional

In 1974 I changed jobs, I had been only a part time pro. Effectively my racing career served as a part time second job, always having worked, and decided to put all my energies into making this a success and so stopped racing altogether. This I did until 1980 when I found that without regular riding I was becoming unfit and not enjoying this state of health I picked up with my riding again regularly. The fitness started to return but I did not intend to race again. In 1984 I met old friend, Pete Spencer from Ambergate out on a ride and he persuaded me to join the Belper Thorntons club.

This is where my latest phase started. It was suggested I ride a unique time trial; the Nottingham – Skegness VTTA race, a 75 mile event. A Big mistake! I thought that I was fit and took the biggest battering of my life; I finished but was absolutely wasted. I decided there and then if carrying on racing it was necessary to train properly. This I did and started off by riding a few 25’s. Eventually, by 1985, I managed to do a sub 1 hour 25. From here on I devoted myself to road racing once again.

Now in the veteran ranks I was getting some good results again and this is the way it went since that time. Each year beginning with some hard training and then racing. It is a treadmill that one is unable to get off. If you race it is necessary to train hard but it does help with keeping fit, gives one a good feeling and there are no worries with weight gain as so often happens in later life.

Now into my 70’s and although not so fast but still had the enthusiasm, and it does keeps me extremely fit and while I am still able to hold onto a wheel I shall carry on, well at least another year, maybe.

During the last decades I also rode several ‘Sportives’ these are long distance road events with mass participation of riders, strictly speaking not races but usually develop into one. I rode the 1993 l‘Etape du Tour’ in the Pyrenees between Pau and Bayonne which was extremely tough, over 215 km across three major cols. finishing with a Gold Standard for my age group. Later in 2009 I rode the formidable ‘Marmotte’ in the Alps, over 170 km. which climbed 4 massive mountains made famous by the Tour de France, The Cols du Glandon/Croix de Fer, Telegraphe, Galibier and Alpe d’Huez, again finishing with a gold standard. It goes to prove that age is not a problem if you do the groundwork. Even thinking about that event now gives me goose bumps. Just imagine riding 100 miles over those first three mountains to arrive at the foot of the ‘Alpe’ and then riding 14k up there in 35 degrees C. incredible!

Note: This chapter is a summarised account from Derrick's memoirs, Derrick can expand on any of this so if you have any questions, please reply to this post with a comment and Derrick will respond.


Coming up next time: Chapter 7 - Racing as a veteran

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