Team Cycling Plus - Sam Shaw

Do'ya wanna be in my gang?

Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. Sam learns about chain gangs, and getting recognised in public...

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 prideI

t’s been a fairly difficult week for me, it started out with no cycling, which is unusual for me as I commute to work every day by bike but I needed to take the car to work on Monday so I could go and pick something up in the evening, which didn’t actually happen so it was a day (in cycling terms) wasted!

On Tuesday I took the bike, I’d felt pretty annoyed that I’d not ridden on Monday so I decided to take up an offer from my mate Dieter to join him for the Stirling Bike Club chain gang, starting at 7pm.  I’d been in a chain gang previously not long after first starting riding, it was but that ride (quite rightly) was more about the mechanics of how being in a chain gang works, which really helped me when I was faced with the real thing.

I set off from home to ride the 7 miles there at an easy pace and get some heat into my legs.  On the way there I met up with another club member who I’d not met before, but he recognized me from Cycling Plus (probably more because of the Verenti – it gets admiring glances wherever I go!) and we had a chat about how things were going.  He also gave me a couple of tips for the chain gang. 

This is the great thing about the club, it’s not just about the organisation of events and training, for me it’s allowed me to glean ‘the knowledge’ about cycling from more seasoned riders.  It’s those invaluable hints and tips that sometimes come all at once and sometimes in dribs and drabs.  I’ve been learning since I joined ‘The Saturday Hour’ rides last October, and I must admit sometimes it’s taken a while for lessons to be learned, but for anyone wanting to further their cycling, I’d recommend joining a club.  There’s always something happening and there’s a depth of knowledge that people are only too happy to share, and it can be focused quite practically based upon people’s observations.

Anyway, back to the chain gang.  It was TOUGH!  I started out in the first group and we set off at a high pace; I moved up to the front and continued to circulate in the group as we sped along around the 25mph mark.  We shelled people before the first lap was up but I kept in there and dug deep to stay with the group on the hills, which were my toughest challenge; I was keeping up fine on the flats but any rise would hurt badly and I’d have to drop back, sit behind the group and regain my composure for a few minutes.  This happened on both laps, I had to try hard to stay with the group but I was just happy that I’d stuck in there.  At the end of the 2nd lap I decided to call it a day, I should have carried on but I fancied a leisurely ride back home, which was about 10 miles away.  I’d done 53mins at 22.1mph average, and I felt it by the time I got home – I needed an emergency peanut butter sandwich (my musette of choice) just to get me upstairs to the shower!

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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