1.What’s your name, where do you come from and are you willing to whisper in our ear & tell us how old you are?
Kev Dennison, residing in Yeadon, Leeds. 37 years young!
2. What does your typical day look like?
Weekdays are a juggling act of work, family time and training. After getting my little girl up and ready for nursery I then drop her off and head to the office. I then do 40 minutes in the gym on a lunchtime before heading back to work. This gives me time after work to spend with my daughter and my fiancé (also a 12in12er).
Weekends are quite varied! Usually I get a good training ride in on the bike on a Saturday, which in the summer can be 5-6 hours getting lost in the Yorkshire Dales. We then try to keep Sunday as a family day. If one of us has an event though then plans tend to change and focus shifts towards that.
3. How long have you been a member of 12in12 and what inspired you to start your 12in12 journey?
I signed up for 12in12 this year, being inspired by my fiancé who is now in her 3rd year. I liked the idea of having something to train for and look forward to throughout the year. In the past I’ve found I felt a bit flat after completing an event I’d spent a lot of time training for, and was left thinking “right, now what?”
The 12in12 challenge helps with that as after a few days recovery I can start thinking about and focusing on the next event!
4. What sort of things have you got planned for your 12in12 journey?
As a cyclist I have signed up to a series of Cyclo Sportive events. These are (supposedly) non competitive challenges for amateur cyclists aimed at pushing you out of your comfort zone.
So far this year I have completed an event put on by the Tour de Yorkshire where we raced on the route a few hours ahead of the professionals. Coming up I have a 120 mile ride called the White Rose Classic, this is an event put on by Ilkley Cycles so it always feels good to support the local clubs. Then later in the year I have another tough day climbing hills in the North Yorkshire Moors in an event called The Struggle, with Ride London then in August and a Sportive in September as part of the UCI World Championship races which are coming to Harrogate.
5. Did something kickstart you into getting active or is it something you’ve done forever, tell us a bit about why you do what you do and which activities you prefer?
As a teenager I used to play football regularly and spent a lot of time mountain biking around Otley Chevin. In my late teens I stopped being as active and spent most of my spare time in the pub drinking and smoking. I reached a point in my mid twenties though where I wanted to play football again and was quite shocked at how unfit I had become!
I made a decision to swap the pub for the gym after work and soon caught the fitness bug. Between playing football for Pool in Wharfedale in the West Yorkshire League and hitting the gym three times a week I soon started to feel a lot better and had a lot more energy.
The cycling started in 2014 when I was asked by some work colleagues if I fancied doing a charity ride based around the Tour de France starting in Leeds. I naively said ‘no worries’ and signed up, only afterwards realising that the event followed the route used by the professional peloton and was 120 miles! Having only ever done about 15 miles in one go on my mountain bike I figured I better do some training. I picked up a road bike on the ride to work scheme and never looked back.
6. How do you fit daily life around keeping active?
As mentioned earlier I use my lunch hour at work for training in the gym, switching between weights and HIIT sessions on the indoor bike. I then head out on a Saturday morning on the road bike to focus on building endurance.
We then try and keep Sunday as a family day so we can spend time together.
7. What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced at or before an event?
In 2013 I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, also known as Chron’s or Colitis. A flare up can mean digestive discomfort, frequent dashes to the loo and you can be left feeling quite fatigued.
This has a big impact on training while I reduce the volume and intensity of the sessions until the flare clears.
8. Do any of the events you’ve taken part in stand out more than any of the others and why?
My biggest event was completing Coast to Coast in a day. This was a 150 mile ride from Seascale in Cumbria to Whitby in North Yorkshire.
Mentally we had to break this down into three rides, The Lakes, The Dales and The Moors. Luckily climbing Hardknott and Wrynose passes in The Lakes was in the first 25 miles, had they been at the end it would have had my legs fall off!
9. Who inspires you to be active?
My fiancé Jody is a regular runner and has completed three marathons and countless half marathon and 10K races. I’m super proud of what she has accomplished and living in the same household we encourage and support each other to be active.
10. How do you motivate yourself to go out and train for your events and how does the weather effect that?
I enjoy training so it doesn’t take any motivation, in fact I get quite frustrated if I miss a session!
As for the weather, there’s no such thing as bad weather just poor choice of outfit!
11. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given about participating in activities?
The best advice I ever got was on my first Sportive. My work colleague asked why I was pedalling down hill, his advice was “Don’t pedal if you don’t have to, there’s plenty of road ahead where you’ll need to!”
It was a lesson in conserving energy for when you need it!
It definitely helped on the Coast to Coast, that event taught me the value in pacing and fuelling correctly for long rides!
12. What’s your top tip for the other 12in12ers?
I’d say it doesn’t matter old you are or how big or small your events/races are the important thing is keeping active!
The health benefits are immense, both physically and mentally, so keep at it and most of all enjoy it.