Coming at 55 years of age, the sprightly Allan Yeo shakes my hand in a firm grip as we settle by the side of the #TOGO817 Jersey Colletion Day event for a small chat. More affectionately known as Uncle Tamiya (uncletamiya) but without relations to the famed toy car maker brand, he walks with a lively bounce to his step usually reserved for people with good energy. Allan is the 4-time winner of Togoparts’ various cycling challenges. His Hall of Fame victory list includes #TOGO920, #TOGO1050, #TOGO517 and most recently, #TOGO817. This prize-collection day, we see Uncle Tamiya walking away with a Cannondale bike worth $700, sponsored by Cannondale, for his #1 Finisher position in the #Togo817 km challenge. He is also the proud winner of a saddle from the Saddle Sore category.
With 4 #Togoparts km challenges packed under his waist grown slim by cycling, it is indeed incredible that Uncle Tamiya started cycling merely 4 years ago. Inspired by his brother who cycled for Epic charity rides, the petite rider bought a mountain bike and started pitting himself against the elements. In the beginning, Uncle Tamiya struggled a great deal. He rode with cycling groups but would often get left behind due to his inability to match their competitive paces. As a novice, his whole body would “turn jelly”; frequent leg cramps and back aches were part of the norm after a hectic day of cycling.
3 to 6 months into cycling, Uncle Tamiya began to see a change take over himself. His initial waistline of 32cm had shrunk to a mere 27-28cm! The “small little tummy” he used to carry slimmed itself into great shape. Without the aid of slimming pills or machines (except his mere metal horse), he had managed to achieve what many ladies dream of: a petite and sprightly waist size. With this unexpected but joyous change in waist size, came a total revamp of his clothes wardrobe: none of his old pants would fit him anymore. Thus, he changed his clothes collection to fit his new status of slimness.
Posterity-wise, Uncle Tamiya is blessed with 2 grown kids: a son aged 26 and daughter, 23. His wife works part-times and competes in running marathons as a hobby and for self-achievement. Because of their independence, he is able to spend a large portion of his time tinkering with his bike and challenging the roads. His wife’s sportiness has rubbed off on him: this lively uncle makes it a point to cycle each day and conquer the miles incrementally.
Asked about his training regime, Uncle Tamiya responds: “I will try to ride as much as possible, possibly every day. But depending on the situation, you cannot push too much. If your body cannot take it, it’s better to stop and rest. Don’t continue – it’s best to have good health rather than any misfits along the way.”
Eating a healthy diet is part of Uncle Tamiya’s secret recipe for success. His more rotund past has taught him an important life lesson: a daily intake of carbos, protein and water is necessary to maintain good health. In turn, good results come.
“Hydrate,” he says. “You have to drink a lot of water especially when you cycle under the hot sun. Water is very important.”
The Tanah Merah Cycling Route, or TMCR, is a favorite cycling route of his team, Team Speed Rocket (so named after Speed Rocket, his brother’s brand of bike accessories). He confesses that each of them would try to do 50km individually on any given day as part of their training routine.
On what advice the cycling veteran would give a younger beginning audience, the Uncle instructs with a solemn face: “Don’t take long distance all of a sudden. Your body wouldn’t be able to adjust.”
He recommends gradually pacing one’s body at 20km, then slowly increase the distance to 30km. Check if the body can take it, then increase the pace and distance to 100km. Maintain that 100km for, say, a month. Let the body get used to it. Then, do 120, then 150.
Because of his middle age, he no longer has the same reserves of energy as his younger days (the young can recover fast after a hectic ride). Thus this incremental-pace training works well for him. “It’s important to find your own comfortable pace (of training),” he adds, a twinkle lighting his jovial eyes. “Stick to it.”
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