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FTC Cycle Training

Group Training Rides

Throughout the year the Club organises a series of group training rides. The ride is designed as a group activity where the aim is for the group to cover a certain distance together. It is not a race, and the general rule is that the group goes at the pace of the slowest cyclist. In this way it is hoped to provide opportunities for:

The distances and terrain chosen, vary each ride according to the difficulty of the ride and the time of year, e.g., a hilly ride will likely be shorter, off road mountain bike rides out of season. With longer rides, there will usually be a shorter option for those not wishing to go the full distance. Distances vary between 20 and 80 miles.

The club newsletter will contain details of the next group ride and forthcoming dates. Rides normally take place on Saturday mornings starting at 9 o’clock, generally starting and finishing at Hart Leisure Centre. All riders MUST WEAR A HELMET on an organised group ride (club strip is optional).

(For the location of Hart Leisure Centre click here).

Turbo Training

From October through until March the Club runs a weekly turbo-training session at Ewshot Village Hall near Farnham. Each session runs from 7:30pm to 9:00pm and is coached. The cost is £4-00 (in tokens) per person. (For a location map of Ewshot village hall click here).

Turbo-training allows you to continue cycling when the weather and the dark evenings do not allow cycling outside. Some advantages of turbo-training include the ability to strictly monitor effort levels through interval lengths and recovery times, learning to pedal with a smooth constant cadence, and the practicing the triathlon race position and transitions in a safe environment.

Each main set  focuses on one of the following: aerobic base, aerobic endurance, lactate threshold/tolerance, power, leg speed, transition training (bike to run).

You will need to bring the following items along to each session if you have them:

Each session consists of:

  1. warm-up of up to 10 minutes light spinning to get the heart and muscles ready for the main set.
  2. main set consisting of intervals of some description.
  3. warm-down of up to 10 minutes to bring down the heart rate and allow the body to recover
  4. stretching for 5 minutes of the major muscles groups worked (quads, hamstrings, glutes, groin and calves)

Each main set  focuses on one of the following: aerobic base, aerobic endurance, lactate threshold/tolerance, power, leg speed, transition training (bike to run).

Through the "Awards For All" lottery grant we will have two turbo trainers and two heart rate monitors for use by club members at these sessions. Should you wish to use one to try out the experience then please contact one of the coaches.

Winter Cycling

To make the most of your winter cycling follow this sound advice from Fraser Kennedy.

Also available as a Word document.

Some people view cycling in winter as purgatory, but in many rider’s eyes, it’s where the preparation for next year’ race success comes from, as well as providing an enjoyable means of socialising with club mates.

Whilst winter rides can be quite a sociable affair, riding at a speed that allows conversation, don’t rely on your ride-mates to get you home should something foreseeable go wrong i.e. apart from major crashes, I mean punctures, mechanicals, hunger knock, ravaging thirst or even snow blindness!

Winter training isn’t like summer cycling with warm clothes, but is a means of getting preparation or a base for next season. Usually, this means low intensity efforts for a longer duration in order to get your body more effective at burning fuel as well as training your muscles.

By following some of the advice given here, you should get more out of your winter riding which will hopefully translate into better results next year.

The 3 things to consider for winter riding are your bike, you the engine and the fuel that you put in the engine to propel it.

Firstly, winter weather and conditions are not good for your bike due to the water, grit and salt upon the roads. With a little bit of preparation, you should be able to prevent a lot of the damage that can occur over winter.

Good tyres are a must for winter – something a bit more puncture resistant for a start. Winter tyres are usually a bit cheaper that racing tyres, are more puncture resistant and last longer. Turning up for winter rides on a pair of worn racing tyres is only asking for trouble. It’s also worth checking your tyres before every ride – remove any embedded flints and check for sidewall cuts etc. Fix / change them before you leave home can prevent a lot of hassle out on the road.

On the subject of puncture prevention, eventually they will strike and being prepared is important. This means carrying at least one spare tube, tyre levers, a repair kit and a working pump. Don’t rely on anyone else – I’ve been on some rides where everyone got at least 2 punctures.

I’d recommend carrying a set of self-adhesive patches rather than a traditional repair kit, as they’re quicker and can also be used to patch a tyre if you get a cut sidewall.

Equally, make sure your bike pump works by testing it. Whilst some of these mini pumps look great and are very light, some are about as useful as a chocolate fireguard as they can’t achieve a reasonable pressure, or take so long that everyone’s got hypothermia whilst you’ve cooked yourself doing 500 strokes with your mini-pump. Best pumps are frame-fit ones such as Zefal HP-x, Topeak Road Warrior or Blackburn. There are some mini pumps such as the Blackburn Airstik that come close, but then again, cost the same as the better full size ones.

Finally, if you fancy freezing your fingers to the valve, get a CO2 inflator and then be prepared for a long walk home…

One of the main hazards of riding in winter is water on the road, and the pleasantness of having it sprayed in your face by the rider in front. There’s no excuse for not having mudguards fitted as you can get some clip-on ones such as SKS Raceblades which will fit any bike and save you from a wet backside. Now you understand why some people prefer riding on the front of the group in the wet.

Make sure that your bike is well serviced, with a well-lubed chain and working gears etc. Check it over the day before as there’s nothing more pleasant that having to fix a broken bike in the fading light with numb fingers on a winter’s eve…

One of the key things in enjoying your winter cycling is getting the right clothes for the job.

Whilst blue knees are very nice to look at, save us the honour of keeping them covered until spring.

Take a look at the weather forecast before you leave – so even though it’s a sunny winter’s day when you leave home, don’t be surprised when a cold front blows-in from the north east and soaks you in freezing rain.

Don’t make excuses about the weather, it’s only about people having the wrong clothes.

Try to avoid over-dressing as this means than you can get hot, sweaty, leading to damp and cold in the long run. Put a windproof jacket on for starters, but once warmed up you may be better removing it.

Layering is the best solution, with the object to stay warm, but not necessarily dry. Even the best breathable fabrics such as Gore-Tex Paclite won’t keep the sweat out when cycling and so waterproof shells are best kept for the rain only, unless of course you enjoy that ‘boil-in-the-bag’ feeling. Usually a good thermal top / base layer plus a long-sleeved jersey is ideal, with a windproof over that.

For the legs, a pair of fleece-backed or ‘roubaix’ tights over your normal cycling shorts are ideal. Bib-tights with shoulder staps are more comfortable and warmer around the mid-riff, but do make comfort stops a bit more problematic.

Keeping the extremities warm makes a huge difference to your comfort. A good pair of overshoes stop your feet from getting cold and in many cases wet as well. Likewise, good warm gloves keep your hands warm. I’m not a big fan of waterproof socks and gloves as they tend to trap moisture and get cold more quickly, particularly after 2-3 hours.

Finally, a thin fleece headband or hat under your helmet will keep your ears warm. Clear or yellow lenses on your glasses are good to keep the muck out your eyes and prevent infections such as conjunctivitis.

The final critical component for your bike in winter is lights and make sure you can be seen. Big advances have been made in recent years in terms of quality and visibility of lights. I’m sorry, but a pair of EveryReady’s finest don’t really cut the mustard as they jump from the bracket and bounce down the road into oblivion.

There are many relatively cheap flashing red LED lights available that you can fit to yourself or your bike. In my mind the more the better.

Front lights are a bit more problematic if you’re riding on unlit roads as most small battery lights aren’t powerful enough to illuminate the road. You really need at least a 10 watt halogen lamp for the front, minimum. The problem is that powerful lights need powerful and sometimes heavy batteries with the best systems costing hundreds of pounds. You don’t need to be so extravagant, but if you value your life and want to get the most from your winter cycling, £50-60 will buy you a decent rechargeable front-light that will make your rides much more pleasurable – and safer.

Having dealt with the bike and the rider, there’s one final ingredient missing – the fuel for the engine.

I still don’t understand how people can turn up for a 3-4 hour bike ride in winter with a single bottle of water and wonder why their legs give in on the way home.

Your energy requirements in winter can be greater than in summer as you require fuel to power your muscles and to keep warm. Equally, dehydration can be issue if working hard – particularly with warm clothes. Allow for 0.5 – 1.0 litre of fluid for every hour of riding. Use your favourite brand of energy drink, or at least some orange squash to give a little sugar boost. Try and drink regularly, a sip every 10-15 minutes rather than waiting until you’re thirsty.

To supplement your drink, some food will help to stave off the dreaded ‘bonk’ when your blood sugar / glycogen levels drop and your body starts metabolising stored reserves. Avoid anything too sugary as you can suffer from glycemic ‘spikes’ which can give you a quick boost and a corresponding low. Energy bars / Power bars can be expensive, so bananas, dried apricots / dates are good alternatives, as are some snack bars.

Knowing what will work best for you may take some time to work out, and we all learn from our own mistakes, but hopefully this should help you from making the most from your winter rides.

Fraser Kennedy

New Cycle Training Venue - Blackbushe Kart Track

From May 2011 FTC has secured the use of Blackbushe Kart Track for bike interval training sessions.

The track is a smooth surface ½ to ¾ mile circuit located behind the British Car Auctions site at Blackbushe (see link below).

Full details of session times will be issued in the weekly newsletter but in general sessions will be held on Thursday evenings as follows:

Adult  7pm/7.30pm to ~8.15pm depending on light

(Start time will be advised in the weekly email)

Training will be concentrated on interval sessions

and bike handling skills. There will also be the

opportunity to practice riding in a pack.

Cost of the session will be £4-00 (in tokens).

For the location of Blackbushe Kart Track click here.

In order to access the track, come in past the car

auctions buildings and continue through past the

compounds and car parks to the end, turn left and

you will find the entrance to the track through a gate

on the left. You will need to drive down a steep

pathway and into the car park area.

For those of you who don’t know it, it is a very

smooth ½ to ¾ mile circuit used for racing Karts.

As usual, no helmet no ride.

Winter Cycling.doc

FTC Track Night Video - courtesy David Wyatt

Another FTC Track Night Video - courtesy Rob Hunter

Summer Evening Time Trials

Location:  Preston Candover Village Hall.

When: Wednesday evenings.  (See current year Club Race Calendar for dates).

Time: 1830-2030pm

Distance: 30km

Cost of the session will be £4-00 (2 tokens).

NB: Entry by Eventbrite invitation only

A series of four summer evening time trials around our ironman training course. Nicely complimenting the Blackbushe track evenings.

Course Map (30km)

What you need to know;

All BTF competition and technical rules apply on the bike course, in particular use of an approved cycle helmet (Please note No helmet = no cycle!)

Details of parking arrangements will be made available but parking will be limited so please try to share transport (or cycle over!).

The course route is our ironman training weekend course. Pretty easy to commit to memory, fairly flat and scenic along small country lanes. You need to know the route beforehand.

·     You must wear a helmet and have a working rear light.

·     Tri-bars and aero setups allowed.

·     There may be prizes.

·     You must be self-sufficient in case of a mechanical or a puncture.

·     If you want to ride as a pair, then let us know.

·     The course is not ‘closed’ and the normal rules of the road apply, ie ride safely and be courteous to other road users.

·     If you’re feeling a bit daunted by this, then don’t be. There may also be a prize for the most improved athlete over the 4 events.

For more details, please contact Ali Wigg

Some Safety Notes on the Summer Evening Time Trial Course from Mark Richardson

There will be a few flints around (I punctured my Schwalbe Stelvio pluses for the first time in 2 years on the route – flint like a medieval axe-head) – not a route for your lightest tyres if it’s recently rained! Or at least make sure you have puncture repair kit with you.

A few of the corners are tight – the left turn after Swarraton – the right to climb up to Bentworth and the left as you enter Bentworth spring to mind – take care on these corners

Some of the lanes are “tight” approaching Bentworth and leaving Bentworth folks will HAVE TO SLOW DOWN so as not to spook any oncoming cars – likewise the cars should (theoretically at least) do the same.

There’s mud on the road in places due to farm traffic – expect it! and be extra careful in the wet.

There will be large numbers going round the course - the onus is on you to keep car drivers happy with our behaviour on the road.