Tag Archives: Training

Power Bar – Natural Energy Cereal

The Power Bar natural energy cereal is one of the samples I had through being a Power Bar product tester.

I have been really impressed with the products I have tasted and this is no exception!

During my 3 hour training ride I used this as an energy snack. The session was mid to high intensity and I found I had to slow down to eat this bar. However the taste was brilliant a mixture of wholegrain oats, fruit pieces, pumpkin seeds and peanuts. It was the right balance of flavours and the mix sweet and savoury.

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The texture was like a normal cereal bar and it was easy to chew when riding at a steady pace.

I found later during my ride that my energy levels had been maintained and I did not get a sugar rush or a low which was great. On long rides you want your fuelling to maintain your energy levels for the duration of your workout without major changes in your energy levels.

Nutritional Information:

Nutrition Information per 100g per bar (40 g)
Energy kJ (kcal) 1549 (367) 620 (147)
Fat 7,2 g 2,9 g
of which saturates 2,6 g 1,0 g
Carbohydrate 65 g 26 g
of which sugars 22 g 9,0 g
Fibre 5,8 g 2,3 g
Protein 7,2 g 2,9 g
Salt 0,33 g 0,13 g
Magnesium 180 mg 72,0 mg
(48%**) (19%**)

I would recommend this bar for a pre-training snack and on long steady training rides its great to have as a crunchy snack.

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It’s been a while

Sorry for the long period of silence it has taken me some time to put my thoughts into sentence form!

Since competing the Trans Alp at the end of July life has been somewhat bizzare… I came back full of memories of the highs and lows and buzzing from achieving my dream to complete my first stage race.

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Top of Umbrail Passe

The Trans Alp was a magical time where life was completely consumed by racing. The year leading up had also been consumed by training, after a week of re-telling the story and the excitement that we had achieved it, I hit the ‘what happens next’ wall. I found it difficult to describe how I was feeling, but down pretty much covers it, after such a high it was a massive low and for a good few weeks I couldn’t get on my bike for the shear fact that I didn’t know why.

I decided to take the pressure off trying to find the next thing and spend some time enjoying cycling with friends and family which was fun.

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Portsmouth ride with Lauren

Getting out and having some chilled time on my bike was great and gave me time to clear my head and think about what was next.

After a coffee ride with my Mum one day she said why don’t we do a challenge together! after lots of discussion we have now decided to do London to Paris next year which I am super excited about!

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Mum and I riding along to South Cove, Lowestoft

Alongside this my plan is to tackle another stage race. I would love to try the Trans Pyrenees or Swiss epic, so whats next?

I am going back to the gym to build my all over body strength for a few months before putting in the miles starts again.

Thanks to all my friends and family and sponsors for your support over the years.

 

 

Day 3 – The picturesque stage

Day three – The picturesque stage

Today has to be my favourite stage so far! Yes the climbs were brutal and steep but this was compensated in the most stunning single-track I think I have ever ridden!

The race started with a climb (something I am getting used to!) for 23km it was tough work but mainly on road so it was a case of getting in a good gear and keeping a rhythm.

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The route followed the river and climbed gently to start with before getting steeper, the descent from the top was steep and rocky but good fun and led to a well-earned watermelon stop!

The next section was a brutal climb so steep that in places I felt like I was going backwards, I had to hop off and walk on several occasions.

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This gruelling uphill effort when on for what felt like an age, waiting at the top was my Dad with a much needed water bottle refill before the fun stuff began!

The enduro section today was rocky to start with wooded single-track, I loved it apart from the scraping of my hand against the rock which was not much fun.

One of the best parts of today was riding along the side of the reservoir up high through a waterfall and through wooded singletrack it was brilliant fun and the views were out of this world!

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I really enjoyed today the climbs were challenging but the singletrack was brilliant and made up for the pain I felt climbing.

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Today was the hottest day so far and the heat is starting to drain my energy!

The transition from racing XC to endurance races

I started racing cross-country mountain biking four years ago, after being inspired by the Olympics to get out and give it a go.

last year I decided to try a new challenge and turned my attention to endurance racing. This is a very different type of riding which is as much about mental strength and physical.

Here is a little video about the transition. Please subscribe to my channel and follow my blog for more updates on training towards my next challenge.

The Trans Alp.

The highs and lows of training

Training for the Trans Alp is going well I have been working on my stamina doing long 5 hour steady rides where the key is working on my fuelling and also keeping a consistent pace. I am working on breaking the 100km in 5 hour barrier which is my goal!

There is only four months to go now which is really daunting and exciting. I have such a mixture of emotions as the Trans Alp gets closer, my fitness has improved and I feel stronger than I have ever done, but I still have weak days. Days when I don’t know if I can keep going and days when I question my motivations behind taking on such a challenge.

On days when I feel like this I find sometimes its good to just go and ride to remember why I love being on my bike and the freedom that comes with being out in the countryside on two wheels. Check out my latest training rides on my you tube channel and please subscribe it’s a work in progress!

Getting ready for a stage race is very different to anything I have ever experienced because there is a lot more pressure. Michelle and I have been working hard together to make sure not only our bodies are up to the challenge but we need bikes that can cope with big days of knarly trails and our heads can cope with day after day of keeping focused on being race ready. It has been really fun to have a friend and team mate to bounce off it makes training and nerves easier to deal with because someone is there who gets it.

The fun side of all this preparation has been designing our new team kit! It has been good fun and we are finally ready to give a sneak preview! What do you think?

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This weekend I am off to my first cross country race of the year. I am keen to see how my speed has improved, I know it has but as I have been concentrating on endurance it will be interesting to see how I can perform in a cross country event.

I will let you know how it goes!

 

 

The 100km breakthrough!

Today was my long ride training day. I had checked out the forecast and it was sunny until about 11 and then predicted rain, as a time crunched cyclist I don’t have the luxury of being able to pick and choose so I can train in good weather. So I pulled on an extra layer and headed out towards dark clouds but with the sun on my back for now…

On long rides it’s as much about mental preparation as physical if your head is not in the game your body might as well pack up and go watch TV. So I always have a goal to keep my head focused on something other than the minutes ticking by.

My goal for the past couple of weeks has been 100km in 5 hours, after my race result on Saturday I had seen how capable I was of pushing my body further for longer, so today my aim was get over the 100km barrier.

Butser Hill

I set off at an easy pace knowing it takes me about 30 minutes to settle in and then I pushed on trying to keep my heart rate above 150.

When you’re trying to stay in a heart rate zone on the road it is pretty difficult because of the natural rise and fall in the landscape, however hard you push up hill when you get to the downhill fitness will decided on how rapidly your heart rate falls, I am pleased to say my fitness is really good at the moment and my heart rate drops really quickly as soon as I start going downhill.

After 2 hours I was making really good progress and had worked my way up a few good hills including Butser. It was half way up Lynch hill when the heavens opened and it started to hail, yes hail, with such force that it stung my arms through my jacket.  With nothing to do apart from keeping pushing on that is what I did, 20 minutes in and I was soaked through and now desperately wishing for a long hill climb to get warm! I decided to start making my way home (which was at least an hour away) and to maybe have a shorter ride, I could deal with rain but hail was a joke.

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As I made my way through the backroads I could see patches of blue sky in front of me and the hail eased off giving me a new perspective and I decided to take a longer route home, I was still on target for over 100km, I had been playing games with myself to keep heading for this target for example: when I got to quarter to I would try and fit in 8km to up my score for that hour. It may sound daft but this tactic worked.

After 4 hours I had done 85km leaving only 15km to go. The last hour was hard fighting into the wind most of the way I felt like I was being pushed backwards. Rounding the corner to my destination I had 11 minutes still to go but had ridden 100km I was really happy to have beaten the 100km barrier but didn’t have any energy left to push out too many more k’s and settled with 3!

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I am so happy with my achievement today; I set out with a goal and achieved it, even against bad weather and a head wind! My fuelling was good today and I have a new love salted peanuts in the same bag as jelly babies! Don’t knock it until you try it!

Thanks for stopping by. Please check out my You Tube channel for videos on training, racing and much more.

 

Early Morning Sprints

Today was sprints day these all out efforts for a minute are exhausting but they help build my explosive power and fast twitch muscle fibres, otherwise known as type 2a and type 2b muscle fibres.

My sprints today were really hard work! But I am noticing that I go further during my sprint which is great as it means I am getting faster.

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Although heart rate can be effected my sleep, hydration and temperature when I do my sprints I am looking to work in my threshold and vo2 max zones.

I have a rest day tomorrow and then on Saturday my first race of the season. A sportive in West Sussex, I am looking forward to racing my new era and putting all the hard work over the winter to the test.

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Check back on Sunday for my race report.

For more video updates please subscribe to my You Tube channel.

 

 

 

 

First 5 hour training ride of 2016

Now five hours riding with a coffee shop stop sounds like my ideal kind of day! However 5 hours non-stop on a training ride where you are not supposed to stop at all is hard work both mentally and physically to do.

Last weekend I rode my first five hours since my knee started to give me pain. I sorted out my nutrition before I left making sure I had fuel for every hour and enough water to keep me going for a good few hours too. I have recently started using a water bladder in my run sac so I can carry 2 liters on my back as well as a water bottle. My new Specialized Era only has room for one waterbotttle as t has a very compact frame to increase the stand over height for women.

long ride snacks

When I set out the weather was good as I rode towards buster hill and had a loop planned which would include all the good hills in the area.

The first two hours went by quickly and I felt good keeping my heart rate over 150bpm as much a is could, on long rides, especially on the road on your own it can get a bit dull I always look for spots in the distance or if I’m on a route I know only allow myself to think as far as the next hill or obstacle this keeps me focused on riding at a good even pace and means I don’t get phased by the distance still to go.

Butser Hill

By hour 3 I had reached my next considerable climb, Harting hill this one was a killer and left me with not much left in the tank! I had my third snack, a banana and carried on towards my next goal.

The weather had started to close in and the wind had picked up as I rode past Funtington it took all my energy just to stay in a straight line against the wild wind.

Long rides are as much psychological as physical and as I got near the turning for home with just under an hour to go it was hard to turn back away from home but by this time I had a new goal! I had been doing around 20km per hour so my new plan was to hit 100km this was really motivating and helped me push on when my legs were so tired, I piled in the food eating a Torq energy bar, handfuls of salted nuts and a malt loaf slice for good measure in my last hour riding.

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By the time I got home I was exhausted I had left it all out on the road. I was really proud with my achievement.

Overall I covered 100km climbed 1,261 meters and burnt 1,528 calories in 5 hours. My average heart rate was 141 and my max was 177 which is encouraging as I know I can push it higher than that and go faster.

My goal is to beat this 100km time before I go snowboarding in March.

Apricot and Nut bars

Granola bars are full of slow releasing carbs great to keep you going all day. Sometime I find shop bought bars are quite sickly so I am always on the hunt for a new recipe.

Today the weather was not great for cycling, (although I did get a short training session in) but perfect for baking so I re-created this bar recipe I found to see how good they are.

Ingredients

  • 80g butter
  • 80g honey
  • 40g apricot jam
  • 80g dark brown sugar
  • 120g jumbo oats
  • 30g cashews – chopped
  • 30g sultanas
  • 30g dried apricots
  • 40g mixed seedsDry Ingredients

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 190°C. Now line a 20cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.

2. In a large saucepan melt the butter, honey, jam and sugar together on a medium heat, stirring until dissolved.Wet Ingredients

 

3. Bring to the boil and cook for one/two minutes so that the sugar caramelises, making it a sticky sauce.

Caramalisation

3. Add the dry ingredients and mix before turning out into your tray.

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4. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until set. Once ready just turn it out and leave to cool on a rack, cut into slices while its slight warm.

Tah Dah! Scrummy energy bars fit for long rides, although there is some refined sugar in here a lot of the sugars are natural, coming from fruit so will be released slowly during your training.

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Let me know what you think 🙂

Winter Training

My winter training didn’t get off to the best start, running during my off the bike month created a problem with my knee, probably due to a weak core and pretty naff hip flexors! So I had to go back to basics working on my core strength and hip flexor mobility. An MRI showed that my knee is actually in pretty good condition which was great news and meant I could concentrate on doing light training.

Over the past two weeks I have been concentrating on increasing the miles using tempo rides. Having had a sore knee I have been working closely with my coach to steadily build my training back up.(Velo Coaching)

I have been doing 2-hour tempo rides (heart rate zone 3). Training this way (avg HR 155 BPM) achieves 2 things, it allows me to condition my aerobic system whilst gradually building my base aerobic capacity without having to ride for hours in HR zone 2. Riding in this heart rate zone also maintains my lactate threshold by working the upper limits of my aerobic capacity.

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The other key session is hill repetitions, as I am gradually building back up to the level of training I would be expecting to do. I have found a hill which begins with a gradual climb and then a steeper lip. I do each rep trying to stay in the hardest gear possible, this works like on the bike weight training!

I find this very tiring and painful but enjoy feeling my muscles burn and my heart beat fast because I know I am doing everything I can to get my fitness back on track and build a solid foundation on which to increase my anaerobic capacity. After each rep I have a 3 minute recovery period.

On Friday I get my new bike from Specialized which is exciting. They have kindly agreed to support my 2016 season so during the year I will be racing and training on one of the most beautiful bikes I have ever seen! I can’t wait to see how going from riding a 27.5 to a 29er effects my training and racing results.