Team Cycling Plus – Malcolm Ratcliffe

Week two of the training schedule - how are the team coping with the saddle hours?

Team Member Malcolm Ratcliffe

Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. Malcolm has a near miss with a thoughtless driver…


Team member: Malcolm Ratcliffe

44 year old Malcolm from Erdington is determined to shed some of his 17stone before his 45th birthday this October. To do this he hopes to take his cycling to the next level with Team Cycling Plus, by extending his 10-20mile rides, and include a sportive or two in his season. As well as losing weight, his goals include regularly commuting the 10miles to work and doing a London to Paris charity ride.

I was looking to fit in the four rides prescribed by coach Ben this week as I build up towards the full 9 hour training plan over the coming few weeks.  The week started well and on my first ride out I chose a new, more undulating ride to try and improve my abysmally feeble form on the hills.  In all the cycling books and magazines I’ve read, there is mentioned a Zen like pedalling state where, like the wind blowing through a windmills sails, you achieve a smooth power output by pulling on the up stroke as well as pushing on the down stroke.  Unbelievably, as I weaved my way through the late evening traffic up a long steady incline, for a mile or so I found myself in this zone.  It didn’t however last and try as I might it was the usual slog the rest of the way back home.

On Wednesday I continued practical biking education with my children, Kiaran and Ellen, as we rode through the rush hour to drop Ellen off for a squad swimming session.  With Ellen taking the lead we made steady progress and despite Kiaran trying to get himself run over on the way back I counted them all out and counted them all back.  Although not a quick session I managed to get over an hour in the saddle without my heart trying to beat its way out of my rib cage for once.

With the car in for a service on Friday there was the chance to snatch a few short miles getting to and from a session at the physio and the garage.  Bum time in the saddle but I’m not sure what is worse for the environment, my car exhaust pumping out CO2 or my own lungs expelling same in copious volume?!

Saturday morning, up with the larks and despite one of those headwinds that seems to follow you around whichever direction you go in, it was another good ride.  I would however like to ask the driver who cut me up on the run home to ‘think once, think twice, think push bike!’  Gaining speed on a downhill section a car driver overtook me, so knew how fast I was going, then jammed the brakes on and turned off the road in front of me.  Luckily for me it was dry and my brakes managed to stop me crashing into and cart wheeling over the errant driver.  Suffice to say I had to put a few quid into the swear jar when I got home.

Not connected but I picked up a slight twinge in the right hamstring.  Also despite a lack of takeaway food and adult beverages I had a slight stomach upset which put laid to my final ride out on Sunday.  However a good week all in all with over five hours and sixty miles under my backside which is almost double my previous best since joining the C+ team and augers well for the weeks to come.

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