Sprint Training Session

Sprint Training Session

Hi guys and girls this week I thought I’d share with you my Monday training session plan maybe have a go at it yourself.

You will need:

  • A bike
  • not to have eaten for an hour or two previously
  • a bottle of water and a snack for when you finish (banana or dates would be my choice)

Find a flattish road where there are no parked cars, tight bends or traffic lights to deal with you need to be able to give it your all safely.

Start by warming up for a good 20 minutes working in and out of the saddle to really warm those legs up.

Interval training is all about balancing high-intensity bursts of speed with recovery time. Not only will they help you improve aerobic capacity and speed, the post workout calorie burn is great. Remember to have something nutritious and protein packed for when you get home.

Start with 30 second (building up to 1 min over a period of 6 weeks) all-out effort. Then have 1 minute rest – repeat this 4 to 8 times. (building up over 6 weeks so not to overload too soon.)

After your reps have a 4 minute recovery spin keep your legs moving at a steady pace to help flush out the lactic acid.

Repeat this set 4 times.

After your final sprint change to a sub maximal effort for 5 to 10 minutes then have 10 minutes recovery.

Repeat this set one more time.

Recovery ride home, make sure you have a good meal / protein shake full of vitamins and protein to help your body recover. Also this session will make you hungry have some nuts (walnuts are great), blueberries and other healthy snacks on hand to stop you reaching for anything naughty.

I hope you enjoy this training session let me know how you get on.

Mountain Bike Holiday Camps for Kids

Mountain Bike Holiday Camps for Kids

Holiday cycling camps in full swing

Every summer I run holiday camps for beginner and advanced young riders. These are a great opportunity for youngsters to get outside during their summer holidays and have fun on their bikes and learn some new skills.

Over the course of an hour and a half we move around the trail at Queen Elizabeth Country Park practising different techniques on different parts of the trail based on the group’s ability.

I usually run a beginner and advanced group so that I can tailor the activity to suit the group’s ability.

This week I have also ran a mixed ability group, the advantage of this was being able to use the more experienced riders to do demos not only did this mean the beginners got a visual representation but the more advanced riders got to talk through how they would approach a trail feature and demonstrate their skills which made them feel more confident in their ability.

Here are a few pictures of what we get up to on camps:

If you would like to book your child onto a camp please contact Hannah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Pedal 2 Pedal for more information on camps and coaching for adults and children.

How to – Descend with confidence

How to – Descend with confidence

Whether you’re riding on or off-road after working hard to get to the top of the hill it’s good to be able to recover and enjoy the descent.

In this blog post I am going to give you my top tips for going downhill on your bike with confidence.

Mountain Bike:

Going downhill on a mountain bike is the most exciting part, most of the time, gravity takes charge and with good skill you can navigate down almost any terrain whilst the countryside zips past, with the wind on your face and the ground undulating underneath you it’s a thrilling experience, as long as you feel safe and in control that is.

 

 

Here are my tips on riding with confidence downhill on a mountain bike.

  • Get your body in the correct position. Make sure your feet are level on the pedals, this is called the ready position; raise your bum off the saddle so you can move around on the bike. Have a bend in your knees and elbows, your heels should be down pushing into your pedals.
  • Keep two fingers over your brakes all the time this allows you to gently squeeze them on as and when you need them. Use your back brake before your front brake.
  • Stay relaxed. Your knees should be pointing slightly outside your toes, not gripping your frame and your upper body should be loose. Do a few shoulder rolls and you will soon find out if you have tensed up.
  • Look where you want to go. This sounds like an obvious one but looking further ahead enables you to pick the best line down the trail so you can flow down the single-track not losing any speed and avoiding obstacles.
  • Practise makes perfect. Practise your descending technique on hills you feel comfortable with and as you feel more confident move to steeper longer descents.

Road bike:

The speeds you can reach on a road bike can be incredible, to enable you to be safe on the roads here are some key points you should follow.

  • Controlled braking. Control your speed using periods of braking with both your front and rear brake together with equal force.
  • Descend on the drops. You can get more leverage on the brake levers if your hands are on the drops, rather than the hoods.
  • Body position. If you want to slow up use your body as a wind brake by sitting up.
  • Look ahead for hazards. It’s important to spot hazards early, which means looking well ahead down the road to anticipate any potential obstacles, changes in terrain or oncoming traffic. Wet drain covers, painted lines, speed bumps, gravel and leaves should be avoided were possible.
  • Set your speed before a corner. This applies off-road as well; setting yourself up to carry the speed you are comfortable with around the corner is important for smooth, safe cornering.

I hope you have found these tips helpful. If you would like to find out about coaching or have a question please comment below.

 

Thank you

How to – Hill climbing, tips to reach the top.

How to – Hill climbing, tips to reach the top.

Having spoken to some friends and followers I am going to write cycling tips every other week (I may put in some newbie mountaineering and kitesurfing tips to mix it up a little as well) Follow along my subscribing to my blog (link at bottom of home page). I hope you enjoy, comment with any questions about cycling.

To kick it off here are my top tips for better hill climbing.

Long steady hill climbs can be really tough that feeling like the hill may never end is one I have felt many times before. But don’t fear most hills end, eventually and the reward of the view and a well-earned drink stop from the top can be well worth your achy legs and perspiration on the way up.

Tip one – When reaching the bottom of a climb don’t change down into your lowest gear, not only will your legs be spinning like crazy and you will lose the speed you have gained in the previous flat or downhill but you then have nowhere to go should the climb get steeper or more tricky. Instead if you need to change down one gear lower and work on a basis of when your cadence drops counting to 10 and then changing down, that way you get the most out of each gear change.

Tip two – Breath, as it starts to get harder doesn’t forget to breath, try breathing in and out in time with your pedal strokes in through your nose and out through you mouth if you can. Try not to breath too quickly as this will psyche you out.

Tip three – Look ahead and focus on breaking the hill down into milestones. Once it starts to get hard if the climb in lasting over 10/15 minutes break it down into manageable chunks and see every chunk as a mini goal that way you don’t think of the climb as one mega beast but several small beasts joined together, much more manageable!

Tip four – To stretch out your back and also work other muscles, if the hill is not too steep stand up on the pedals for sections of the climb this will allow you to put more power through the pedals.  If the surface is loose don’t stand up as your weight on the back wheel will spin/slip out.

Tip five – Steady cadence, try and keep your pedals going round at a smooth & consistent pace. If you feeling like your pushing really hard on your pedals go down a gear or two, likewise if you feel your feet are spinning then you can probably go up a gear.

So these are my five top tips to improve your hill climbing if you would like more tips and coaching please get in touch.

Exciting times as my local club grows

Exciting times as my local club grows

Four years ago I started Pedal 2 Pedal to help the next generation of mountain bikers have access to coaching in my local area, Petersfield. There was no cycling club within about 40 minutes of Petersfield and I wanted to help give back to the sport which had given me so much. So after doing my coaching qualifications Pedal 2 Pedal was born. I advertised in local schools in the Hampshire area and soon enough had my first six week cycling course off the ground.

Four years on and the club has expanded to a mountain bike academy of 20 riders and in 2017 a new Saturday club which aims to give young people the opportunity to get into cycling whatever their age or ability.

The Saturday club sessions have run once a month with the help of two parents who have done their coaching qualifications, some Saturday’s between the three of us there has been 27 children aged between 4 and 10. The first round of Saturday’s has just finished and the feedback has been fantastic.  New dates available now.

My aim is to build the Saturday cycling club so that it can be sustainable and help more young riders get into and try cycle sport. With the aim of becoming a Go Ride cycling club once the structure and support is in place.

One parent said: “Sam has attended the Saturday camps Hannah has set up at Petersfield School. They have been well organised and are teaching him basic skills in a safe and fun environment. He has loved every moment of the classes and it’s been great to see him grow in confidence on his bike and apply what he has learnt when cycling elsewhere.”

Cycling is a great sport for young people as its non-weight bearing and helps get kids outdoors and active.

Some of the general benefits provided by cycling are:

  • It helps kids understand their local environment and feel part of it sustaining and looking after the area in which they live
  • It helps build independence
  • It develops muscle strength
  • It has also been reported by many teachers that kids who walk or cycle to school are more alert and ready to learn than those arriving by car
  • A good healthy habit that lasts a lifetime
  • Cyclists breathe in less pollution from traffic as compared to car drivers
  • Being part of a team and learning good social skills with other people

I hope my cycle coaching can go on to encourage more young riders on to their bikes. My next goal run some women’s cycling sessions both on and off-road. Message me if you’re interested

Thanks for reading x

 

 

So your child wants to race… – Guest post by Steve

So your child wants to race… – Guest post by Steve

So you want your child to race… Or maybe, your child wants to race… Sometimes it’s different, sometimes it’s the same thing.

I was asked to put into an article context of what it’s like to be the parent of a youngster who’s racing Cross-Country mountain biking (XC).

For me, the past few seasons have been really interesting, really chaotic at times, very rewarding and completely heartbreaking.

My son races XC in usually either the Southern XC series or the Banjo Cycles sponsored XC Rampage series.

He’s been massively interested in bikes since the first time at under 3 years old when he started riding without stabilisers.

I’d assume my own interests in riding and racing have gone some way to nurturing his own development, but I try to ensure I don’t force him or push him to ride in any context.  I just let him ride when he wants, how he wants.

It’s exceptionally rewarding as he’s growing, both as a rider and as a person, we’re doing longer rides, we’re doing harder terrain and he’s pushing himself more and more when he goes out, both physically and mentally.

I obviously encourage him to race/ride, but the ultimate decision comes down to him.

The racing can to some extent be amazing to watch/see and can of course be heartbreaking.

Season 1 for my boy was a bit of both.  He had a habit of being a complete power monster coming off the line and led 4 out of 5 races at XC Rampage, using his strength and power to blow away the pack chasing him. However, that’s also where the glory and amazing bits ended, he also had a nasty habit of being the rider who crashed…Usually at XC Rampage series, out of the leading position!

One time we were at Checkendon, he led by 30s on lap 2, going into the woods….time passed…. More time passed… The rider in 2nd place popped out of the trees… but my son didn’t…. The cries were heard from our position and myself and my wife looked at each other with “Yup, that’s our boy crying”. It still to some extent gives me shivers and goosebumps just writing it down. Of course, he was fine… in 99.9% of crashes at their speed, you get little more than a bit of a bump and a 1mm cut… but at the time he was heartbroken, upset and all you can do as a parent is give them a hug and some Haribo, it solves all problems does Haribo! 🙂

The ecstasy came at XC Rampage the race later, where my son once again led…. But crashed this time going into the woods and lost first place, but did re-mount and get a 2nd place finish, which was of course brilliant…. He was on a high for days and you really feel like you’ve accomplished something.

Taking them racing can be quite daunting, but it really shouldn’t be… Not every kid out there can win, not every kid out there actually wants to be competitive, but there’s nothing right or wrong about either perspective.

We go into every weekend with the same moto “have fun and enjoy yourself”…. The day he stops enjoying it, that’s the day we hang up the pedals and call it a day. But anyway, you turn up at a large field of riders, you think “oh my… what do we do now”, the answer is simpler than you sometimes think. It’s as simple as walking over to the big tent and asking the people at the desks, this is what they do, what they’re used to and what they (for some weird reason) really enjoy, they enjoy making your day easier, better and more fun.

 

 

You put a number on the bike, your child lines up and they’re OFF!

For better or worse you watch them disappear into the woods.  (Or indeed if they’re really small you can run alongside them, nothing wrong with that at all) You’re then waiting… patiently, or impatiently until they pop out of the woods, come down the start/finish and they go off again. You’ll be shocked and impressed how well they’re doing, you’ll be astounded they can carry on after riding so hard and fast, but you know what, they’re far more resilient than we think, they’re far more into this racing thing that we expect and they’re coming past looking exhausted, but they’re not stopping, they just carry on… some on little wheels, some like my son, now on 26” wheels and flying along.

Eventually they cross the line to the flag and they’ve done it… they may be 1st, they may be 25th, but they’ve done it and completed it. All around the group of parents and children you can hear the praise and the “daddy daddy, I did…… “ and you just give them a hug and laugh, while trying not to shed a tear at the same time, welling up as a proud parent does throughout the life of your youngsters.

After this, it can get serious, it can get a little more complex, don’t forget, a lot of the parents of racing kids are racers themselves, me included… But you have to sometimes reign it in, hold it back, remember why we’re doing this. We’re doing this for fun… for pleasure and enjoyment. But the bike upgrades begin, the Halfords special is swapped for an Islabikes Beinn, the school PE shorts are swapped for Endura baggies or Lycra and instead of your Sundays being taken up by nice strolls with the dog, you’re off XC Racing again…. And again.

I’m exceptionally lucky that with my boy now being  9 and a big lad for his age, he’s on a 26” bike, that means that heading out for a ride with him is fun for all of us, he now joins us for the ‘mens ride’ on Friday evenings, which means a Ridgeway ride over to Wantage to Costa coffee and a 15 mile ride, where we stuff him full of Gingerbread men and cake and he gets to laugh with the big guys and do some ‘crazy roots’ on the way round… What he doesn’t realise though is we’re secretly training, training both his legs, his heart, his skills and his mind… It’s all cycling, it’s all fun, but it’s training too. He encourages this as when we get to certain parts it’s met with “Daddy, shall we race to that tree”… I’m really fortunate that I still have it in my legs and heart to beat him! But time is passing, it’s running out and soon, he’ll be trouncing me on the sprint to the tree! I’m looking forward to that day though in honesty.

The courses the kids ride are brilliant, they’re fun but not too insane… You do see some kids walking sections, but you know what, there’s nothing wrong with that, they’ll ride it next time, as their skills and confidence improves, they’ll shock you by saying “we may as well have a try”  and in most of these times, they’ll make it… they’ll ride off laughing as you shake your head and think “Sheesh, I’m not sure I can ride that myself”

 

If I were to sit here and think of the downsides, well, there’s not many, but if your child is at the pointy end of the race it is your time and your wallet that takes the downsides, new bikes as they grow along with training groups/clubs and the time and expense to get to them. But they’re all worth it, it’s what we do as parents, we try to give our kids the best, the things we never had when we were kids and the chances to excel that we were never able to have ourselves for whatever the reason. My son is right up there in my world as my ‘best mate’ anyone who sees us, rides with us or plays football/whatever with us, soon sees that, the racing and cycling has given us this bond and keeps it strong within us both.. We spend masses of time together getting to forests, to mountains and just out riding, but you can’t put a price on the reward of spending time with you child.

 

Where do I see this all going… Heck, I don’t really know. This season he’s riding in the Southern XC series, the kids he may have beaten last year are riding more, training more and are faster than  they were, this all means that my son is currently 5th – 7th place in the finishing positions, but he thinks (as do I ) that he can make the step up back to the podium some time soon ! What happens in the future, well that’s impossible to say… but the journey keeps giving us pleasure, so we’ll go with it 😉

 

As a parent, the two pieces of advice I’m giving are “keep it fun” and “talk to the other parents”… We’re all there cheering our own and other kids on.. but we’re all just regular people too… Join in… make it fun for you as well as fun for them.

 

See you out there.