Riding Green: Embracing Sustainable Travel Through Cycling Adventures
In a world where sustainability is becoming increasingly crucial, more and more travellers are seeking eco-friendly alternatives to explore the beauty of our planet. One such mode of sustainable travel that is gaining popularity is cycling. Join us on a journey through the lanes of green travel, exploring how cycling not only promotes a healthier lifestyle but also contributes to a more sustainable and eco-conscious way of exploring the world.
**1. Eco-Friendly Commuting:**
Cycling is not just an activity for the weekends; it's a sustainable means of transportation for daily commuting. By choosing a bike over a car, you reduce your carbon footprint, decrease traffic congestion, and contribute to cleaner air in urban environments. Embracing cycling as a mode of transportation aligns with the principles of sustainable living and leaves a positive impact on the environment.
**2. Low Impact, High Adventure:**
Unlike many other forms of travel, cycling has a minimal environmental impact. The only carbon emissions come from the rider, and the energy required is significantly lower compared to motorised transportation. As you pedal through scenic landscapes, you're minimising your ecological footprint while maximising your connection to the environment.
**3. Connecting with Local Communities:**
Cycling allows travellers to engage more intimately with the places they visit. As you navigate through local villages, towns, and countryside, you become a part of the landscape rather than just an observer. This mode of travel encourages interactions with local communities, promoting cultural exchange and supporting local economies.
**4. Sustainable Tourism:**
Cyclists often choose routes that showcase the natural beauty and cultural richness of a region. By promoting sustainable tourism, cyclists contribute to the preservation of these areas. Many cycling enthusiasts actively seek for blog eco-friendly accommodations, locally sourced food, and businesses that prioritise environmental conservation, thereby supporting businesses that share their commitment to sustainability.
**5. Mindful Travel:**
Cycling allows for a slower, more deliberate travel experience. This slower pace not only provides a deeper connection with the surroundings but also allows for more mindful and reflective travel. Travellers can appreciate the landscapes, wildlife, and local cultures in a way that is simply not possible when zipping by in a car.
**6. Adventure with a Purpose:**
Many cyclists are combining their passion for adventure with a purpose. Bikepacking trips and long-distance cycling challenges are often used to raise awareness about environmental issues or support charitable causes. This combination of adventure and activism adds a meaningful dimension to sustainable travel through cycling.
In the pursuit of sustainable travel, cycling emerges as a powerful and accessible option. Beyond being an eco-friendly mode of transportation, cycling embodies a spirit of adventure, community engagement, and mindful exploration. So, the next time you plan your travel, consider the humble bicycle – a green and sustainable companion that takes you places, enriches your experiences, and leaves the world a little better than you found it. Pedal on, and let your journey be a testament to the beauty of sustainable travel.
World Mental Health Day: A Crucial Reminder to Prioritize Well-being
In a fast-paced and demanding world, it's easy to overlook the significance of mental health. However, on this World Mental Health Day, we are reminded of the importance of caring for our well-being. This annual event, observed on October 10th, serves as a powerful reminder that mental health matters and deserves our attention. In this blog, we will delve into why World Mental Health Day holds such significance and explore the reasons why prioritizing mental well-being is essential for individuals and society as a whole.
1. Raising Awareness:
World Mental Health Day plays a vital role in raising awareness about mental health issues. By shining a spotlight on this topic, it encourages open conversations and reduces the stigma surrounding mental health conditions. This day prompts individuals to reflect on their own mental well-being and encourages them to seek help when needed. Increased awareness leads to a more empathetic and supportive society, fostering an environment where individuals are comfortable discussing their mental health struggles without fear of judgment.
2. Highlighting the Prevalence of Mental Health Issues:
One in four people worldwide will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. World Mental Health Day brings attention to the widespread prevalence of mental health issues, emphasizing that no one is immune to them. By acknowledging the prevalence, we can break down barriers, provide support, and work towards creating a society that prioritizes mental well-being.
3. Promoting Mental Health Education:
Education is key when it comes to mental health. World Mental Health Day serves as a platform for disseminating knowledge about mental health conditions, their causes, symptoms, and available treatments. It encourages individuals to learn more about mental health, empowering them to spot signs of distress in themselves and others. By promoting mental health education, we equip people with the tools to support themselves and those around them effectively.
4. Advocating for Accessible and Affordable Care:
Access to mental health services is crucial for those in need. World Mental Health Day draws attention to the importance of making mental health care accessible and affordable for all. It highlights the gaps in mental health services and advocates for equitable distribution of resources. By amplifying the need for adequate support systems, this day encourages governments, organizations, and communities to invest in mental health care infrastructure.
5. Encouraging Self-Care and Well-being:
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, self-care often takes a backseat. World Mental Health Day reminds us of the significance of self-care practices and prioritizing our mental well-being. It encourages us to take time for ourselves, engage in activities that bring joy, and practice mindfulness. By nurturing our mental health, we enhance our resilience, productivity, and overall quality of life.
World Mental Health Day serves as a poignant reminder that mental health is just as important as physical health. By raising awareness, promoting education, advocating for accessible care, and encouraging self-care, this day plays a crucial role in fostering a mentally healthier society. Let us seize this opportunity to reflect on our own mental well-being and extend our support to others. Together, we can create a world where mental health is valued, understood, and prioritized.
Ben Thomas's outing at the European Gravel Championships
The end of season is in sight but the two most prestigious events on the gravel calendar remain, European and World championships. Win one of these two races and your name is etched in sporting history. These races are still in their infancy, it was the first Europeans this weekend and next weekend will be the second Worlds. For many a race like the Traka arguably still holds more credibility as the biggest gravel race in Europe. The race course in Belgium was dubbed as a very flat race on cobbles through the forest, there were very few proper offroad sectors with any technical features. It was a track that suited a road cyclist. A gravel bike with 38c slick road tyres would win the womens race and a road bike with cyclocross tyres would win the mens race! What does day about the sport? Is certainly doesn't help the bike industry which its pouring money into this discipline. There is absolutely no way such setup could win a race like the Traka. At the Rift this year lots of riders were on 50c gravel tyres the course was so rough. What is a gravel race though? There is no official definition and no guidelines on bikes from the UCI except that they must have drop bars. The sport will evolve in future years and hopefully these big championships will change from using a gravel route you can win on a road bike to proper gravel routes we race on everywhere else.
Fortunately, the course raced far better than it rode and where the course lacked the event made up for in other areas. Live TV coverage on Sporza and GCN+, a first for gravel in Europe. A huge turnout of spectators with over 25,000 out in the forests, the start finish was packed, as were several fan zones out on course, the smell of Belgium beer and frits filled the air! The race attracted the biggest stars of the sport, the title and jersey a huge draw for these professional athletes. The start list was impressive with a mix of specialists from gravel, cyclocross, mountain bike and road. 1667 participant attending the events from 31 different countries.
After not starting World Marathon Champs in August due to illness it felt great to be back racing such a huge event. Covid meant I had 2.5 weeks off the bike in July and August, it’s taken a long time to regain form, my fitness is down 30 CTL from late spring and early summer, threshold power is down 20 watts. Another week of illness mid-September was another blow. Most people wouldn't even bother starting European and World Champs knowing they are so far from their best but I was determined to have fun racing my Lauf Seigla as fast as possible.
At the end I was 45th over the line, just ahead of the likes of Daniel Oss, Philippe Gilbert and David Van Der Poel! I couldn't match my pre season goal of top 20 or beat my 28 number board but was riding about there until a puncture on the third of five laps. Fortunately the Squirt sealant plugged the hole so I only had to put air in the tyre once which was a quick repair. The stop meant I lost the group though and dropped back to the next group on the road. It was a crazy fast race, the first 27 km lap was done at 37 kph, 369 watts normalized! I finished feeling absolutely cracked having run out of gels and energy drink with over an hour to go, I was very jealous of everyone who had feed zone support.
In the female race over 131km, a group of 4 broke away on the final local lap with sprinter Lorena Wiebes (NED), cyclocross world champion Fem van Empel (NED), Elena Cecchini (ITA) and Tiffany Cromwell (AUS) battling for victory. Cromwell, not battling for the European title managed to get away in the last uphill to finally win with a small gap to Wiebes taking silver and the European title and van Empel as overall bronze.
The men battling for their titles over 160km or one extra lap saw a big group of 25 breaking away on the big loop. From that group Alex Colman (BEL) got a one minute gap on the second last lap, but it was Jasper Stuyven (BEL) who came back after puncture to close the gap and go over Colman to take a minute gap to the group behind to take the first European title in the men elite. Tim Merlier (BEL) outsprinted Paul Voss (GER) for silver and bronze.
Another fantastic weekend of racing bikes is complete, I know look forward to pulling on GB colours for Worlds Champs on the 8th of October in Italy.
The Vital Importance of Renewing Components for Winter Cyclocross Racing
With winter approaching, cyclocross enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the exhilaration of racing through muddy fields, conquering obstacles, and challenging the elements. However, before gearing up for winter cyclocross racing, it is crucial not to overlook a vital step: renewing your bike's components. In this blog, we will explore why renewing components is essential and how it can enhance your performance, safety, and overall enjoyment of cyclocross racing.
1. Optimum Performance:
Cyclocross races demand peak performance from both you and your bike. Over time, components such as brake pads, tires, and drivetrain parts can wear down, affecting their effectiveness. By renewing these key components, you ensure that your bike operates at its best, delivering the responsiveness and reliability you need to navigate challenging terrain, execute quick maneuvers, and maintain control during races.
2. Enhanced Safety:
Safety is paramount in any sport, including cyclocross. The nature of cyclocross racing exposes your bike to harsh conditions like mud, wet grass, and slippery surfaces. Worn-out components can significantly reduce your ability to stop quickly, maintain traction, or shift gears reliably, putting you at a greater risk of accidents and injuries. By renewing components before the season begins, you mitigate these risks and create a safer racing environment for yourself and others.
3. Improved Durability:
Cyclocross races are known for their demanding nature, which can put strain on your bike. Constant exposure to mud, water, and rough terrain can cause components to degrade and potentially fail prematurely. By proactively renewing key components, you increase their durability and resistance to these harsh conditions. This not only extends the lifespan of your bike but also minimizes the chances of mechanical issues disrupting your races.
4. Competitive Advantage:
In cyclocross, every second counts. The ability to brake later, accelerate faster, and maintain consistent performance can make a significant difference in your results. By renewing components, you optimize your bike's efficiency, giving yourself a competitive edge. Smooth-shifting drivetrains, grippy tires, and reliable braking systems can help you gain valuable positions, overtake competitors, and achieve your racing goals.
5. Overall Enjoyment:
Cyclocross is an exciting sport that combines athleticism, strategy, and a sense of camaraderie. Ensuring that your bike's components are in excellent condition through renewal enhances your overall enjoyment of the sport. You can focus on the thrill of racing, rather than worrying about mechanical issues or subpar performance. With a well-maintained bike, you'll have the confidence to push your limits, tackle challenging obstacles, and fully immerse yourself in the cyclocross experience.
Renewing components before winter cyclocross racing is a crucial step that should not be overlooked. It optimizes your bike's performance, enhances safety, improves durability, provides a competitive advantage, and ultimately enhances your enjoyment of the sport. So, before you hit the cyclocross course this winter, take the time to inspect, renew, and fine-tune your components. Get ready to conquer the challenges ahead and embrace the thrill of cyclocross racing with confidence!
Chasing World Champions at Houffa Gravel
The latest round of the UCI Gravel World Series took place this weekend in Houffalize, Belgium. Houffa Gravel would be the second last qualifier of the season and attracted one of the biggest stars in cycling, the vice world champion in road and cross, Wout van Aert who choose this to be his first UCI Gravel event with the plan to do the World Championships later this season in Italy. Huge battles for the win were expected with last year’s winners Jasper Ockeloen and Tessa Neefjes, and other top stars like Niki Terpstra, Peter Vakoc, Paulina Rooijakkers, Johnny Hoogerland, Jan Bakelants and gravel specialists Ivar Slik, Piotr Havik, Hayley Simmonds, Paul Voss, plus cyclocross riders Joris Nieuwenhuis, Manon Bakker, Daan Soete; Ryan Kamp and Lander Loockx all being in attendance.
This would be my third entry into the 2023 series having already raced events in the Netherlands in April and Spain in June. This would be the biggest event in the series in terms of start numbers and competitiveness making it tricky to match my fourth place from last year, especially after missing two and a half weeks of training in July due to illness. I was great to be back in the Ardennes once again, an area I’ve fallen in love with since first visiting way back in 2012 when racing the MTB XCO World Cup. Since then I’ve been here for cross country, marathon, multi day stage and gravel races. I’ve travelled here with many friends and clients, this time travelling with wife and three-year-old son, it would be their first time to the area so I was excited for them to enjoy this beautiful region and experience the atmosphere of one of these events.
Race day dawned and the techno music boomed from the start line where thousands of eager participants were lining up ready to take on the challenging route. At 8.30 approached the tension rose and the medio crews gathered to capture images and quotes from Wout. With the press cleared out of the way the countdown began. Time slows down until the gun blasts and everything goes into fast forwards. The 110km race starts up the Côte du Saint Roch before winding through the beautiful woods around the city for a race with 1560m of elevation.
The start climb ends the hopes of many before even completing the opening few kilometres. This year I was on my limit trying to hold the front group up the climb and was unable to move forwards when we crested the top as sped towards the first section of gravel, I could feel those missing watts after having covid 3 weeks ago. Despite the illness I set my fastest time up the 910m climb with its 109m’s of elevation, my Rotor INspider and Wahoo Elemnt Bolt tell me I rode at an average of 506 watts for 3 minutes 21. Very quickly the gravel road narrows until we are riding single file, you needed to be towards the front as the race was splitting as gaps opened due to differences in technical ability. I watch the front group establish but wasn’t confident enough to immediately close the gap, soon it was too late and my chance of a racing for the podium was gone. I tell many coaching clients, it’s only when you’ve learnt your limits and have the confidence to push to your limits that you’ll get the very best from yourself. Today though I’m thinking negatively, I tell myself I should be riding cautiously, I don’t know my current limits after being ill and it’s better to save some energy. Riding in the second group would avoid the fireworks which would inevitably be happening up front.
I settle into a group of around ten and we speed along until we miss a turn, the same turn everyone missed last year, I even knew it was coming up but the speed was so high it was impossible to slow down for the turn in time. This allowed the group behind us to catch. As we rejoin the route and accelerated back up to speed the pressure was on as riders looked to take advantage of our mistake. I had to work hard at this point but soon found myself back in the second group. Soon the group splits again with age group world champion Kevin Panhuyzen, myself and one other rider making a break. We worked well together keeping the pace high trying to establish our gap to the riders behind. The pace is high uphill, on the flat and downhill. At this point in the race I am on my limit physically and pulling short turns, luckily Kevin is flying and is confident enough to do the bulk of the work on the front to help us maintain our advantage. I know I need to hand onto his wheel if I’m going to maintain a top ten finish.
I’m super thankful to be on the Lauf Seigla at this race, the suspension fork and compliant frame make a huge difference on what is one of the rougher gravel tracks I’ve done. The 45c Schwalbe G One R tyres at 29 psi, tyre inserts and Strada Gravel Ultra Plus wheels also help maintain my momentum. On one of the more technical trails one of the riders in our group punctures, leaving just Kevin and me. If you were on the mountain bike you’d have the dropper down on many of these descents and likely go much quicker on many of the trails. There were plenty of gravel bikes rocking 50c tyres for this race, Wout was stuck on 38c tyres due to sponsorship commitments!
With around 30 kilometres to go Petr Vakoc catches us, riding at a speed like he’s on a motorbike, there are two others tucked onto his wheel. We join this trio but this group quickly splits with two riders not having the same technical ability as us. Kevin and I hang on to Petr wheel for as long as possible until he gaps us on a climb. I learn later learn that Petr was keeping pace with Wout at the front of the race before puncturing. With Petr gone we can settle back into a steady pace, only disrupted when Kevin takes his white world champs kit for a slide through a huge muddy puddle! It was pretty spectacular but he was back up on the bike quickly and able to rejoin me after a few minutes.
It was no surprise to see Wout van Aert emerge victorious in his maiden UCI Gravel race. What truly turned heads, however, was the commanding 9-minute lead he established over the rest of the field, an achievement even he found impressive. Wout’s training partner Daan Soete (BEL) would finish second, ahead of Paul Voss (GER) who had previously showcased his prowess by winning in Aachen earlier in the season.
A similar narrative unfolded in the women's race as Pauliena Rooijakkers (NED) established an early lead over her fellow Dutch rider Sabrina Stultiens (NED). She maintained her dominance throughout the race, ultimately securing victory with nearly a 2-minute advantage over Stultiens. Meanwhile, mountain biker Stefanie Dohrn (GER), who had finished as the runner-up the previous year, clinched the third spot on the podium this time, claiming the bronze medal.
I raced with Kevin to the line, opting not to outsprint him in thanks of his support earlier in the race. I would finish up in eighth, less than three minutes away from a top five and five minutes off the podium. With the high level of competition and limited preparation I’m more than satisfied with the result. I now have three weeks till Nationals and another two weeks till European Championships, enough time to hopefully sharpen up for a big end to the season. First some recovery in needed, each of these trips takes a lot of work. Two full days of travelling, 700 miles of driving and two ferries, all to do a four-hour race! It’s well worth the effort though when the adventure takes you to places and events as special as this one.
The Rift - a gravel race like no other, an adventure like no other
Nothing can prepare you for the spectacular nature that greets you in Iceland, to race through this landscape is a dream come true. Raylyn Nuss perfectly summed up the route, “it was definitely the prettiest, most scenic, beautiful race I’ve done in my life."
The race course starts out of a small town along the southern coast called Hvolsvöllur. This incredible shoreline stretches from the greater Reykjavík area in the west to the magnificent Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in the east. It is lined with countless natural wonders such as cascading waterfalls, black sand beaches, glaciers and volcanoes. Every July The Rift gravel race brings participants from all over the world to Iceland, this year the event sold out with 1100 participants, amazingly half of those entries were from the United States. This event is building a reputation as one of the biggest and best gravel races in Europe. The event began in 2016 and Olafur Thorarensen tells of how the idea was to bring people to the Icelandic highlands and show the best of Iceland’s nature and landscape.
Now part of the Gravel Earth Series the level of competitiveness was a big step up from previous years. The best gravel racers were here to fight for that top step on the podium and the series lead. After having one and a half weeks off training due to illness just before the race my expectations were low, I wanted to enjoy the trip and race hard on the day with whatever I had.
I arrived on Thursday after an early flight and spent the rest of the day exploring the tourist sights. It was a rookie error only having half a day free though as there was so much I didn’t get to see. From day break to dawn your jaw is wide open in amazement of the scenery around you, the landscape is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
On Friday’s short ride I rode about 2 hours of the race track including the out and back part of the track. The route is like a lollipop heading north before navigating around one of the most active volcanos on the island, Hekla. The final kilometres of the course are the same as the opening kilometres but in reverse. On Fridays short ride I got a good understanding of the mix of terrain on this 200 kilometre route. There was junky gravel, wide open smooth gravel, washboard gravel and a little tarmac, all traversing lots of big rolling hills with some super steep climbs.
My bike for the race was the Lauf Seigla, a bike built for this race and this terrain. It is a gravel bike like no other. If you haven't tried one yet you should, your gravel rides will suddenly become a lot more fun! I ran 45c Schwalbe G One R tyres at 26 and 27 psi with tyre inserts, all mounted on some Strada Gravel Ultra Plus wheels. It was the perfect setup although the gravel was so rough in places I'd be interested to try a 50c tyre with even lower pressure. I’m not sure how anyone could complete this race without the Lauf suspension fork!
Race day dawned, another silly early start, but for good reason. The race began at 7am, there were still people finishing at bed time! The start line was buzzing with nervous cyclists, all packed full of carbohydrates ready for a massive day on the bike. Whether you were racing fast or just wanting to complete the distance this was a huge challenge. The beats from the stereo system make the floor vibrate but focused minds block out the noise. The start orders are given and the noise suddenly hits you again.
We are off! The first few kilometres are behind the car as we safely leave town. A left turn and we’re offroad, the pace gets faster and faster as we crest the first hills and hit the first river crossings. The race splits apart there. Some people riding through the water, some running, plenty swimming! Pretty quickly there is a group of maybe 20 people at the front, we speed through the first feed zone and out onto the next part of the route. We pass through vast lava fields on narrow gravel tracks, ahead lay a series of climbs which get bigger and steeper each one you pass. This was the breaking point for the group. A fast pace saw people getting dropped off the back, then some attacks saw the decisive move happen. A group of around 8 formed at the front. At the 75 kilometer point we reach the unrideable climb, this towering monster can be seen from miles around, perched on top are the media teams waiting to capture the action. We are off running and the pressure is on over the top, my cyclocross remount keeps me in the group. The pace is high and the track is rough but I cannot stop looking around in awe at the surroundings, there is plenty to distract you from the fact you aren’t even half way through the race route.
Without the media teams covering the race and the feed zones you’d feel very far from anything at many points in the race. We were lucky with the weather, I can see the race being very challenging on a wet and cold day. The river crossings were icy cold today with water coming down from the melting snow. By half way there was seven of us together, all taking turns equally on the front to set the pace, we were working well as a group taking turns to set the pace on the front. We speed through the kilometres but it was becoming obvious this was going to be a 7 hour race rather than the 6.5 I'd prepared for. I could feel my energy levels dropping. My nutrition was all used up but I tried my best to hide my fatigue. I was very happy when the penultimate feed zone appeared, I quickly grabbed two gels and a bottle of energy drink which undoubtedly saved my race.
During the final 50 kilometres I expected the race to come alive but everyone was either on the limit or very confident of their sprint. Last year’s winner Nathan Haas tried to split the race at the final river crossing and onto the final offroad climb but we all regrouped. Onto the tarmac and it looked like a sprint would decide the win. Six of us came into town together, all on the drops, all ready to pounce. Who'd go first? I ended up on the front but used that to have a chance to react when the sprint opened up behind. We crawled into town and then it was go time! After 7 hours of racing we sprinted for the win. Simen Nordahl Svendsen had the winning kick but second to fourth was a photo finish with everyone on the same second. After initially being shown as third on timing I was bumped down to fourth once the photo had been checked. It was a shame not to podium but I have nothing but good memories from this trip to Iceland and The Rift.
The men’s top six was Simen, then Ivar Slik, Paul Voss, myself, Mattia de Marchi and Nathan Haas. Carolin Schiff won the women’s race ahead of Raylyn Nuss, Serena Gordon, Svenja Betz and Hafdis Sigurdardottir. Simen wrote on his Instagram, “With blisters in my hands and some small wounds after a crash, I was able to celebrate across the finish line after nearly 7 hours on the bike. What a day.” Carolin Schiff summed up her raced by writing, “This was definitely one of the hardest gravel races I’ve done so far. Had it on my bucket list since I discovered gravel racing. Beautiful and very special landscape combined with bumpy, stony and sandy roads. A lot of crossings through icy rivers. A day I will remember.”
206 kilometres, 6 hours 57, 5994 ft of climbing, 6442 kilojoules, 304 watts normalized, a max power of 1140 watts in the final sprint. Some big stats for one massive day of bike racing! The fun didn’t end as we crossed the finish line, the post race party continued late into the evening welcoming home every last participant. Whether you were there to race for the win, or just to complete the distance, this was one day and one trip you’ll never forget.
It's a dream to visit such amazing places and the participants of The Rift are privileged to not just have visited Iceland but to have explored areas of this country far away from the tourist trail that very few will ever see. Thank you Iceland, The Rift gravel race and the Gravel Earth Series for many memories I’ll keep for a lifetime. See you in 2024!
Fueling Your Cycling Journey: The Power of Protein
Cycling is a demanding sport that requires endurance, strength, and proper nutrition. While carbohydrates and fats play essential roles, protein is often overlooked but holds significant importance in supporting your cycling performance. In this blog, we will delve into the reasons why protein is crucial for cyclists and recommend online sport nutrition coaches who can provide expert guidance.
The Importance of Protein for Cyclists:
1. Muscle Repair and Recovery:
Cycling places stress on your muscles, leading to microscopic damage. Protein is vital for repairing and rebuilding these muscles, ensuring optimal recovery after intense rides. By consuming adequate protein, you can minimize muscle soreness and enhance your ability to bounce back quickly.
2. Muscle Strength and Growth:
Protein serves as the building block for muscles, playing a pivotal role in their development and maintenance. Cyclists who aim to increase their power and strength need sufficient protein intake to support muscle growth. This is particularly important during strength training exercises, such as hill climbs and sprints.
3. Enhanced Performance:
Protein intake can improve cycling performance in multiple ways. Firstly, it helps to maintain a positive nitrogen balance, which aids in preserving lean muscle mass and preventing muscle breakdown during endurance rides. Secondly, protein supports the production of enzymes and hormones involved in energy metabolism, contributing to sustained energy levels and improved performance.
4. Immune Function:
Intense training sessions and prolonged rides can temporarily suppress the immune system, making cyclists more susceptible to illness. Protein is crucial for supporting immune function and building antibodies, reducing the risk of infections and promoting overall health.
Recommended Sport Nutrition Coaches:
For personalized guidance on cycling nutrition and optimizing your protein intake, consider seeking advice from trusted online sport nutrition coaches. These professionals specialize in tailoring nutrition plans to meet the unique needs of cyclists. They can help you determine your protein requirements, suggest appropriate sources, and offer valuable insights on meal timing and supplementation.
Here are three highly recommended online sport nutrition coaches:
1. CoachFit Nutrition (@CoachFitNutrition) - Offering customized nutrition plans and one-on-one coaching, CoachFit Nutrition specializes in sports performance and has a team of experienced coaches dedicated to helping cyclists achieve their goals.
2. Performance Fueling (@PerfFueling) - With a focus on endurance sports nutrition, Performance Fueling provides evidence-based guidance to optimize performance. Their online coaching programs include personalized meal plans, hydration strategies, and protein-specific recommendations.
3. Endurance Nutrition (@EnduranceNutriCo) - Endurance Nutrition offers comprehensive coaching services that cover all aspects of endurance sports, including cycling nutrition. Their team of certified sport nutritionists provides personalized support to help cyclists fuel their rides and recover effectively.
As a cyclist, prioritizing proper nutrition is essential for reaching your full potential. Protein plays a crucial role in muscle repair, growth, performance enhancement, and immune function. By partnering with online sport nutrition coaches, you can receive expert guidance tailored to your specific needs, ensuring you fuel your body optimally and take your cycling journey to new heights.
Remember, protein is the power that propels your pedals!
The Evolution of Rotor Bike Components and Its Impact on the Tour de France
As the Tour de France continues to captivate cycling enthusiasts worldwide, it's essential to recognize the significant role that bike components play in the success of professional cyclists. One name that has stood out in recent years is Rotor Bike Components. In this blog, we will delve into the history of Rotor and explore the impact their innovations have had on the Tour de France.
The Birth of Rotor Bike Components:
Rotor Bike Components, founded in 1995, emerged as a Spanish company dedicated to revolutionizing cycling technology. Their primary focus was on developing innovative solutions for bicycle drivetrain systems. Rotor aimed to enhance efficiency, power transfer, and overall performance for professional riders.
Q-Rings and the First Breakthrough:
One of Rotor's most notable contributions to cycling technology is the introduction of Q-Rings. These non-circular chainrings, first introduced in 2005, were designed to optimize power delivery throughout the pedal stroke. By varying the shape of the chainring, Q-Rings helped to reduce dead spots and increase efficiency, resulting in improved performance during races.
Integration of Power Meters:
Rotor continued to push boundaries by integrating power meters into their chainrings. Power meters provide valuable data on a cyclist's power output, allowing for precise training and race strategy. By incorporating power meters directly into their Q-Rings, Rotor introduced a streamlined solution that eliminated the need for separate power meter installations.
The Tour de France Connection:
The Tour de France, known as the pinnacle of professional cycling, has been a testing ground for Rotor's innovations. Professional teams and riders have embraced Rotor's components, recognizing their potential to gain a competitive edge. Teams like Team Qhubeka, Lampre-Merida, Israel-Premier Tech and Intermarché–Circus–Wanty have utilized Rotor's technology to optimize their performance during the grueling stages of the race.
Rotor's Impact on the Tour:
Rotor's contributions have had a significant impact on the Tour de France. The integration of Q-Rings and power meters has allowed riders to maximize their efficiency and better manage their efforts throughout the race. By minimizing energy loss and providing accurate power data in real-time, Rotor's components have helped riders make informed decisions, optimize their training, and improve their overall performance.
Continued Innovation and Future Prospects:
Rotor Bike Components has continued to innovate and refine their offerings. They have expanded their product range to include advanced hydraulic groupsets, lightweight cranksets, and modular components that cater to the varying needs of professional cyclists. As technology progresses, we can expect Rotor to continue pushing the boundaries of cycling performance.
Rotor Bike Components has left an indelible mark on the Tour de France through their innovative solutions and dedication to enhancing cycling performance. The integration of Q-Rings and power meters has transformed how professional riders approach training and racing. As the Tour de France evolves, we can expect Rotor to remain at the forefront of cycling technology, empowering riders to reach new heights of excellence.
Ben continues his Gravel adventures at Hot Chillee Stone Circle
Fun is fast but slow can also be fun. Who rides fast anyway for 215 kilometres? Ok, so our friends over the pond in the US show it is possible to race fast for that long and there are plenty of gravel races in Europe of that distance or longer but sometimes it's fun to just enjoy an event. This past weekend Hot Chillee organized the inaugural Stone Circle gravel event, a proper adventure starting from the English Heritage site of Old Sarum and passing historic landmarks like Stonehenge.
Friday night there was a pizza party with DJ rocking the tunes, the arena coming alive as people arrived for the following day. Earlier in the day there was a warm up ride starting from the Lauf bikes stand with demo bikes available to try. Lots of other vendors filled the arena providing plenty of bike bling to look at and tasty carbs to eat.
Saturday morning started early with a four o’clock alarm clock, there was just enough time for a quick breakfast and copious amounts of coffee. The start line opened at 5 am, it was awfully early but at least there was a good reason to be awake at that time. On top of Old Sarum hundreds of cyclists gathered ready for their summer solstice adventure. There were two route distances available, 135 kilometres and 215 kilometres, the majority of entries choosing the longer route.
You could start at any time within the next hour with groups of 10 going off each time. You were timed from when you crossed the start line to when you crossed it again at the end, for most though this was about the experience, not the time. I was there just to have fun, absolutely no racing today, my enjoyment like many others was to visit a new location and ride new routes.
I predicted an 8-hour ride time for the 215-kilometre distance, I’ve not done many rides that long before. There were three feed zones on route but I nervously stuffed my hydration pack and jersey pockets full of carbohydrates! I hadn’t have worried though because each feed zone was stacked full of energy drink and gels, sweets, cake, chocolate bars, pretzels and more!
I was riding the event with a coaching client / regular training buddy, we were all set for a very long day on the bikes. We set off in the third or fourth wave, we quickly descending off the heritage site on the first trail and then rode towards the wide open expanses of Salisbury Plain. Very quickly we picked up the groups who’d started ahead and a merry group of around 15 people formed. A few were keener than others to push the pace on the climbs but I tried to keep things steady encouraging the group to stay together and keep it social.
Around 12 kilometres we passed Stonehenge, an amazing sight on any day but even more amazing before 6am on this beautiful summers day. The event was given special permission for bikes to pass closer to the stones than normal, this added to the sense of occasion. As we continued north we entered the wide open tracks of Salisbury Plain, there were some absolutely incredible gravel over the next 40 to 50 kilometres. These white dusty roads took us up, down and around the rolling hills providing amazing hilltop views out over the Wiltshire Downs. Many of these gravel roads and tracks are normally closed to the public. We sped past firing ranges and tank testing areas, plus big groups of soldiers working hard.
Sadly after about 90 minutes we suffered puncture number one, I quickly plugged the hole and filled the tyre with gas but the group was gone. We trundled on as a pair but after another ten minutes it was obvious the tyre was still losing air. A pre event warning had been given about punctures, little could be done though with the big flints that littered the gravel tracks on this part of the route. We stopped, fitted a bigger plug, pumped the tyre up, it went flat, we removed the tyre insert, fitted a Tubolito tube, pumped the tyre up. Rode on. All good for about 50 minutes but then the tube starts going flat. At this point we think it’s game over. We are close to the first feed though so pump the tyre up and ride on slowly, I try my best not to ruin a nice carbon wheel. We make the feed and happily we find a truck full of tools and spares. We take the tyre off, fit a tyre boot, find the offending flint, fit another tube and decide we may as well ride on to feed zone 2 where the shorter route turns off. As we pass Longleat zoo my buddy Liam gets a puncture but this time we can fix it with a plug. This epic adventure was getting really really epic!
The tracks through the woods at Longleat were absolutely incredible, a mix of short punchy climbs and trails through pine trees and some longer steeper climbs which tested your gearing choice but rewarded with some crazily fun singletrack descents! We reached feed zone 2 already feeling tired and a little daunted knowing we weren’t even half way through the big route. Despite this we both had huge smiles on our faces from the amazing route. How could we possibly bail at this point! This was one of those days you remember for a very long time, memories you can share and talk about until no one else will listen.
Above us King Alfreds Tower, a 160ft high folly built in 1722 with view over three counties. Ahead of us lay another 130 kilometres of riding with some big climbs to finish. On went the majority of people, motivated by more adventures and the finishers party. From feed zone two to three we had almost 3 hours of riding, we had planned a feed zone 2.5 eyeing up a bakery and supermarket for snacks but in the end we sailed straight through the town and onto the old North Dorset Railway. We stopped at the Shillingstone Station to look at the old diesel and steam engines. A group sailed past us as we took photos so we joined them for the next part of the ride. It was fun riding with different groups and speaking to different people about how they were feeling this far into the ride and what brought them to the event in the first place. It was good to see a few Lauf Seigla’s out on the ride as well, instant friends!
We both soon regretted not stopped for snacks at our makeshift feed zone 2.5 but soldiered on into hour seven, here the route started heading north through quaint little villages and quiet farmland, proceeding up into the hills near Shaftesbury. We then followed the Old Chalk Way back up towards Salisbury. There was no shortage of spectacular views and fun trails even at this point in the route. In my tiredness I narrowly avoided clipping a huge white pheasant, something I had dismissed from my eyesight as just a discarded white bin bag! We joked that we were both seeing things, hallucinating, apparently that’s what happens on ultra endurance rides!?
The final feed zone after 8 hours was a welcome sight, we ate far too much Haribo and sat enjoying the sunshine for much longer than planned but that’s fine on days like this. The final 50 kilometres were a bit of a blur but the sight of Old Sarum and the finish line on top of one last climb is one we’ll remember. The adventure was complete! High fives with new and old friends, a beer, ice cream and party!
The location, the atmosphere in the arena, the pizza party, the route, so many wow moments. That was year one of Stone Circle. I’m already looking forward to heading back to the event for year two and seeing how much the event can grow.
Rotors New 2INpower Super Light launched at Eurobike
If you're a serious cyclist, you know that tracking your performance is key to improving your skills and achieving your goals. That's why more and more cyclists are turning to power meters to help them measure their output and optimize their training. And if you're in the market for a power meter, the Rotor 2INpower is definitely worth considering.
Here are just a few reasons why the Rotor 2INpower is a great choice for cyclists:
1. Accuracy: The Rotor 2INpower power meter is incredibly accurate, providing precise measurements of your power output so you can track your progress over time and make adjustments to your training as needed. With a claimed accuracy of +/- 1.5%, you can be confident that the data you're getting is reliable.
2. Dual-sided power measurement: Unlike some power meters that only measure power on one side, the Rotor 2INpower measures power on both your left and right legs separately. This can help you identify any imbalances in your pedaling technique and work on correcting them for more efficient and effective cycling.
3. Durability: The Rotor 2INpower power meter is built to last, with a robust design that can withstand the rigors of intense cycling. It's also water-resistant, so you don't need to worry about it getting damaged if you get caught in the rain.
4. Compatibility: The Rotor 2INpower power meter is compatible with a variety of bike models, making it a versatile choice for cyclists who want to track their performance across different bikes. It's also compatible with a range of software platforms, including TrainingPeaks and Strava, so you can easily analyze your data and track your progress over time.
5. Easy installation: Installing the Rotor 2INpower power meter is a breeze, with a simple and straightforward process that doesn't require any special tools or expertise. This means you can get up and running with your power meter quickly and easily, without the need for professional assistance.
Overall, the Rotor 2INpower power meter is an excellent choice for cyclists who want to take their training to the next level. With its accuracy, durability, and compatibility, it's a reliable tool that can help you optimize your performance and achieve your goals.
How Can Cycling Improve Your Health?
Cycling is a fantastic way to improve both physical and mental health. It is a low-impact exercise that can be done at any age and fitness level. Here are some of the many benefits of cycling:
Physical Health Benefits:
1. Cardiovascular health: Cycling is an excellent way to strengthen your heart and lungs. It can decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
2. Weight management: Cycling is an effective way to burn calories and maintain a healthy weight. It can also help to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass.
3. Low impact exercise: Cycling is a low-impact exercise that puts less strain on your joints than other forms of exercise such as running or weightlifting.
4. Increased flexibility: Cycling can help to improve your overall flexibility and range of motion.
5. Improved immune system: Cycling can stimulate your immune system, making you less susceptible to illness and disease.
Mental Health Benefits:
1. Reduced stress and anxiety: Cycling can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. It can also help to improve mood and self-esteem.
2. Improved cognitive function: Cycling can help to improve cognitive function, including memory, attention, and processing speed.
3. Increased social interaction: Cycling can be a social activity, allowing you to meet new people and make new friends.
4. Better sleep quality: Cycling can help to improve sleep quality, leading to better overall health and wellbeing.
5. Increased self-confidence: Cycling can help to increase self-confidence and self-esteem, as you achieve new goals and improve your physical fitness.
In conclusion, cycling is a fun and effective way to improve both physical and mental health. It is a low-impact exercise that can be done at any age and fitness level, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to improve their health and wellbeing.
Ben Thomas in search of the perfect gravel race
Whilst gravel headlines are all about a certain race over in America big things are happening over here in Europe, that includes Ranxo Gravel by Klassmark.
Visiting familiar places and bike races is great, especially when you have your favourites and get to show friends and family that place you've been raving on about constantly for the 365 days since the last bike race there. Visiting new places though give you that nervous excitement, it's the unknown and adventure of it. This week I sat on a jet plane heading to Barcelona, a familiar route, but instead of then heading to Girona I directed the hire car inland to Ponts. This sleepy town in Catalonia is nestled below the towering Pyrenees mountains. This weekend, for the second year, Ranxo Gravel comes to town and it would be my first visit the area and race. Read more
Paris Roubaix Velotech Top Tips - This weekend we see the Paris Roubaix return to its original calendar date in April for the first time since 2019. 2020 it was cancelled and in 2021 it was held in October. Whilst there are a lot of fans who loved the late-season festivities of 2021 the UCI and the organisers have returned the “Hell of the North” to its original date. We asked James our resident super fan to collate a favourites list for the men’s and Women’s races. So, if we get it completely wrong blame him... Read more
A day in the life of Millie Skinner - With winter training well underway it’s all about consistency and building on each week to get stronger and fitter. At the minute my days look pretty similar with some socialising thrown in here and there. Although training is important it’s also important to have social plans to look forward to and keep us going through dark winter days. On a typical day, things kick off around half 7 or 8 o’clock and I’ll roll out of bed and stick the kettle on. Read more
Top Cycling Holiday Destinations of 2022 - The Pandemic is easing, and it is becoming easier to travel and enjoy our cycling holidays again. We have scoured the world on your behalf and have come up with some great destinations and tips to make the most of the sunshine. A cycling holiday (road/mtb) is a fantastic way to get fit and have fun in the sunshine all whilst getting to see the local area and hopefully getting away from the tourist hotspots. We have chosen 5 bucket list cycling destinations... Read more
Joe Tindley Top 10 Training Tips - Being in the depth of winter can seem a far cry away from the warmth and sun of the summer, but for me the winter is the place where results are made, I am sure you have all heard of ‘winter miles summer smiles’ but this is really the place where results are built. I am going to jot down some of my top 10 tips for training and things I live by... Read more
New Years Resolutions - How to stick to them
1. Make a plan to achieve your goal - write it down, make a timeline
2. Create an environment that will help you succeed
3. Find someone who can be your accountability partner for this journey
4. Write out what the benefits are of achieving this goal and how you'll feel when you've accomplished it
5. Give yourself rewards along the way so that you're not just focusing on the end result but enjoying every step along the way
6. Celebrate each milestone with something small like going out to dinner or buying yourself some new clothes
ROTOR Race Team Rider Nigel Herrod takes VICTORY AT BATTLE ON THE BEACH 2021 - I arrived at the race looking forward to seeing the Rotor Team guys and Gals. It was great to catch up again. I had to decide which bike to use my MTB or Gravel Bike. I new most of my closest competition where using their MTB's but I felt I would be quicker on my Gravel Bike. The first part of the race along the beach favoured the Gravel Bike the latter part MTB's So I rolled the dice and went with the gravel. The race set off along the beach into a 25mph cross head wind which played havoc until echelons started to form, this was a first for me and absolutely mind blowing. I was quite happy because I had passed a couple of my key rivals before I settled with a group of 10 rotating through the echelon and making great progress. Once off the beach the racing became a bit more individual with fast gravel sections forest single track and dunes. This was the pattern for the three laps. I was always expecting that the MTB riders would catch me in the forest but I held on for the win in the Super Vet category. I was pleased to have held onto my top form, from the Gravel Championships two weeks ago and was absolutely delighted to pick up another win for the Rotor Race Team. Thanks guys for the great support.
Ben Thomas loses his Gravel virginity - Several years ago I'd mock my friend George who'd ride his gravel bike on our mountain bike rides but here I am having just completed my first gravel event, the Dirty Reiver This is the UK's and arguably one of Europe's biggest and toughest gravel events, taking place over 200 kilometres, it’s a hard introduction to this side of the sport. Read more
Photo by Cecilia Emilie Johansen, Frikant
Ben Thomas conquers all at Skaidi Xtreme - Skaidi Xtreme isn't just a bike race, it's an experience, an adventure. This would be my third time visiting Finnmark Norway for this spectacular event. Hammerfest has almost become a little home away from home. Since first visiting in September 2018 the Norwegian community has been incredibly welcoming. Read more
An epic five days of racing for ROTOR Bike Components at the 2021 Giro D Italia, whether it was gravel on the Tuscan roads, apocalyptic rain or incredible individual efforts over the highest mountains there was one thing in common. ROTOR was ridden to victory 4 times in 5 days proving that ROTOR is the world’s NO1 component supplier to the UCI WORLD TOUR.
UBUNTU INSPIRES VICTOR CAMPENAERTS TO SENSATIONAL GIRO D’ITALIA STAGE 15 VICTORY - Victor Campenaerts raced to an incredible 3rd stage win at this year’s Giro d’Italia for Team Qhubeka ASSOS, at stage 15 ending in Gorizia. This victory followed his teammates, Mauro Schmid and Giacomo Nizzolo, triumphs on stages 11 and 13 respectively. The victory was incredibly hard fought but the tenacity of Campenaerts and his ability to suffer made him the victor over 147km stage.
FORTUNTAO CONQUERS THE ZONCOLAN - Stage 14 and the young Lorenzo Fortunato claims victory over the epic MT. Zoncolan, his ROTOR ALDHU CARBON cranks gave him an advantage over his competitors.
GIACOMO NIZZOLO SPRINTS TO MAIDEN GRAND TOUR STAGE WIN - Giacomo Nizzolo sprinted to an incredible first-ever grand tour stage victory, on stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia. The Team Qhubeka ASSOS sprinter broke his duck of 19 grand tour stage podiums without a win, by taking the top step in Verona. The flat 198km route ended in a mass sprint, luckily Nizzolo was the fastest atop his ROTOR powered machine.
FOUR GOLDEN STAGES - Mauro Schmid stormed to victory on stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia, claiming the first professional win of his career and Team Qhubeka ASSOS first win at this year’s Giro d’Italia. Mauro riding ROTOR components was a late draft into the team, he got into the early break on the 162km gravel stage through the Tuscan countryside. Schmid managed to stay away before winning from a two man sprint.
Poole Wheeler's Youth Omnium 2021 - Sponsored by ROTORUK. The National Youth Omnium Series hosted by Poole Wheelers from Bournemouth Cycle Centre on 12th June 2021. Read the full Program here.
ROTOR Human Stories: Bicicletas sin Fronteras - Bicicletas sin Fronteras is a Spanish organization whose main objective is helping to develop local communities in Senegal through mobility with bicycles. In some areas where kids are used to walk around 10 Kilometers to go to the school, having a bicycle is a more than needed mean of transport. ROTOR collaborates with this organization, donating tires for the "Baobab" bikes, the brand created and assembled in Senegal by different communities. Discover here how Bicicletas sin Fronteras helps many people in Senegal to live happier and healthier. Read more
ROTOR teams around the World - Don't miss the last news about this UCI Elite MTB Team.
Managed by the MTB legend Bart Brentjens and proudly sponsored by ROTOR, CST PostNL Bafang MTB Racing Team counts with first class riders as Yana Belomoina, Anne Tauber, Sebastian Fini Carstensen or David Nordemann. By the way... get well soon David after your accident! Read more
Thank you, Carlos - Carlos Coloma, one of the most important XC riders on the international scene, announced his retirement last week. Carlos has been working with ROTOR for much of his professional career. Our first collaborations began with him in 2007, when he rode in the Spiuk-Tau Cerámicas team. A year later he would already start using our Q RINGS® oval chainrings, which have been part of all his sporting victories and have accompanied him until the end of his sporting career. Carlos will continue to work for the MTB, training the new generations of Spanish riders and, of course, being a great ambassador for ROTOR. We just want to say a big THANK YOU, Carlos! Read more
Mountain Bike Action - Product Test: ROTOR 1x13 MTB Superlight Kit Read more
GCN - 5 Vs 1 | How Many Roadies Does It Take To Beat A Time Trial Bike?
Bike Radar - First Look Friday: ROTOR big chainrings Read more
ROTOR in the Mediterranean Epic 2021 - ROTOR will be again a proud sponsor of the UCI Mediterranean Epic. The best Marathon bikers of the planet will be in Spain from 25th 'til 28th March, like the World Champions Leonardo Páez and Ramona Forchini. Discover the first stage by ROTOR, an incredibly hard time trial climbing the mountains of the Castellón province, in the Spanish Mediterranean coast.
Here comes the sun, here comes the races - Here comes the sun, here comes the Spring... and some of the best MTB riders of the World will join the UCI Mediterranean Epic from 25th to 28th March to start a new great season. Maybe you'd like to join them in a future... We give you 3 reasons to compete in a MTB stage race in our last blog entry Read more
Behind the scenes with Team QHUBEKA Assos - What a great job of the Team QHUBEKA Assos in Strade Bianche 2021. And our ALDHU® Carbon with INspider cranksets were part of the game... When we work together we can achieve incredible results. Thank you team!
Bike Radar - What is the best crank length for cycling? Read more
Cycling News - Object of Desire: ROTOR ALDHU® Carbon Cranks Read more
Bici da Strada - ROTOR ALDHU® Carbon: carbon cranks and total customization Read more
GCN - A few months ago, we pitted a beginner cyclist, an amateur cyclist, and a pro cyclist against one another up a local climb to see how much faster the pro would be. Hill climbing legend, Andrew Feather, absolutely smoked Ollie & Freddie - which came as a surprise to...nobody. We decided a rematch was in order; with a bit of a twist. We gave Ollie and Andrew weighted backpacks so all three riders weighed the same to see what difference it made!
Qhubeka is a South African non-profit organization founded in 2005 by Anthony Fitzhenry, who has donated more than 100.000 bicycles in different charitable programs in South Africa. It's the relationship between ROTOR and the Qhubeka team, which currently bears the name of Team Qhubeka Assos, began in 2015 with the Pro Team MTN-Qhubeka team and since then, together we have achieved, 7 victories in stages of the Tour de France, 3 in the Vuelta a España and 2 in the Giro d’Italia, among others, a total of 22 victories in major cycling events. Read more
CONGRATS! Giacomo Nizzolo, with ROTOR ALDHU® Carbon cranks and INspider power meter, won the Clasica de Almeria in a fantastic sprint finish finale, the first win of the season for the Italian & European Champion and Team Qhubeka ASSOS. Read more
BikeRadar - Though Rotor is best known for its use of machined aluminium, the ALDHU® Carbon crank is the Spanish company’s first foray into carbon road cranks. Read more
road.cc - Italian racer Giacomo Nizzolo sprinted to victory in the Clasica de Almeria last week, gaining the first win of the season for Team Qhubeka Assos. Read more
CyclingTips - ROTOR's new ALDHU® Carbon modular crankset works with nearly everything... Read more
BikeRumor! - The all-new Rotor ALDHU® Carbon comes in at just 260g for the arms, and the rest of the kit doesn’t add much more… Read more
Mailot Mag - Primeras Pedaladas: nuevas bielas ROTOR ALDHU® Carbon ... Read more