Apparently there’s around 700 riders expected to take part, though many will be corporate teams of 3 riders, each cycling 3 days.
Here’s my trainer’s description of the technical terms in the plan below:
Functional Threshold Power or FTP can be described as ‘how fast you can cruise over one hour’. Cruising plays a major part in endurance sports such as cycling and being efficient at high cruising speeds is our ultimate aim. Find your FTP by riding a 10 mile time trial and take 95% of your average heartrate over the last 20 minutes.
My time trial heartrate over the final 20 minutes was 158, so my FTP is 150.
I'll keep updating this due to many Bigfoot riders having training plans in 2012 and maybe wanting to hear what the top trainer from British Cycling, Andy Cook, expects.
Fifty riders met at Epsom racecourse where we were split into 4 groups, the Advanced , the Intermediates, and two Novice groups.
All rides covered 50 miles, climbing 4000ft over what closely resembled the Legs of Steel Sportive route. Andy Cook led our group of 12. It was a great privilege to ride with the Topman. On the road, experienced riders coming the other way called out his name with a wave and a greeting.
We were accompanied by the same two motorbike outriders who accompanied Matt Baker on his tricycle event from Edinburgh to London to raise £1.5million for Children in Need. They told me that Matt's next challenge is to perform one mile of back flips!
Our Intermediate group rode at the same speed as Bigfoot Level 3 with an average speed of 14.5mph. Whereas the racers travelled at 16mph.
Our groups are a mix of abilities and I felt sorry for a number of riders in the other two groups who hadn't expected anything like this severity to start and finished exhausted up to one hour behind.
Most of these riders do not have a club, so have invited any around this area to join in Bigfoot rides.
To summarise: all Level 3s could cope with this route. Level 4s would need a further 15 minutes and level 5s maybe 1/2 hour more.
I was leading the 2's very badly this weekend and had the company of two new riders from Keston who are both doing this ride I believe, cannot remember their names as I am rubbish with names but they will know who they are as one had a double puncture last thing.
Thanks for the update! Sounds like you have a great coach there. Also, how true to your nature to invite people around and I can't agree more! I've invited two people on my commute this year (mind you, I haven't seen them on any of our rides...)
I asked about posting all the information. They forbid me as this is part of the package I am paying for. I am allowed to précis.
Essays about training plans have been arriving at a rate of knots. These include:
1)Goal setting. This is fairly standard used by Level 3 for La Marmotte in 2011.
2)An Introduction to Food and Drink. This included both high GI and low GI foods and when to eat from each group. Amazingly, you take high GI on finishing a ride. Foods like white bread and jam etc. Well that’s good news. We also got a chart of all colours of the rainbow to check our urine colour and what it means. This should read our OWN urine colour.
3)Hills and How to tackle them. Apparently hills do not get easier, through the training you can climb them quicker.
4)Training plans December and January for each day to February
5)One hour test on December 22nd, to include an FTP test (see above). This will give you the maximum heartrate that you can hold for one hour. This test to include intervals and also 3 x 1 minutes of 120 rpm cadence. We check our FTP to see if it has improved up a notch.
6)Adaptation. A new word. Adaptation occurs when you have trained over a recognized period using the plan, then during the Low Intensity week, your body adapts to the gradual improvement.
7)On 19-20th May 2012, we are doing a two day ride around London where they expect 2,000 riders. Here is the link and my trainer, Andy Cook. I am booked for the full package including board. http://www.london-revolution.com/the-team/andy-cook-cycling/
Andy Cook cycling develops groups of riders for competitive events by combining structured training plans and high-mileage camps with experienced coaches and support vehicles.
The camp is based in Majorca during the first fortnight in March at a sports resort called Club Pollentia which is midway between Pollencia and Alcudia in the North of the island. Over the course of the fortnight, come prepared to ride 1,000 miles.
Three groups leave at 9.30am each day. One group covers a shorter course and two groups ride the long route at different speeds, returning by 4pm. Each evening at 6pm there is a briefing about the route for the next day.
Each distance has a support vehicle with the first stop at 40 miles. During each ride you will be expected to ride closely in pairs, take your turn at the front and cycle in single-file echelon with the through-and-off technique. Rides vary each day over plains, mountains and through pretty villages with the long routes averaging 80 miles and the shorter 65.
The coaches are vastly experienced. There are two ex-pros in Bob and Keith who rode the Tour of Flanders 4 times, finishing twice and placing 76th. Paul is a racer who clips the fast group along at 26mph. Ian, Phil and Bob are from time-trials. Andy Cook and his wife Jacqui are tandem record holders and ride with us each day. You are encouraged to ask endless questions relating to any topic with the answers being multi-faceted. Andy Cook’s vision is to open up cycling to all. He was employed at British cycling in that new role which in turn, led him into the present position of setting up training plans, camps and route-planning fully supported by an experienced team.
Around 60 riders come for the fortnight with 50 returning year-upon-year. The background, age and plan of each cyclist vary enormously. Lewis, from Primera Sports, is a 20 year-old junior racer placing 106th in the 2011 Etape. Matt, from New York City, is a category 2 racer. Brian from Australia is preparing for the 7-day tour of the Swiss Alps. Claire is the present woman champion 100 mile time-trialist in the South-East. On the other hand, Alistair from Caithness is a 70 year-old tourer. On the shorter rides, most are half-marathon runners in the mid-forties.
The resort opens on March 1st each year and is spread over many kilometres catering for 800 mainly tri-athlete Germans. There are all sports facilities available from kite surfing to table-tennis. As the resort is not in a town, life is monastic. This is not a holiday environment. Everyone comes to participate.
The nature of the camp and the cycling environment will appeal to all Bigfoot riders from Level 1 -5 where each day is like a Saturday ride - only longer. The cost for half-board starts at £600 for one week and flight with a bike around £145. Over the course of a week, you may spend no more than 30 Euros on cafe breaks as Science-in-Sport are the Nutrition sponsors and provide you with all your ride food and drink including post-ride and night mixes.
Your downtime consists of piling in the calories in the self-service restaurant, preparing your bike for the morning, managing your clothing and organising your ride nutrition. You need to come to the start-line each day fully prepared. You are allowed to pop a small drawstring bag in the support vehicle. This needs to contain a change or extra clothing, drink mix, food, tools and spares.
As it is a training camp, I’ll include some technical information. Here is a 10 mile climb where I attempted to ride for one hour at my Functional Threshold Power (FTP) which for me is a heartbeat of 150 bpm. If you compare the elevation-over-distance graph with the heart-rate-over-time graph, you will see how I attempted to keep at it from 52 miles to 62. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/156392011
Hugh, it sounds like you've spent some real quality time with some exceptionally Serious Athletes. Thank you for sharing and keep on updating us! I looked longingly at the London Revolution entries, but have quite a lot on my plate just now, so will have to look forward to a report instead.
Hi Anneke, One of the RAB organisers, Nick, arrived for the second week and mentioned that they had reached the 1,000 entries for the London Revolution. A nice open guy - looked like a cricket player. He cycled around the world on a tandem with his fiancee and proposed....just before they set-off!
Characters! They are everywhere in cycling.
After 6,500 miles I have completed my training plan and now the big day dawns. It's worth mentioning that preparation in the last 3 months has been cycling many low-intensity rides in order to gauge the pace required for the daily effort ahead.
Many in the club will ride this route at least once in your life, so here are some notes to help bring it into focus.
Here is the link to the route we cover. This link will change here to show each day. Click on it and follow the notes below.
1)When you click on Heartrate, then you will see a graph with the zones below. This information is all based on my Functional Threshold Power - FTP. See notes above for more info. Keeping to this model means that I should be riding at an average heartrate of 122-125bpm.
This is the model I have developed through my training plan, my zones should be:
Zone 5 - 0%
zone 4 - 10%
zone 3 - 30%
zone 2 - 40%
zone 5 - 20%
2)On the map, you will see a shaded blue line. You can click on the right to expand the map and near the left, you can keep clicking on the number >1 to expand it to >512 which will replay the route.
3) Clicking on Splits graph, will allow each mile and the time taken to display on the map
4) Clicking on Elevation will show the percentages of 3 zones:
zones: 1 - down, 2 - flat, 3 - up
5) Clicking on Distance shows a straight blue line. Well it should be straight because where there are flats, it means I have stopped.
It will be a team effort with Martin, Clive, Vivienne, Chris, Nicola, Kim, Matt, me.
Hi Hugh, you have covered the same distance as we did on the tour of Wessex, so I guess that you are entering unknown territory now !. Hope that you are feeling well. Do you get the chance to do anything except ride, eat, and sleep ?. Steve
RAB Day Four
Ludlow to Haydock Park
Distance 107 miles, climbing 3300ft
cycling time 7 hours
cycling speed 15.3mph
Our group on Day 4 was 15
I invited Clare Cunningham, a famous visitor today, to ride with our group. Clare is the World Champion in 2009 for Paralympian triathalon. Clare has no left arm. Normally her training ride is 3 hours so Clare tired near the end but held on and we called her forward so she could lead our group over the finish line.
Clare accepted one of our lucky charms as a gift of our appreciation. Clare said she had spotted them on our saddlebags and wondered what they were.
RAB Day 6
Penrith to Hamilton race course
Distance 103 miles, climbing 3200ft
Cycling time 6 hours 45 minutes
Cycling speed 15.2mph
Our group today was 18 and kept together the whole way.
total mileage covered 635 miles so far
A very cold, Winter day, made worse by starting with wet, muddy feet.
Today we lost Nick who found yesterday particularly tough. He was sick throughout the night. He pulled out. This is very upsetting to everyone in our group.
Everyone in Bigfoot who rode the Tour of Wessex will be upset with this news. Nick rode the whole Tour with me. He has been a strong front rider on this team. Oh dear.
Sounds tough Hugh and sorry to learn you've lost a strong riding buddy. Dig deep for the remaining days - we know you've got all the reserves you need stored up after all that training you've been doing.
RAB Day Eight
Fort William to Kyle of Sutherland past Loch Ness
Distance 111 miles, climbing 5300ft
Cycling time 7 hours 11 minutes
cycling speed 15.5mph
Today our group was 19
We have covered 881 miles so far
The weather, scenery and group tempo was top notch
All routes can be seen in the lucky charm post above
One more day to go,great effort Hugh
I noticed your average speed has remained pretty constant every day,I remember you saying that was your plan and what you trained for.
Looking forward to reading your final days stats: day 9 FINISHED!!!!
Or, murdered by wild Celts, his body thrown into a peat bog, his bike carried off to become a tribal totem whilst the natives dance on swords, gobble shortbread and ram oats and chopped liver into the intestines of sheep. Ian Hamilton could probably give us some more background.
We're milling through the grinder, grinding through the mill. This is not an exercise, could it be a ... drill.
RAB Day Nine
Kyle of Sutherland to John O'Groats
Distance 104 miles, climbing 4100ft
Cycling time 6 hours 15 minutes
Cycling speed 16.7mph
Today our group was 18 and we flew
From start to finish we have covered 985 miles
Really pleased to hear that you have made it. And in style to, by the look of things. Great photo in the sunshine. I'm impressed by the 16.7 average as well, clearly you threw the "steady pace manual" out of the window for the last day. Hugh you must be one super fit guy now !. Steve
It is something truly awe-inspiring what you have done.
I knew you would finish when I saw that photo (above) taken near Loch Ness. You, looking cheery as ever as if you were out for a Sunday spin. Martin though, looking a little less pleased, but of course you too would always make it.
To all those I met on training rides, and all I didn't, WOW!!!
What an amazing ride! Stunning scenery, some great riding at a fast pace and most importantly the Bigfoot train was great fun;-) Hugh - thanks again for organising us all and ensuring we all made it.
Hopefully my bike will be delivered back from JOG in one piece.....! See you back at the club rides soon.
After getting home on Monday and returning to work on Tuesday I am still tired out from 9 days cycling from LE to JOG. It was much harder than I anticipated riding nine consecutive days of between 99 and 134 miles but the event organisers [Threshold] team were very good at making the event work.
It was brilliant because ...
+ the weather was actually not too bad
+ the food served at base camps was pretty good
+ the visible presence of medical support was very reassuring
+ as was the mechanical support by Halfords
+ the shower and toilet facilities at base camps were well implemented
+ and UPS moved our bags everyday (thank you Clive!)
On the downside
- I was pretty sick of the feed station offering of Ginsters Sausage Rolls, Ginsters pork pies and Pepparami
- there was some appalling road riding etiquette from a few of the competitors
- the internet connection by CISCO was intermittent at best
- daily charging your phone and Garmin was a bit too stressful
Overall I would recommend everyone should ride from LE to JOG (or vice versa) because the UK has some of the best scenery of anywhere in the world and seeing it from a bicycle is simply the best way to appreciate the contours of the land. Scotland wins marginally over England's south west, but probably only because the gradients are slightly less severe and when you do reach the highest point the views are breathtaking.
Thank you to everyone amongst our group and I'll see you out on a Bigfoot CC ride soon.