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From a Stroke to Scottish TT Champion - Q&A with Callum Finlayson

We all know that in order to achieve exceptional results, you need to commit yourself to your training. Today we feature an inspirational Q&A with Callum Finlayson, who through dedication and committed training, beat his debilitating disease into remission to become Scottish 100 Mile Time Trial Champion.

 

Q. Where did your journey to Scottish Time Trial Champion start?

Five years ago, I developed a rare condition called neurosarcoidosis, resulting in a brain haemorrhage and subsequent stroke. In the aftermath of my diagnosis I was advised by doctors that reclaiming a ‘normal life’ may take around three years. But the worst thing I was told was that I should probably forget my bike. They didn’t think I would make it back on the bike, let alone race. This broke me, I felt the lowest I have ever felt in my life.

Q. That’s awful news for any cyclist. What did you do next?

I refused to give in and accept the fact that I would never ride again, instead, I set myself a challenge to get fit. This was no easy feat as a side effect of the steroids used to fight Neurosarcoidosis meant I  rapidly gained weight. At my heaviest I was 21 and a half stone, meaning simple things were incredibly hard to do, I even broke a rib trying to put on a shoe!

Q. Your fitness regime obviously worked wonders, do you have any top tips to share?

I would say taking it steady is key, it took me five years to build myself back to fitness. You also need to be committed to your training, some weeks I spent 25 hours a week training and I have no doubt this is the sole reason I have beaten the disease into remission.

Q. Why do you use a Wattbike to train?

On the Wattbike I'm able to monitor my pedalling technique and have found that I do favour one leg over the over, (which may be a result of the stroke), or it could just be my dodgy pedalling! The visual display means I’m able to improve my technique and make my pedalling more effective.

Q. What type of training do you do on the Wattbike?

I use the Wattbike for threshold and power testing, combined with road work and a strength and conditioning programme.  Thanks to this training I believe I am the strongest I have ever been - even before the neurosarcoidosis.

Q. What are your plans for the coming year?

Looking at races, I plan to ride the Scottish 100 Time Trial this year and beat my previous time and also the record.  Then I have eyes on the British 100 title, later in the year.

On a more personal note, I will be telling my story through PedalStrokes, a charity I’ve set up to help local people who suffer from sarcoidosis, head trauma, stroke or epilepsy.

To find out more about Callums inspirational story and how he is helping others who’ve faced similar battles, visit www.callumfinlayson.co.uk