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London to Paris 2014 rider profile: Investec's Paul Palmer

London to Paris 2014 rider profile: Investec's Paul Palmer

I have reached a turning point in my training this week, writes Libby Ashby. I tackled the infamous Box Hill – which featured on the London 2012 Olympic route – during a 50-mile ride. I also went for a 25-mile ride on Sunday, where I clocked an average speed of 14mph.

What’s more, I have made the transition to clip-in pedals. While it is a petrifying experience at first being stuck to your bike, after a few hours of practice, I feel more like a seasoned cyclist.

I was eager to share my excitement at what I had achieved when I headed off to meet Paul Palmer, an investment manager at Investec.

Palmer is a fitness enthusiast and clearly enjoys his training. He is a fan of the new fitness craze, the high intensity exercise known as Crossfit and he also told me about ‘threshold training’: working as hard as you can without going into an ‘oxygen deficit’.

After hearing about all these technicalities, it made sense when Palmer told me he loves ‘training with a focus’.

His cycling experience started with mountain biking round Dartmoor when he worked for Gerrard Investment Management in Plymouth some years ago. He then started road cycling.

‘Having watched the Tour de France every year, last summer I decided I’d have a go and start road biking,’ he said. ‘Then the opportunity to do London to Paris came about. It sounded amazing; I think we’ll have a lot of fun and it’s for a great cause’.

As a member of a cycling club, Palmer heads out for a ride every Saturday and also targets three days of training with one day of rest (two days of cycling and one day running or weights) on a rolling basis.

He trains in the evenings in his garage on a turbo trainer in front of a television so he can stay in the house after his young daughter has gone to bed. I asked him how he keeps up such intensity. ‘There’s no point training and competing if you’re not enjoying it so the most important thing for me is to always have a smile on my face,’ he said.

Palmer’s passion for sport and exercise actually goes back further still. He made the finals at the National Student Games, coming 12th in the long jump.

After hearing this, I wrongly assumed he would want to be the quickest on the time trails from London to Paris. ‘After competing at a national level in athletics, I’ve got the competitiveness out of me. Now I’m competitive with myself. If I were to run against Mo Farah and get thrashed but run a 10km personal best, then I’d be happy,’ he said.

If you’d like to support Paul, please go to www.justgiving.com/mintsauce

Training App Stats: Paul Palmer

Longest ride to date:


Current training hours per week:

Eight to nine hours a week, including a weekend ride

Next training route:

Hayes to Bough Beech loop

Speed group aimed for:


Type of bike :

Felt F95

Best piece of kit:

My TV next to my turbo trainer – I would be very bored without it

Rate how on track you are with training:

5 (he actually has a strict training schedule - LA)

Confidence level/fear factor/level of determination?

7 / 2 / 8 

Training day diet

Breakfast: Pint of milk and when I get to the office I have a bowl of cereal

Mid-morning: Apple and banana

Lunch: Jacket potato and beans

Mid-afternoon: Weetabix

Pre-training: Fig rolls

Post-training: Recovery drink

What are you most looking forward to?

Four days on the bike socialising

What are you least looking forward to?

The aches and pains

First thing you’ll do when you cross the finish line?

Sit down and take it all in

Top tip? 

Getting on your bike on consecutive days while training

Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research London to Paris 2014 is sponsored by Catley Lakeman Securities.

If you would like to arrange a meeting, please email me on lashby@citywire.co.uk

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