On last Wednesday's session we cycled to Trundlegate with the intention of practicing downhill cycling and cornering afterwards. We set off from Beverley with a slight headwind and sunny skies and rode as a team out towards South Newbald. As the ride progressed it started to rain and it was at its worst when we got to Trundlegate.
Before the descent we were briefed on how to descend properly in wet weather, that we should keep apart from each other and apply the brakes on and off in a controlled way. The descent itself was fun but at the bottom it was decided that we would turn around due to the worsening weather. On the route home a few riders got a cold lesson in bringing extra layers. It was a good ride nonetheless.
On Sunday 1st September I took part in the Selby Three Swans Sportive where I rode the 63 miles.
This was my first time attempting such a large distance which meant I struggled towards the end but eventually finished in just over 4 hours.
It was a mainly flat course with a few challenging hills towards the end which in some cases made my legs go numb and forced me to endure a different type of pain.
The feeling of reaching the finish line knowing you’ve accomplished 63 miles on a bike is tough to beat!
On Saturday the 24th August, the Cycle Academy went up to Dalby Forest for a coached session with Mark, Jane, Tim and Andy. It was great fun with steep drops and technical skills thrown in for good measure.
Before we set off, we had a briefing and started with a few technical drills on gravel to get us used to the surface and conditions. We then practiced mass starts and had a bit of a race around a small circuit.
We then went on to the skills tracks. A few short routes with varying obstacles on each track. We focused on getting the jumps and cornering technically correct before we moved on.
The next task was one of the most demanding hill climbs I've ever done and hope never to do again! The hill was long and steep and forced you to use all of your gears. Once we came over the top we joined up to the red mountain bike route and (when we got our breath back) proceeded to finish the rest of the course.
Towards the end of the red mountain bike route, there was a fast and challenging descent with chicanes, jumps and rocks. It was the hardest descent I've ever done and it was extremely challenging. After that, we cycled back to the start of the track and parted ways.
It was a really great day with great coaching and great company and I hope we visit again soon.
On Wednesday 21st August we visited the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. The day began by watching Team GB practice around the track on tandems which was both very inspiring and intimidating (the corners were a lot steeper than expected!) It was quite surreal to see them perform at such impressive speeds.
We then took part in a Wattbike session (with a coach from the centre) which was challenging, especially when testing your maximum power output. Despite this I really enjoyed myself and found it interesting to compare the percentage of power output contributed by each leg which helped to improve my pedalling technique.
After this it was finally time to test the track out ourselves. As track bikes have no gears or brakes once you're moving the only way to stop is to gradually reduce your speed. This was completely new to me and so I was apprehensive at first however the guidance from the coach was great and I felt comfortable going at my own pace. Before long I felt more in control of the bike and was able to gradually move up the side of the track into the different lanes. The idea is to increase your speed when going around the corners (push through the corners) which prevents you from sliding back down the track. I surprised myself as to how much I enjoyed it and found it to be such a thrilling experience, one which I would love to have a go at again in the future! A great day out!
During this session we rode a longer time trial route from Skidby Mill - approx. 9 miles. We rode the route first as a group, taking note of the turns (all left turns), the elevation and the road conditions at various stages.
The route is fairly undulating for the first few miles and then runs downhill into Raywell and then along Eppleworth Road where we were really able to put the hammer down. The last few hundred metres kicks back up the hill to Skidby Mill.
The weather was a bit cool, overcast and rainy so some of the corners we weren't able to take at full speed - all in all a good session and a great chance to test ourselves, our skills and fitness over a longer course.
In today’s session we did time trials both individually and in pairs against the clock. We were able to practice held starts and learnt the importance of an aerodynamic body position by dropping down on the handle bars.
I enjoyed cycling in pairs (2 up) on the time trial and now understand the need to work together and communicate with each other.
As a new rider to the group I have felt very welcomed and I am looking forward to taking part in more rides.
Yesterday we split into small groups to ride routes in the areas close to us. Alex, Ryan and I rode almost 60km from Beverley hitting two local hills, Trundlegate and Stoneknowle (which Alex had tried to avoid before now due to his hate of hills!). We included a few sprints at random points in the ride and it was an enjoyable outing in the end and I’m looking forward to doing more group rides in the coming weeks.
During this session we rode from Beverley Westwood out to Trundlegate (South Newbald) with a view to doing some hill reps/training.
The session was about having good control of the bike going down and when climbing and using the right gears, effort and generally practice for going up inclines like that.
When I was at the bottom I looked at the hill and thought I was going to struggle but it didn't seem so bad after I got past the steepest part!
The easiest part was going down as I didn't have to pedal as much because if I wanted to keep control on the turns and stay on the brakes just in case.
The hardest part was definitely when the hill kicked up again. In this session I learned about the RPE scale (Rate of Perceived Exertion). This is a way to measure how much effort you are putting in when riding or doing any form of exercise.
The Cycle Academy has been really valuable for me so far encouraged me to stop smoking and improve my general fitness!
The event, One Hell of a Hill Climb, was held to raise money for an adapted bike for Daren Smith (a local cyclist who is in rehab from a stroke). There was a great turnout of riders and volunteers and there was lots of healthy competition and plentiful amounts of last minute doubts!
The event was thoroughly enjoyable due to the friendly atmosphere and the chance to compete against experienced cyclists. Although most of us, including me, set off with high hopes of being fast, these quickly changed to hopes of actually making it to the top of the hill!
Overall, it was a great, well organised event for an inspiring cause and I’m really pleased I took part. I also hope that the fundraising for Daren’s adapted bike is a success.
Results can be found here: - https://www.sportstimingsolutions.co.uk/rd.php?id=324
Humber Bridge Sportive - Sunday 9th June 2019
For most of the Academy riders this was the chance to complete their longest ride to date (approx. 40 miles or 64km) and to be part of a Sportive for the first time; the benefits of this being that the route is signed, well marshaled and includes a feed station (one on the route and food at the end).
The aim was to start and finish as a group and work together as a team to complete the route. There were 12 of us in total and 850 riders out on the course so it was important for the group to communicate well (both verbally and non-verbally), give clear instructions and ride safely.
Fortunately, the weather was on our side! We did experience some of the common issues when riding in a group...mechanicals (x 4), water bottles dropping out of cages (x3), riding near other riders/groups, negotiating junctions and turns.
My advice to the group at the start was that they are likely to learn something new every time we ride out and that was definitely the case today. It was great to see how much they have improved both individually and as a group and I was really impressed with the way they conducted themselves during the event.
All in all, a superb day all round and great experience for the group to see and take part in a large scale cycling event.