Team Cycling Plus-Malcolm Ratcliffe

Training, travel and...Spin classes?

Despite his travels, Malcolm ups his cycling hours

Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. Malcolm finds a spin class a bit more work than he’d bargained for…


Team member: Malcolm Ratcliffe

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.

It’s Monday night and I’m sitting in a hotel room in Sweden with a busy month or travelling ahead of me meaning a lot of juggling to get the training in.  However, I got in four ‘rides’ last week, although no where near the prescribed training time, but four sessions that can now be built on.

 Rode out on Tuesday whilst the kids were running and swimming; chauffeured around by Tracy who is giving me no excuses not to ride, love you darling.  A hilly route so a lower average speed but maxed out at over 33 mph.  I guess I will only beat Andy’s top speed by throwing myself off a sheer drop but I’ll keep trying.

 After my rejection of gym bikes last week I was feeling a little guilty that maybe I’d not given them a fair chance,  So whilst Ellen was once again swimming I popped across to the adjoining leisure centre at Wyndley, and acquired a ticket for a Spin Class.  With trepidation I entered the cycling studio and to my surprise and comfort saw equipment that resembled a proper bike.  The saddle was more razor edged than armchair, adjustable for height and reach and with height adjustable handlebars to boot.  The pedals even accommodated either toe clip and strap or spd clip ons, heaven.  Emma, our instructor, spent time ensuring the bikes were correctly set up and explaining the format of the class.  We were under starters orders, the music was pumped up and we were off and pedalling.  Within minutes my leg muscles were aching as I tried to emulate the improbable cadence set by Emma.  Her legs were a blur, almost cartoonesque!!  And I never believed the human body could create so much sweat, it was pouring off me like the Niagara Falls.  The 45 minute class was enough and I as I eased myself off the bike I could hardly believe that some of my fellow spinners were going to trot off up the road and run home.  It was more than I could manage to make it back to the car to drive home.  At least this should be OK for coach Ben as in my mind it should take the place of a turbo session or two?  Thank you Emma.

On Saturday I tried a 12 mile time trial route I had mapped out last year whilst training for by Birmingham-London Etape.  Although interspersed by multiple sets of traffic light and so difficult to compare like for like I managed to knock a full two minutes off my previous best.  Improvement?

 Sunday was meant to be my long ride out but ended up at only ten miles as my legs just decided to stop functioning on anything even slightly resembling an incline.  I had to shift into the granny ring just to make it over a sleeping policeman.  Not good and no apparent reason, but hopefully with no riding now until Thursday my legs should recover and I can squash my four rides into four consecutive days.

 A final thank you to Garmin who have supplied Team C+ with their latest kit to enable us to better monitor our training.  I’m starting off by trying out the 705 model which has excellent mapping functionality which should help me map some extended rides and thus hit the 2-3 hour target set by the coach.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

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