Half term holidays –Static Zwift Bike Ride at Manchester airport – Feb 16th 2019

We’d been planning this ride for months with great help from Manchester Airport Staff. We’d organised a prime spot in Departures of Terminal 1 to cycle for 10 hours on our indoor trainers and to raise some money for Gareth Evans Research Trial.  

This didn’t help when Tom and my alarms went off at 2:30 am, aiming for a 4am start at the airport. Busiest day of half term with 4-8am being the peak period for departures and foot traffic. They weren’t wrong! 

Id love to say that Tom and I were positive at 2:30am, the first message I got from Tom at 2:51am was

“This is shite will be my next blog title” ha ha ha 

 My feelings were similar, how did we think that getting up at 2:30 on our day off was a good idea? Negative feelings were soon banished when we arrived at the airport and staff were super helpful getting set up. The bay we had been given had no power so with their help we ran a few cables from the Swissport desk into our bay and got up and running. 

The airport was super hot and the idea of cycling for 10 hours without power and with no fan was inconceivable. Trainers were all set up, fans set up, and big screens thanks to Barry Bugg from Pixel were arranged to show us cycling in a virtual Zwift world. 

4-8 am was absolutely bonkers. My son Will was a super star getting out of his bed at 3am to come and hold a bucket to collect. He definitely had the magic touch and I think the families going on half term ski and sun trips were sympathetic to the poor 8 yo who was supporting his dad in the middle of the night to raise some money. A big thanks to Adrian and my wife Sophie for getting gup so early to help. 

The people watching at the airport was ace!!! It was all going on , massive queues, some wonderful stories from people donating money. Best of all was watching all the family arguments as stressed families checked in for their flights.

AS the day went on Tom and I really suffered in the heat, we got hotter and hotter and both had banging headaches by the end of the 10 hours. We kept telling ourselves it was good training for the deserts of America! We had three shifts of supporters who all did a great job in helping us to raise £612.68 on the day. Well chuffed. A little closer to our total everyday.

If you fancy running a small event to help us raise money towards our total please contact Nikki@preventbreastcancer.org.uk , any event small or large will get us near our total. 

James and Tom


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Smile if you like gravel

Last week I had one of the most enjoyable bike rides I’ve had in a long time (probably my 2nd favourite bike ride behind the Lan Las Ogwen trail – an old slate road that connects Bangor to Ogwen Cottage).

Me and James both met up for our normal Sunday ride to batter it around the Peak District. As the weather is still a bit rubbish we are still on our CX bikes which means big chunky tyres and almost go-anywhere-ability. After taking on three or four pretty serious climbs in the Peak District we dropped into Buxton and, after an inspired decision by James, we hit the Monsal Trail.

For those of you who don’t know, the Monsal Trail is an old Railway line that connects Buxton and Bakewell. It has been turned into 8.5 miles of glorious, traffic free gravely trails. The trail cuts right through the heart of the Peaks, cutting out the big climbs of Monsal Head and Worm Hill (thank god) using old railway tunnel networks.

The stress-free riding of traffic-free trails and the added fun of riding through gravel at 20+ mph was enough to put a massive smile on my face, make me forget about the previous hills and 40 miles in the legs and the fact that it was four degrees and raining.

I’ve said this before in a previous blog post, you need to make training fun every now and then – you should be transported back to that first time you step over the top tube of your bike riding to shops for sweets or racing your mates across the park. You should never lose that sense of adventure. As you can clearly see from my little face I had an amazing time.

If I can offer any advice to anyone training for a big event – it’s not all about the numbers and hours on the bike – so get out and plan your next adventure.

Winter training continues

Race Across America is fast approaching. In just over four months we will be in the 40degree heat of California . From the North West of England that sort of heat is unimaginable in January and February. Long rides are hard in the snow and ice and cold, so Tom and I are making the most of the short days. Cycling into work and home twice a week, indoor sessions on Zwift midweek and then a ride together at the weekend.

These rides are a nice chance to catch up on how the preparations are going but also for quality training with a mate. Fat burning – during Race Across America we can’t consume the amount of calories that we will be burning. This means we have to use stored fat as an energy source for the ride. Strange thought that Tom and I are trying to keep some weight on in preparation for it fueling us across America. Fat is a good fuel source for low intensity exercise, at higher intensity, glycogen and stored sugars are the main source. With training you can increase the proportion of fat you burn in relation to carbohydrates. So, that’s why we do a fasted ride on a Sunday morning. Wake up, black coffee for the caffeine (no milk that’s cheating ha) then out of the door. Glycogen stores in the body last about 90 minutes for Tom and I, so we do a 2.5Hour ride on a Sunday morning fasted. That’s essentially an hour of guaranteed pain.

I still remember our first fasted ride ha ha ha, Tom broke first, I was chatting , he wasn’t. By the time we reached breakfast neither of us were talking. The brain needs sugars to work and we had used most of ours. Our awareness and coordination had gone as had our sense of humour. We sat down and had white coffee, even the small amount of sugar in the coffee was enough to make our brains come good. Thirty seconds later we both became hysterical and started giggling and within two minutes we were back to our normal selves. A weird feeling. People talk about “bonking” during a marathon, essentially it’s running out of sugar, we are bonking every Sunday. On purpose!! It’s not pleasant. Nice thing is though, your body gets better at using fat, last time out, same ride, we both felt absolutely fine at the breakfast point and we were both still chatting. Progress. This is key to performing in RAAM. Slow and steady and fat burning will help keep the bonk away. 

And if you want to see how tought training in the winter is check out our latest training video.