Team Cycling Plus – Kay Bowen

Exercising like the Swiss!

Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. Kay gets the family riding on holiday in Switzerland…


Team member: Kay Bowen

36 year old Kay from Southampton is a very active person. She overcame thyroid cancer last year which has inspired her to try a whole host of new activities, including sailing, tennis, skiing and triathlons. As a triathlete, she already does a lot of cycling, but is keen to work on this aspect of her training. Her goals are to sustain longer distances and to go on a cycling holiday

My exercise regime has had a distinctly continental feel this week, as being on holiday in Wilderswil, Switzerland, has meant little time on the bike but lots of other exercise.

On Monday, my husband Rob and I ran the 5k along the river to the lake and back. I rarely run with Rob, but he was a great pace setter for me and I worked a lot harder than I would have done on my own, especially following up the hill from the village to the chalet home.

On Tuesday, Rob, Hannah (8) and I hired mountain bikes (they didn’t do bikes small enough for Amy, so she and granny took a train ride instead). The bikes were springy and had easy to use gears, a good thing, as most of the trip there was in 1:1. We climbed about 500m over 14 miles, a lot of the climbing (374m ) over the last 10k. This is the hilliest I’ve ever ridden, and we were really proud of Hannah for making it to Grindelwald, for the promise of chips with real Heinz ketchup. I ended up with serious sun tan short marks, but loved sitting gazing at the chocolate box mountain scenery that is the Bernese Oberland.  The cycle home was amazing, great descents on mainly tarmac, quiet lanes, back to the village in time for tea! 28 miles all in. It was encouraging for me how I  could keep going up hills and how quickly my heart rate returned to ‘normal’. Switzerland is great practice for the West Wight Triathlon which I am entered for in September – the hills are about the same height!

I am trying really hard this week not to eat all the wrong stuff, easily done in Swittzerland, but I want to lose a few pounds over the next few weeks and don’t want to come back home heavier. I know my cycling will mean more muscle, but its also meant more flapjack and I want to get on top of the pounds before they get on top of me. I can really feel the difference in my legs, they are much more muscular – I will compare thigh girth with the boys at Cycling Plus when we next meet up and see if I win!

Thursday, I dragged Rob off into the woods to have a go at the ‘Parcours’ course. It was uphill running and lots of roots and steps to contend with, plus jumping over waterfalls in the path and NOT a place for a bike. Supposedly the Swiss like these outdoor fitness courses, however, I have never seen a Swiss person doing one, they probably laugh at us English out tearing round the woods while they sit in the warm eating fondue. It was really my thing, I love woodland running and outdoor challenges. It made me realise how pathetic my upper body strength is, and I could do with getting back to getting some pilates and body balance in my life to strengthen my core stability muscles again.

Today, back home, an easy evening hour on the Millook to get my cycling legs back round those pedals. Did 10 miles, with an extended stop to look at the view of the Hamble Valley countryside – not quite Switzerland but not a house to be seen, just trees, fields and a setting sun. This is what a bike was made for!

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 and the Team Cycling Plus facebook page