Team Cycling Plus - Andy Ward

Andy's in the Alps!

Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. This week Andy's getting ready for a french cycling adventure...

Team member: Andy Ward

Serious cyclist, 41 year old Andy from Leicester, commutes to his job as a doctor, competes in a number of sportives, and enjoys the challenge of a hilly climb. Last year he did the London to Paris, and this year he has already achieved one of his aims to go on a cycling holiday to the Alps with his mates. His goals are to improve his power and have a go at time trialling.

This week I travelled to the Alps, with Martin and Dave, for our first attempt at cycling up proper mountains. In Leicestershire and Rutland we have hills, some of them are quite steep, but I can think of only one hairpin in the whole of the two counties. I knew things would be different in France.

We were staying in a chalet in La Clusaz, near Annecy. The Tour de France frequently passes through the village as it lies between Col de la Colombiere and the Col des Aravis. We downloaded two suggested routes from the Cycling Grenoble website. These were each around the 60-65 mile mark and took in 7 Cols between them. The weather forecast was unpromising as we set off from Leicester to make the whole journey by train. This involved an overnight stopover in Paris, and we couldn’t resist hiring Velib bikes for an impromptu ride up the side of the River Seine. We were a bit late arriving and found ourselves riding up to the entrance of Notre Dame at midnight!

On to the Alps and the cycling, this time on the Verenti, was amazing. The climbs seem to go on forever – Col d’Arpettaz, for example, has 40+ hairpins and over 3000 feet of climbing. Despite the weather, the views from the top were breathtaking and the descents long, fast and exciting. My Garmin Edge 500 registered over 11000 feet of climbing on one of the rides! Fortunately, the training that I have been doing, as advised by Ben, seemed to help and I managed to win our unofficial King of the Mountains competition with a couple of (what I thought were) devastating turns of pace at the top of Col des Aravis and Col de la Colombiere. Eat your heart out Alberto.

We had a fantastic time and I would strongly recommend that anyone who loves cycling should try to go to the Alps. The chalet was superb with excellent food and run by the extremely helpful Sam and Dave – a great base for our trip. www.gravite.co.uk

Who are Team Cycling Plus?

Team Cycling Plus powered by Verenti are readers Andy Ward, Kay Bowen, Malcolm Ratcliffe and Sam Shaw. We’ll be following them in the magazine for the next few months as they train towards their personal cycling goals under the guidance of Team Wiggle’s Ben Simmons and we will be publishing their weekly trials and tribulations here too. For regular updates check our twitter page twitter.com/cyclingplus and the Team Cycling Plus facebook page

This article was published by BikeRadar, the world's leading source of bike reviews, gear reviews, riding advice and route information
  • Discipline: Road, Mountain, Urban, Womens
  • Location: UK, USA, Australia
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