I’ve been science-d!

by 5

In one of those ‘it seemed a good idea at the time’ ideas, Matt Hart bumped into me at the Cycle Show in London and said ‘Hey! I’ve just been talked into doing this 12 hours of Exposure solo race next May. I’ve never done a solo event like that – neither have you though – how about you do it too?’ – and so I find myself lined up to enter the 12 hour solo champs some time in May. Again, because it seemed a good idea at the time, Matt’s next few fitness columns for the magazine will chart our training and hopeful gains in fitness.

"Got one!" - Anth's Earlobe Detector was fiendishly accurate...

So I headed down to Torq’s HQ near Shrewsbury for my initial fitness evaluation. It was in two parts: first a Lactate Threshold test and then an Anaerobic Threshold test. The first involved riding a turbo trainer while the ever cheerful Anth from Torq pricked my ear and took blood samples every five minutes, checking my blood lactate levels on what looked like a pocket calculator. Then, just as soon as it was starting to get a little testing, the test was over. That wasn’t so bad…

29 minutes of hill climbing in minus six degrees. Hard enough without having to actually try.

But then, the next aspect of it is a half-hour hill climb, that’s done as fast as you can maintain, to find out what your anaerobic threshold is. Obviously, the day I was doing it was as chilly-as and the air temperature was a balmy -6°C (up from -12C that morning…) That was a fun and painful experience, but then at least it was over and I could look forward to a deluxe lunch back at Torq HQ. After that, Anth went through my results and aims for the future, with a detailed report to come… And talking of which, you can read all about it in the next issue. Matt Hart also did a fitness test, remarkably having not done one for years (because he was usually being the one who administrated them) and he’ll be reporting back in issue 63 of Singletrack, due out at the end of January.

So, that’s the first stage – with the result being ‘You’re not too bad, considering…’ – which I take to mean ‘…considering you don’t get to ride that much, but when you do, it appears to be all up and all down, with nothing in the middle, your diet is immensely variable in quality, you love cheese and wine far too much and you don’t appear to have a competitive bone in your body…’

So training up for a race in five months is going to be hard work… Or rather, seeing as I’m going to be training my endurance system, it’s going to be long work. I need saddle time, rather than more ‘top end’ – and time is something I have precious little of. In order to find that extra time I need to train, I’m going to have to do some pretty serious streamlining of my schedule, trying to eke out bits of time where, previously I thought there was none…

And then I’ll have to work out what bike to ride!


Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (5)

    Should have posted some of the other photos Chipps ;]

    Sweet Bike 🙂

    See you on the start line!

    The photo was taken on the A488 up Hope Valley near Minsterley. Coincidentally, I’m planning to use that route for training rides, though maybe not at -6° C. Hope you enjoyed Shropshire Chipps, looking forward to reading more about your training regime and the torture Matt inflicts on you 😉

    i plan to do some enduros this year so i will be watching your training with interest.presently im doing long rides for endurance and days where i just climb but dont do the distance

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