Training : : Heat and hydration

Cycling in the sun beats the rain any day. However experiencing high temperatures and humidity during full days in the saddle or racing can be exhausting and at worst be very dangerous. Having recently completed the Schleck Gran Fondo in Luxembourg the heat played a key factor racing over the 155km hilly course.

Sunburn contributes to fatigue and increases your metabolism which increases fluid needs, which will make hydration more difficult. When your body is devoting energy to keeping you cool, heavy exertion will limit your power output and performance. This can lead to mistakes, reduced concentration and in extreme circumstances collapse.

The Aussie mantra of slip slop slap is built in to their sun exposed culture to protect from the worst of prolonged exposure. Cyclists can follow a similar approach to keep safe and hydrated.

Look for cycle clothing which assists and has built in protection against sun burn. Remember the photos of Chris Froome who burnt badly through his Sky team kit. Don’t forget the head and eyes; a cycle cap can help shield your head from burns and sunglasses with UV protection protect your eyes.

Use a high factor suncream. I’ve been using P20 suncream for the last 6 years which offers up to 10 hours sun resistant as well as being great with resisting water and sweat. Remember to cover thighs and calves and the backs of your hands liberally with suncream as they’re constantly exposed to UV rays.

Drink plenty of fluids the day and morning before. Especially important if you have been travelling on an aeroplane to the event. If you are travelling try to get out their early to acclimatise to the heat.

On the day sip from water bottles preloaded with electrolytes during your ride and swill the water around your mouth. Set a reminder on your Garmin for every 10-15mins to take a sip from your water bottle.

You could even freeze your second water bottle so its cold when you come to drink it.  Cold water in your stomach will draw heat from the core of your body and potentially boost your energy.

Pace yourself for the heat and moderate to the lower or middle of your training zone. Listen to the signals and if ever in doubt just ease up a bit. Remember on the climbs there’ll be no cooling benefit of the headwind so moderate carefully.

Post ride keep in the shade and take a protein-based recovery drink which will rehydrate you faster. Eat some watery fruit such as watermelon and grapes and remember to keep hydrated throughout the day.

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Tour de Yorkshire 2018

Big thanks for the four days of spectacular cycling action in the Tour de Yorkshire 2018!

Fabulous scenery, sense of community and cracking weather. Not to mention the incredible and demanding routes. The crowds and effort people went to with decorations adorning buildings, hedgerows and fields was a sight to behold. The shear numbers of spectators was staggering.

I watched the Stage 2finish on the 1.9km climb up to the Cow and Calf pub on Ilkley Moor. Riders were spurred out of their saddles on this steep section by the rapturous applause and banging on the barrier boards.

I also rode the Park Rash climb a few hours before the Tour riders came through in Stage 4; a brutal 2.3km climb with a couple of 25% hairpins. The blistering heat made this a tough feat among the beautiful Dales scenery. Fresh tarmac and a road sweeping truck was taking care of duty as I descended back via Horsehouse to West Whitton. Looping back via Hawes and Askgarth climb I caught the riders at Kettlewell with Stephane Rossetto way out front.

Super weekend, weather and cycling in Yorkshire.

Cycle : : Velo Birmingham

I’m training to ride 100 miles in the Velo Birmingham on the 24th September to celebrate my fathers memory who passed away due to an unforeseen heart condition.  I will be raising money and riding on behalf of the British Heart Foundation who carry out brilliant research into inherited heart conditions.and even heart defects found in tiny babies.  Please donate whatever you can to this great cause.  Your support is awesome and always mega appreciated, thank you!

Just GivingJust Giving

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Cycle : : Mount to Mont Cycle 4th-8th October 2017

On the on the 4th-8th October 2017 I will be taking part in the Mount to Mont Cycle which is raising much needed funds for Cornwall Hospice Care who recently cared for my friend Mark’s mum, Pat, who lost her battle with pancreatic cancer.  A charity offering specialist palliative care to people aged 18 and over with life limiting illnesses.  Please donate what ever you can to support the awesome care of their patients and their families.

Fundraising : : Harold the giraffe

Each year we look for new ideas for fundraising and increasing awareness for the children’s charity, Coram.  This year I experimented with the idea of ornaments that could be attached to a bikes handlebars for a bit of fun.  It started with a 3D printed prototype of Peppa Pig and in collaboration with Club Peloton quickly moved to ‘Harold the giraffe’, the charity mascot, for Coram. He has been computer modeled and styled from a photograph of the Coram hand puppet, then 3D printed and finally hand painted.  A Garmin mount has been incorporated to provide an easy fix to the handlebars.

The Harolds will join the Cycle to MIPIM riders travelling from London to Cannes along the 1500km journey* to raise money and increase awareness for Coram.  You can follow their progress and say hi on twitter; #haroldontour #cycletoMIPM.

*one name for a group of giraffes.  Others are a tower, a troop, a herd, a kindergarten, a kaleidoscope of giraffes.

Training : : Winter training II

winter-training

 

Winter is upon us once again so here’s an update to my article on my top tips for riding and training during the cold months.

Environment.  Know everything you can about the conditions and the environment you’ll be riding in.  Cross check weather sources using your apps and the internet.  I use WeatherPro but don’t rely it being right all the time.

Wind.  Heavy wind won’t just slow you down but can lower the temperature significantly-‘wind chill’.  Wind also has a nasty habit of putting debris in the road just where you don’t want it.  Watch out in heavily wooded areas and take lots of spare tubes.

Ice.  Always check for frost on car windscreens and if in doubt don’t take the risk. Look at the temperature range from your point of departure to your destination.  Your destination maybe 2-3 degrees lower than your starting point pushing the temperature below 0.  Also watch out for stretches of road next to forests or water which may be colder. Avoid shady parts of the roads which may be prone to ice, frozen leaves and other slippy debris.  Watch out for blister studs at cycle crossing which are extremely slippy when wet or frozen.

Winter bike.  Think about using a winter bike during the worst months.  This is a bike that you can ride in any weather including the wet stuff.  Components can get worn down pretty quickly due to the high exposure to water and road grime.  Your winter bike will be heavier as well as cheaper so better training.

Tires. Change to winter tires with some good grip levels. And remember to stay off wet manhole covers and painted surfaces. Adjust your lean angle too so you’re more upright. Slow down a bit more and increase braking distance.

Lights. Use 2 sets of lights, one as a back up. If you head to work early and back late you may be riding 100% of the time in dark.  Get some reflective elements in your clothing or bike and make yourself as visible as you can on the road.

Cleaning and checking.  Increase the frequency of your cleaning and check your bike more regularly.  Clear brake blocks of crud and clean wheel rims to maintain a good braking surface.  Wipe down and dry off the bike if you’ve ridden through the rain.  Learn how to do the bits of maintenance that crop up repeatedly to save on costly servicing when riding in the wet and grime.

Clothing.  Buy the best you can afford and that doesn’t buy the most expensive. Check reviews online and ask friends and colleagues for recommendations.

Use Layers.  Keep warm by layering up. Each layer traps a warm layer of air beneath it so keep testing how many layers work for you.  Make sure your hands are warm.  Numb hands lead to poor brake and gear control. . If one pair of gloves isn’t suffice isn’t buy a thermal glove inner.  External layers should breathe well to avoid build up of condensation on the inside of the material making you wet.

Hydration. It’s easy to forget to drink regularly when it’s cold. Keep sipping at the water bottle.  Write a note and sitck it to your stem to remind yourself.

Incentives. Whether it’s cake or a new accessory think of a way to treat yourself for braving the elements.

Enjoy it!. Some of the best sunrises and sunsets can be seen during the cold months so don’t forget to enjoy the riding.

Stay safe and remember if the conditions aren’t right don’t take the risk and consider supplementing with other training like running, gym or indoor cycle trainer.