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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

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”

Ride Out to Elkstones, (Staffordshire Moorlands / Peak District): Sleep & Flapjack

Blog Post by Emma: 19th Sept 2015

Since we came back from our trip to Italy, we’ve crammed in some great riding at weekends. Over the last few days I’ve started to feel pretty shattered, but when I recounted the rides we’d done in the six weeks since Italy, I realised why!! In that six week period we’d done three Lake District rides, including the leg-grinder six-pass loop, two century rides (one hilly and one one super-hilly in the Peak District). We nearly always ride both Saturday and Sunday, so on our non-hilly day, there would still be an endurance ride. I love the days out, when we pack up our bikes and kit, load up the car (that’s Grant’s job, I look after the catering!), and head out to the Lake District or Peak District. But all the early starts had caught up with me, and so we decided to grab a lie-in and ride from home this weekend.

Our ride took us out through Barlaston, across to Moddershall, Wetley Rocks, then onto Meerbrook, where the steep climbs begin. We climbed up Roche Grange which is super steep, then onto the top of the beautiful, heather-strewn Roaches. The next toughie is the narrow, winding road up to Flash, the highest village in England. There is a defibrillator on the wall of the pub at the top, this always makes me smile…..is it there for the huffing and puffing cyclists?! I’m not making jest of this, it’s great that such things are on hand in isolated, rural areas.

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Continue reading “Ride Out to Elkstones, (Staffordshire Moorlands / Peak District): Sleep & Flapjack”

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