Team Cycling Plus - Sam Shaw

Another new challenge - but will Sam be happy with his 10mile TT time?

Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. Sam tackles his next big challenge - a 10 mile TT...

Team member: Sam Shaw

29 year old Sam who lives in Stirling weighed in at 20stone in 2006. But through discovery of his love of bikes he has shed over 6stone and is still losing. Beginning with tentative 5km commutes, working up to include an 18km detour with 360m climbs, and now braving sportives and time trials, Sam’s newfound obsession has changed his life. His goals are to get down to 13stone and wear lycra with pride....

This week was an unknown to me.  It followed my first sportive and I had no idea how my body would react, especially after completing a pretty big challenge like the Keswick Sportive.  I’ve gone off-grid with the weight-loss programme at the moment, preferring to listen to what my body’s telling me rather than dictating what it needs to survive whilst losing the fat that I still want to shift.  I’ve managed to maintain my weight for the last two weeks at 84.9kg and I’m quite pleased as I’ve had some real treats, but that’s the beauty of cycling!

The other thing that’s been playing on my mind this week is my first 10 mile time trial.  This was unchartered territory for the Verenti Millook and I as I’d had to borrow a bike for the 5 mile TT I did last month.  I knew that the Verenti is a faster bike, and I certainly feel fitter but I worried about how sustainable my pace would be.  I rode out to the start at a high cadence but slowish pace to warm my legs up without expelling too much energy and got there just in time for the hail to start!

By the time I started half an hour later, the hail and rain had stopped and although the roads were still wet, I was in a positive frame of mind.  I’d decided my tactic would be to take it easy on the way out into the wind, then tank it on the way back, using the wind to my full advantage.  This seemed like a good plan but I should’ve known something was wrong when I set off “into the wind” and was up at 26mph without being too stressed, I stuck to the plan and put my pace back to 25mph to save my legs for the way back.  It still felt as thought I was riding into the wind but I should have known something was wrong when I reached the halfway point in 12 minutes... 

I took a breather as I circumnavigated the roundabout then BAM! I hit a headwind where I thought I was going to get a huge boost from a tailwind!  On the way back I struggled to get above 23mph and had to concentrate hard on my pedal stroke to keep things as efficient as possible, I had no idea what time I was going to do but as I neared the finish line my Garmin Edge 500 still said 24 mins something (I’d set it going just before the start line) so I thought I might be in with a chance of a sub-25 min time.  I stomped on the pedals and immediately felt the rush of blood through my ears as my heart-rate rose to over 180bpm.  My legs started to scream and I stood up out of the saddle as the finish line came in to sight.  I crossed the finish line feeling spent.

It took a few hundred metres for me to settle my breathing and heart-rate down then I turned and headed back towards the finish line to hear my time.  Before now I’d have been happy with a sub-27 min but I knew a sub-25 min time wasn’t far off and hoped for the best.  It wasn’t to be though, my time was 25 min 16 sec. 

I don’t know why I felt as though should have done better, it was a much quicker time than I’d expected and had anyone told me that I would have got in the 25’s in less than perfect conditions I would have been ecstatic but it was bittersweet for me having had a sniff of a 24 minute time.  Still, it gives me something to aim for on my next 10 mile TT! 

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

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