Thursday, 22 November 2012


Me, (left) crossing the line to win the Concorde RCC 2nd Cat RR, July, 1958
Last year, in mid-October, I led a 45 mile club run, a fairly leisurely  ride, for the benefit of older, idler, members of the club. I had feedback, later, that one or two people, much younger than me, had been struggling a bit at times, which pleased me no end, because one of the great delights of cycling, for me, is to do all you can to make your riding companions grovel behind you.

I'd been cycling with the Beacon Roads CC for almost sixty years, and although I was sort of aware of the possibility that I might not be going on club runs in sixty years time, I couldn't actually see what was going to stop me. Granted, I wasn't going as fast as fifty years ago, but regular reviews of my gear ratios allowed me to climb pretty well any hill that wasn't actually vertical, and I regarded myself, aged 75, as virtually indestructible. It was a bit of a shock, then, that less than six weeks after this ride, and without any symptoms or any indication that anything was wrong, I'd been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Me, following my stomach, Beacon RCC 107km Cotswold Audax, June 2011
A year down the road, I can now admit that I spent the next two months indulging in some serious navel gazing. Waiting for a prognosis after being found in possession of a potentially terminal illness places great strains on even the most indestructibly inclined outlook, and one has to come to terms with the inevitability of one's mortality. Strangely, that didn't turn out half as scary as I'd originally thought, keep calm and carry on must be programmed in to you at 75+ ! Anyway, I had a biopsy, scans and radiotherapy to look forward to and all those who have read my previous blogs will by now know that these treatments were barrow-loads of laughs and turned out to be a mine of material for the dedicated p*ss taker.Until you've experienced the thrill of being in desperate need of a pee while on a radiotherapy  couch, you don't know what living is.

Regaining fitness after months off cycling has turned out to be a bit of a chore. I have sweat cobs, whimpered, blasphemed,  returned home with average speeds that I will never, ever,  reveal to anyone, and sat at home expecting the Angel of Death to turn up at the front door at any moment. But bit by bit things have changed and a few weeks ago I managed three whole hours on the bike, only a bit slower than I was last year. Next year I shall be as indestructible as I ever was, well, as near as dammit.

I am of course, very lucky that my cancer was picked up at the well-man clinic at my doctors. Although it's very aggressive, my treatment is giving it a good kicking, or at least fighting a draw, and I don't have any intention of allowing it to send me belly-up. Other guys, though, aren't so fortunate and it's the most common cancer among men in the UK. 40,000 cases are diagnosed every year and 250,000 men are living with it. Being geriatric and permanently bewildered, I've managed to miss the fact that it's Movember, and I should be growing a mustache and raising money for the prostate charity. I got too late to register and decided to do this blog by way of compensation.

It's thought that every guy, over 80, probably has prostate cancer in some degree or other, though more men die with it than from it.  Prostate Cancer UK is the charity that works hard to combat the disease and deserves support.  If you'r interested, the link is below.



  1. Well done with fighting it Alan :)
    An inspiration to us all (and not said in my usual sarcastic manner)

  2. Is that link with a www. first, Alan? My first husband died of prostate cancer so campaigning for it's early diagnosis is close to my heart. Well done at sticking to your bloody-minded guns and beating it into submission.

    1. Clicking on the link takes you to the site, lizy

  3. Well done for getting back on that bike!

    Now for the bad news...I wasn't born when the first photo was taken!

    1. That first pic was taken just outside Hanbury, or Ambridge if you're an Archers fan. I can remember winding up a huge sprint, and beating the other guy by about a tyre, We'd blown the rest of the survivors out of site. That finish is actually at the top of quite a long drag, and I sometimes use the road coming back off the Thursday Run. No sprinting up it now, it's actually a bit of a grind, and I'm glad to reach the top. A bit nostalgic though, crossing the line 54 years on.

    2. 'site', above, could be sight, even.