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Still biking? Definitely…

“Still biking Grant?” is a question I’ve been asked many times throughout my life, by friends or different people that I’ve met along the way. Riding a bike has been such a big part of what I do, it’s hard to imagine it not being the case. I think it’s the momentum, freedom and just being outside, that I love so much

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Training

Q36.5 – An Evening with Mario Kummer at Swinnerton Cycles

Mario Kummer of Q36.5 recently visited the UK.  During his time here, he spent an evening at Swinnerton Cycles, one of the UK’s main stockists of the Q36.5 range of clothing.

Q36.5 are an Italian company who create high performance cycling equipment, based in Bolzano, on the edge of the beautiful Dolomite Mountains.  Mario began with a presentation about the brand, providing an insight into its history, the founder, Luigi Bergamo, their approach to design, production and sustainability.

Mario provided information about the clothing offered by Q36.5, and the ethos of their Essential Collection.  This is a range of high performance equipment, comprising minimalist design, formed in a way to enable cyclists to sustain a healthy body temperature.  It also serves to provide protection from the elements throughout the seasons, whether training, racing, or carrying out recreational cycling, in more demanding conditions.

Cross Over Equipment

Q36.5 also offer Cross Over Equipment, a range of stylish, urban sportswear, incorporating their design flair with high performance fabrics.  The Active Trouser features an adjustable waist and leg. These subtle details provide on bike functionality, should you choose to wear them for a commute, but do not compromise their style, or potential for other activities.   The Hoody, Vest and Jacket include reflective inserts. These are a great addition whether walking, running, or cycling in low light or darkness.

Having used a number of items from this range, I can vouch for its comfort and versatility, whether being active or simply relaxing.

Cruise Equipment

Much of my cycling is carried out in the UK, and I particularly enjoy our Spring, Summer and Autumn seasons. Q36.5’s Cruise Equipment is extremely suited to the variable conditions we experience, as it is designed to provide thermal comfort when temperatures are in the region of ten to sixteen degrees Celsius, and it has wind blocking, and water resisting properties.

Q36.5’s UF Active fabric plays a significant role in the performance of the Cruise Equipment. The fabric comprises a dense outer layer with a fine Merino wool interior. Its construction is highly breathable, retains warmth even when damp, and dries quickly.

The Cruise Equipment comprises of jerseys, an insulative vest and accessories in the form of arm, leg and knee warmers.  The on-bike comfort is something to be experienced. The thermal comfort provided by these lightweight garments is excellent.  This is complemented by a close fit, with the stretch and shape enabling ease of movement.

Rider visibility is aided by the inclusion of colour panels, reflective inserts and zip. The jerseys and vest have discrete pockets with ample capacity for nutrition, phone, essentials case and additional layers or waterproof shell.

Having used items of Cruise Equipment for riding in the hills, flatlands, and various training intensities, its versatility and comfort is something I really value.

Summer 2019

For this summer, there are mix technical developments, new colours, and eye catching graphics.  The new Jersey Short Sleeve Seta is subtly stylish, and is offered in Tiffany (light blue) or Anthracite.  It’s hard to choose a favourite between the two, but for me, the Tiffany just takes it.

This jersey offers an advancement in performance and versatility, enabling a cyclist to remain comfortable, even during high levels of exertion in warm conditions, and when riding in cooler, summer temperatures.  This, in the main, is achieved by incorporating silk and silver thread into the fabric.  Silver thread also provides anti-bacterial properties to the garment. Continue reading “Q36.5 – An Evening with Mario Kummer at Swinnerton Cycles”

TORQ Fitness: Performance Coaching and Fitness Testing

Blog Post by Emma

Grant and I don’t race our bikes, but we simply love riding and to get the most out of our year, especially our summer trip to the mountains of Europe, we use TORQ Fitness for our training.  So I thought I’d write a little about this, to dispel any myths that training plans or coaching are only for those who compete.

You may be familiar with the brand from their superb range of energy and recovery products. However, TORQ first started out in 1999, set up by Director Matt Hart as a fitness and coaching consultancy, with the nutritional products coming a little later in 2002.

We started going to TORQ in 2007, after a friend recommended it.  We had enjoyed three summer trips to the French Alps and the Dolomites in previous years, and we decided to explore how we might benefit from more structured training.  At that time, TORQ were based in the village of Westbury, near Shrewsbury, so only about an hour and a half away from us.   However, they have since relocated to the picturesque location of Bryn Mawr in Powys.

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Back in 2007 we attended a full day’s education, which also included the fitness testing.  The education covered various aspects of training: energy systems, aerobic and anaerobic training, nutrition etc.  It was also a time to discuss our aims/goals, what we hoped to achieve and what our training capacity was.  I must add that a very fine lunch was also included and the chance to sample TORQ’s products. All of this was to form the basis of our first 6 months training plan.

Since that first visit, we’ve returned every Autumn, to carry out a test, in preparation for the following year’s training plan.  We generally run our plan from January to June, our main objective being three weeks cycling in the mountains.   So let me tell you more about our fitness testing experience.

It’s a good idea to have a substantial breakfast, as you need to leave a gap of 3 hours between eating, and taking the first part of the test.  This is the lactate threshold test, which is carried out indoors using a power meter on your own bike or on a Watt Bike.  A resting heart rate and lactate reading are taken first.  Then you are asked to start pedalling at a low wattage, which you increase at gradual intervals, whilst your TORQ coach measures your heart rate and takes blood lactate readings.  Don’t worry, this is painless! A quick needle click in your ear lobe is all it takes.   Throughout this process you will be asked to confirm your perceived level of exertion.  From this you will ultimately learn what your lactate threshold is, and what your endurance training zones will be (using power and / or heart rate). Continue reading “TORQ Fitness: Performance Coaching and Fitness Testing”

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