Team Cycling Plus – Sam Shaw

A look back at BikeRadar Live

Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. A look back at Sam’s first 100 miler…


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

My last blog was before Bike Radar Live, and a lot has happened since then, but I’ve also not been cycling as much as I should be. It was a while ago now – but Bike Radar Live was great, I went down on the train from Scotland to London and camped at the event for the weekend with my best mate, Andy.  It was great having him there, though I didn’t know how essential he’d be until after I got back from the sportive.  I’d been saving my first 100 mile ride for the Bike Radar sportive as I thought it would be quite fitting to do my first ton on the Cycling Plus sportive, seeing as though they’ve provided all of the kit and training to be able to do such an event.  

I set off in the morning alongside Neil from Cycling Plus and we were cruising along at a steady pace, I really felt up to the challenge and saw a couple of guys tank past us so I made my excuses to Neil and set off to latch on to their rear wheels.  Soon enough there was just me following a guy wearing Triathlon Plus kit, he was pulling along at 25mph or so and I went up beside him to tell him that I couldn’t take much of a turn on the front to which he replied “No worries, mate.  I’m just glad of the company”, so I hung in for an hour but he eventually powered away as I faded.  I think this was my downfall, I hadn’t drank or eaten enough in the first hour but I still felt fine so continued to power along in various groups at around the 20mph mark.

I was following a couple of guys from Tonbridge Wells, one of them an Ex-pat Scot who recognised me from the magazine, we had a chat while his power-house mate pulled us both along.  Unfortunately I didn’t get their names, so if you’re reading this, thanks for the company!  Around the halfway mark though I was in trouble; I didn’t feel like I had much power and even though the route wasn’t overly tasking in terms of big climbs, I was soon fading on the hills, then on any sort of incline.  It was at this point that I realised that I’d got it horribly wrong and desperately started trying to eat and drink.  I had been doing so previously but not in the quantities required, it was 30ºc+ and I’d over-estimated my abilities to cope with the high pace, distance and temperature. 

The last third of the ride was tortuous.  I’ve never been so focussed, yet completely lacked any kind of focus if that makes sense.  I felt as though the only thing that mattered was getting to the top of the next incline and seeing the countdown of the miles on my Garmin.  Luckily for me I’d programmed in the course so I could check on my progress, this gave me some comfort as I could watch the miles tick down rather than seeing them go up.  I don’t know why it was better to see it that way, but it was!  On the last climb I was suffering badly, I had to stop quite near the top and take a breather, it wasn’t a horrendous hill but I was absolutely blown-up.  A kind passer-by even stopped and asked if I was ok!  I knew the only way I’d be ok was to do the last few miles and get back to the comfort of the tent so I got back on and finished the 106 miles, my first 100 mile ride, in 6hrs 50minutes.  I’d been aiming for sub-6hrs and I think I’d have done it if I hadn’t belted off at the start like an eager buffoon. 

Andy was there waiting at the finish, hoping to get a cool shot of me powering over the line.  All he got was me looking like a fool who’d got his eating and drinking messed up on a long cycle!  I felt slack-jawed and terrible so Andy helped me back to the tent, I went for a shower and got back to find he’d prepared a nutritious snack of a banana and a can of coke and insisted that I consume them both.  I then went for a sleep for an hour and woke up feeling a bit better so we went off in search of a pint of shandy, which was what I really fancied!  On the way we saw Kay and heard how she’d completed her ride in style – well done Kay!

After the shandy, I got a massage from Joanne at Oomph were providing massages at Bike Radar.  It really got the knots out of my back and calf muscles which really helped with my recovery.  She was telling me how she’d completed an Ironman, it’s something I can’t fathom at all so I’ve got to tip my hat at how fit and tough you’ve got to be to do that event!  The other high point of the weekend was seeing Mike Cooper at Cooper Bikes, Andy was well impressed and I want him to buy one so I can have a go on it – I don’t reckon it’d be on a par with the Verenti up the climbs though! 

After Bike Radar Live, I felt pretty terrible for the rest of the week.  I didn’t get much riding done and felt pretty bad on the bike so I’ve just been taking it easy.  I have now started doing some intervals on my commutes to work though; I’ve got a 1km time trial (that’s right 1,000 metres!) coming up on the 29th so I’m keen to be back on form to pull a good time out of the bag.  I reckon the new Verenti Team Cycling Plus 2010 kit that Wiggle sent us will give me a good couple of mph though – I’m sure you’ll agree it looks fantastic, keep a look out for me pedalling round central Scotland, hopefully not about to blow-up though!

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.