The Midlife Cyclist

Jules Madone2

Jules - 53 years young and still doing hill-sprints. Just because he can does it mean he should?

The Midlife Cyclist Lectures

The idea behind the lecture series is to link clinicians, academics and other professionals to see if we can cooperate to review the latest research, literature and subjective experience to produce a coherent plan for midlife success that is underpinned by science. It is our expectation that greater cooperation between surgeons, physical therapists and bike-fitters like us, will subtly change the way we all work to help our clients continue to achieve their goals safely. We are charging £10 per lecture to cover the speaker's expenses and the copious quantities of fine wines and fresh coffee we will serve. We are known for our love of cycling and fine red wines and every lecture will have a grape theme to go along with the talk. 

1. Will I Die? - Dr Nigel Stephens - 16/11/17

Is it possible or advisable to try and prolong cycling performance into middle-age and beyond? We are the first generation to try in any significant numbers.

Nigel Stephens has been a Consultant Cardiologist at Northwick Park, Harrow for the last 21 years. He trained in Medicine at Kings College Hospital and had postgraduate training in Cardiology at Hammersmith Hospital at Papworth Hospital Cambridge. He was Lecturer in Medicine in Cambridge University and Tutor for the MD PhD programme.

Since starting in Northwick Park Hospital he established the cardiac intervention service - now performing 550 procedures per annum. He established- along with Professor Greg Whyte - a unique Sports Cardiology service at the Olympic Medical Centre which saw more than 1000
athletes and remains a repository of clinical experience of the intersection between the heart and sport.

His cycling palmares comprise Bronze and Silver medals at World Masters' Track Championships and Gold in the 2017 European Masters' in
Team pursuit. He retains a 2nd Cat Road licence despite being a clapped out 56 year old.


2. A Brief History of Cycling Doctors and Optimising Cycling Performance with Good Medicine - Dr David Hulse - 5/12/17

Dr David Hulse illustrates how to perform at your best by managing your health, taking lessons from his previous work in pro cycling.

Dr Dave is a longtime collaborator and friend of Cyclefit. He started as an orthopaedic surgeon before becoming one of the first doctors in the UK to train in sport and exercise medicine in London; spending time at the Olympic Medical Institute as well as the English Institute of Sport. 

He was the race doctor for the Tour of Britain for five years and spent a season as a team doctor in the ProTour.

Dave currently works at Wimbledon Clinics as a Consultant in Sport and Exercise Medicine and is Chief Medical Officer in the UK for Hintsa Performance.


3. Stronger, Faster, Older - Pick Two! - Anthony Purcell & Alex Adams of Performance Pro - 9/1/18

How to use strength and conditioning training to improve your cycling and well-being.

We have ridden many miles with (mostly on the wheel of) Anthony one of the co-founders of Performance Pro the central London based personal training company that helps many of our clients with their strength and conditioning.

Anthony Purcell - Director

Cycle Performance Coach
BA (Hons) – Business & Fashion Management
NASM (CPT) – Certified Personal Trainer
NASM (SPT) – Sports Performance Trainer
Completed – Marmotte, Haute Route, L’E’tape du Tour
Competitive road and criterium racer

Alex Adams - Director of Education
Strength & Conditioning Coach
BSc – Strength & Conditioning Science (First Class Hons)
UKSCA – Accredited Strength & Conditioning Coach
NSCA – Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
Level 2 – British Weightlifting Coach
Poliquin Level 2 certified


4. The Impact of life long endurance exercise on the heart - Dr Ahmed Merghani - 23/1/17

Ahmed is one of the people working on the front line to try and fill the current knowledge vacuum.

He is working at St George's with Professor Sanjay Sharma on a study involving middle-aged triathletes. Ahmed graduated from Barts and the London Medical School in 2005, having also accomplished an intercalated BMedSci (hons) degree in Molecular Therapeutics.
He attained membership of the Royal College of Physicians in 2008 and went on to achieve a National training number in Cardiology at the West Midlands Deanery.

Since then, he has worked for three years as a cardiology registrar in Birmingham and Coventry.
In 2012, he successfully obtained a competitive grant from CRY – Cardiac Risk in the Young – to pursue an MD degree at St. George’s, University of London. His research interests are on sports cardiology and in particular the effects of chronic endurance training on the Veteran Athlete.


6. How to hit your race weight and fuel your ride - Warren Pole - 33 Shake 6/2/18

Cyclefit customer, serial amateur distance athlete, and founder of endurance nutrition brand 33Shake (small but mighty, and growing like wildfire - Bradley Wiggins is a 33Shake customer, among other top cycling names), Warren’s on a mission to demystify sports nutrition and make athletes faster, happier, and healthier.

"There is a lot of cobblers out there on the subject of sports nutrition, most of it being provided by the large companies that sell the stuff who, ultimately, want you confused. Because confusion creates fear and it’s very easy to tell fearful folks what to do - advice which usually boils down to: buy loads of nutrition products".

So from this talk you can expect none of this usual nonsense.

Instead, prepare for a phenomenally useful arsenal of uncommon yet simple nutritional tools, which you can then harness to power you to your racing weight, smash through to new performance levels, and banish stomach trouble and yo-yo energy levels for good.

And all of it without a bamboozling spreadhseet of pointless graph in sight.

There will also be bountiful samples of 33Shake products for all attendees who’d like to try them.

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7. Injury prevention and rehab for the midlife cyclist - Alex Fugallo (Osteopath) - 6/3/18

Alex has 27 years of experience in the diagnosis of musculoskeletal problems. He is dedicated to providing high quality and innovative treatments for his patients and the desire to be at the cutting edge of his chosen field.

As a former international athlete Alex has a keen interest and respect for elite sport and has consulted for UK Athletics, West Ham FC, Saracens RFC and practised on the ATP tennis tour and at the Paralympic Games.

Alex owns a Serotta Legend.

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8. Why do my legs Hurt? - Professor Robert Hinchliffe - 20/3/18

Robert is Professor of Vascular Surgery at the University of Bristol Surgical Trials Centre and Bristol NIHR Biomedical Research Centre. He is Honorary Consultant Vascular Surgeon in the Bristol, Bath, Weston Vascular Network. He is an academic vascular surgeon with an interest in diabetes related complications of the lower limb and minimally invasive vascular surgery.

As a cyclist he has taken an interest in managing athletes with lower limb vascular disease. Over the past 7 years he has been managing patients with iliac artery endofibrosis from UK and Europe and led the development of an international group of specialists on iliac endofibrosis.

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Generational Shift

This generation of midlife athletes is the first to continue to seek performance in sufficient numbers, through middle-age and beyond, so as to be statistically significant. That is a euphemistic way of saying nobody really knows what the physiological ramifications are of heavy repeated training stresses upon the ageing body. In that sense midlife cyclists are mostly training on perceived wisdom and their own subjective experience. The apparent research vacuum invites numerous questions:

  • Does the training effect on the body change over time
  • Is this gender specific?
  • Should one train differently as you get older?
  • Is midlife hard training inherently unhealthy?
  • Is there a risk difference between continuing a lifetime of training hard and starting to train hard in middle-age?
  • How is your body changing as I get older?
  • How fast can you expect to ride at 40/50/60/70/80 years old? 
  • Will I die?
  • What happens if I get sick? 
  • What happens if I get injured? 
  • What should I eat to support my training? 
  • Should I train less or more as I get older to preserve performance? 
  • Should I train differently as I get older? 
  • How good are the best in my age-group? 
  • Is training and nutrition different for men and women? 
  • Should I do other activities or just cycling?
  • Should I take supplements or PED’s and what are the side-effects?       

N.I.C.E Advice

Quite obviously the kind of training we are talking about is in different postcode to the generic advice that is given by NHS/NICE to preserve health and fitness for the general population - 

 "At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week, and strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles"

We have clients who are fifty and over who are taking on structured training loads approaching what we see with full-time professional riders half their age! And on one level it works - they are achieving their riding targets. But at what cost? And could they be balancing their riding goals, health, life balance better?

Saga Cycling

How NHS/NICE sees over 50's exercise / activity levels

Nigel Stephens2

And what we are actually doing - Dr Nigel Stephens - European Champion and FAST (well) past 50!

Lecture updates and changes

Please keep checking back to this page for updates and event changes. The event registration links will be live at least two weeks prior to each lecture. We have a capped capacity at Cyclefit of 40 so lectures will sell out very quickly. 
Why are we charging? For three reasons - 1. Because this time we want to pay the speakers their expenses at least. 2. Every year the lectures are over -subscribed and then not full on the night. Paying a token fee, we think will guarantee a full room. We are going to serve extremely good wine. No change there to be honest.