Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. Sam tackles the Trossachs Ton…
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 pride.
What a great week for cycling, the weather’s been wonderful up here in Scotland and I’ve got the base-coat of a cyclist’s tan starting to develop. I had a difficult start to the week though and didn’t feel good on the bike, lack of energy, tired legs; I couldn’t figure out what it was until I had a brainwave: I’d taken the seatpost off the bike to get it home after the Dragon Ride so I had a play about… 2 minutes and saddle circa 1mm up, I felt at home again. Who’d have thought 1mm could make such a difference!?
The offending 1mm was found just in time too as on Sunday I took on the Action Medical Research Trossachs Ton, which is based in Stirling where I live. It was great to be able to ride down to the start of the sportive rather than doing an epic drive the night before, and I felt good as the temperature was a toasty 18ºc at 8am. I’d arranged to meet my friend Steven who I regularly train with and we planned to do the 100km ride together, taking turns on the front to keep our pace up. We set off at 9am and put in some hard work into a westerly wind which paid off; we completed the first 20 miles in 58 minutes, something neither of us had done before. This included a quick stop to pick up one of my water bottles as it jumped out of the rear cage and exploded all over the road!
The next 20 miles weren’t so much fun as we slogged away directly into a headwind, our average dropped and we started to suffer as we approached the foothills of the Campsie Fells. I’d not taken enough to eat with me and I was hungry enough to eat Steven’s leg by the time we reached the feed stop at Lennoxtown. I gorged on millionaire’s shortbread, peanuts and got a back pocket full of jelly babies, all of which gave me some top energy for the climb up the Crow Road, which would take us deep into the Campsies. The rest of the route was tough roads and rolling hills with some unassuming but leg-burning climbs to test weary legs. I was suffering but Steven was hurting more so we joined up with another few riders and I towed us along the shores of the Carron Reservoir.
The descent off the Campsies into Stirling came as a great relief. We’d pushed ourselves to get a good time, even though it’s not a timed event, we wanted to see what we could do if we tried. It was great crossing the line and hitting the ‘Timer Stop’ button on the Garmin to see a ride time of 3hrs 44mins giving a 17.7mph average speed over 66.3miles. It was great being able to set a good pace and the Action Medical Research tag line “We suffer so they don’t” felt apt as we crossed the line aching for our free massages. Action Medical Research are a great charity and they’re running a number of similar rides, check out http://www.action.org.uk/100 to get involved!
I’d remarked that the ride wouldn’t be as tough for us as it was for the guys doing the 100mile route so my wife took that comment on board and had me spend the afternoon carting a play house for our daugter from our neighbour’s garden. She then spotted a climbing frame in the same neighbour’s garden and after a bit of discussion with them I got the order to take that home too; it was much appreciated but tough work with 70+ miles in my legs!
I’ve got my first 25 mile TT on Thursday night so I’m looking forward to that but feeling apprehensive about an hour-plus of pain, that’s the good thing about the 5 and 10 mile TT’s, they’re over much quicker!
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.