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Up for a challenge! The 2014 Hot Chillee Alpine Cycling Challenge

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About nine months ago I was sitting in the autumn sunshine after a particular ride around the picturesque Surrey Hills with friends. We had stopped at the bus shelter in Peaslake and were having the customary cup of tea and flapjack. One of the group, my neighbour, Nigel made a suggestion for 2014 “Wouldn’t it be a great idea” he said “to make next year special by setting ourselves a tough challenge. This will focus our training and make our riding next year more purposeful?” So this was how I found myself signed up for the 2014 Hot-Chillee Alpine challenge in September. A four-day endurance event with 8000m climb! (http://www.thealpinechallenge.com)


My Kolbe scores are 8634 (http://www.kolbe.com) and for those of you who have not used a Kolbe score, it explains why I then made it a project to prepare for this ride. I like detail and I like collecting information – and this helps me when I’m working under pressure or stress.


I started riding a road bike in the autumn of 2013. The stimulus was a set of holiday snaps from the beach in 2013 – I was 52 years old and weighing 99Kg. I was unfit and had a year of family bereavements. Something had to change I thought. Friends had invested time and money in a road bike – it had worked for them, and although I had no experience of riding a bike – how hard could it be! More of the early months later in the blog.In the first year I had reduced my weight by 15Kg, and had a group of regular riding buddies. With this experience I started this year believing that it was important to get in some training miles. I had done a few long rides last year including the inaugural Prudential Ride London 100 as well as a charity ride London to Paris – for which I raised £9000 for the juvenile diabetes research fund. (http://jdrf.org)

What comes first?:

Firstly I thought about my set up and my physique – To make sure that I wasn’t carrying forward some simple problems that could promote injury I spent a valuable time with a specialist cycling physiotherapist. She looked at my position, my riding style, and gave me some advice on my bike setup. In fairness I bought the bike from Sigma Sports in Kingston and they spent quite a long time measuring and examining when they sold me my bike. I ride a Specialized Roubaix (2012) with a 56 inch frame. Most of the equipment is entry-level but at the time it seemed like an awful lot of money. However retrospectively it’s one of the few possessions I’ve bought that I’ve enjoyed the more I use it.

Over the next few blogs I’ll take you through my training programme, tell you more about my bike, my training routine, tell you more about Kolbe and take you through to the Alpine challenge in September.