Team Cycling Plus – Malcolm Ratcliffe

Catch up with our reader team as they get started on their training schedules

Malcolm is finding the training schedule a bit tough

Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. This week Malcolm finds out that regular training is hard to maintain…


Another Sunday evening and after the excitement of receiving the new Verenti it’s been a week of waiting for some pedals so I can take the new bike out for a spin.  I’ll have to cannibalise my old mtb if they don’t come before next weekend.

My youngest daughter Ellen, who is 11, passed her level 2 Bikeability test at school before Easter. When she got home she suggested she could start cycling to school!  Like a responsible parent, who only remembers the old Cycling Proficiency test which meant pedalling around the school playground for a couple of hours, and knowing nothing about Bikeability, I suggested we go out for a practice session first.  I was pleasantly surprised that she appeared fairly confident on the open road and had obviously been taught adequate handling skills and technique so she would look back before pulling out or turning and position herself considerately on the road without having to ride in the gutter.  Would I let her venture out on her own though?  A little Googling suggested that at level 2 children could cycle to school on quiet roads, but we live in Birmingham so these are few and far between!  Level 3 appears to cover what we need but is it offered at schools? No.  Back to Google, I’ll keep you posted.

As for my own training, I went out and about on Saturday morning and added another couple of miles to my weekly run bringing it up to 23 miles in a little under an hour and a half.  My heart rate data would suggest I’m still killing myself but looking back over the past few weeks my average HR for my rides has come down from 169 to 159 so it would appear that managing just one regular session per week is starting to have some positive benefits.

Coach Ben sent us our first training plans for the coming three weeks.  I’m sure he’s got me mixed up with Andy, Kay or Sam.  The suggestion is I do four sessions a week totalling 9 hours including a long 3 hour ride at the weekend.  Not sure if I’m reading the schedule correctly but it is prescribing longer rides than I’m used to at a low intensity level whilst increasing my average speed.  Anything I’m missing except a body swap with Lance Armstrong?  It’s the old adage, no gain without pain, and as I am probably starting at the back of the C+ team grid I have the furthest to go but also stand the chance of making the biggest improvement over the coming months.

In reality I will look to build up to this schedule over the next few weeks, my biggest issue being spacing the rides out to ensure adequate rest days in between.  At the moment it is looking like I’ll be riding three days straight, Saturday through Monday, then finishing off with another ride on Wednesday.  There is an alternative turbo session to the mid week rides, this would take less than half an hour, but not having access to one of these turbo contraptions I don’t have that option. Getting the commuting up and running will sort the mid week runs out so it’s back into the garage to get the rack and pannier fitted once I can find some longer fixing bolts.

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.